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Cleveland Indians lose game of inches to Kansas City Royals

Multiple close plays end up costing the Indians a win.

Kansas City Royals v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Today’s game truly was a game of the closest of calls that resulted in a frustrating 5-2 loss for the Cleveland Indians on a day in which Frank Robinson was immortalized at Progressive Field in front of a crowd of 30,000+ people.

In the first inning, Jason Kipnis booted a routine ground ball to start the game, allowing Alcides Escobar to reach first base. As the inning progressed, Danny Salazar allowed the Royals to load the bases with nobody out. Thankfully, the only damage came on a sac fly by Salvador Perez to put the Royals up 1-0.

Indians 0, inches 1.

After the first inning concluded, today’s game against the Kansas City Royals was tied at 1 run apiece. The key difference going into the second inning was that the Royals had lost Eric Hosmer and manager Ned Yost when both were ejected for arguing over a checked third strike call to Hosmer in the first inning. And really, the call that he was rung up on could have realistically gone either way:

Indians 1, inches 1.

Next came the big play of the game that was probably the deciding factor. In the fourth inning, Jason Kipnis, having already singled home a run home in the third inning, worked a 3-1 count off of Royals’ starter Jason Vargas. On the very next pitch, an 89 mph pitch right over the center of the plate, Kipnis launched a grand slam to right field...or at least, so we thought. The initial ruling on the field was that the ball went just foul. Kipnis immediately signaled to Tito to challenge the play, which he did. In a relatively quick replay review, the review crew upheld the call on the field, forcing Kip back into the batter’s box with a full count. The next pitch was popped up weakly to first base, resulting in Kipnis smashing his bat on the ground as the inning ended with no run scoring. As much as people may think that Kipnis was robbed, our own private investigator Matt R. Lyons was immediately on the case and came to the same conclusion as the umpires in New York. Why do you hate Cleveland, Mr. Lyons?

Indians 1, inches 5.

In the sixth inning, following a Jorge Bonifacio double and a Brandon Moss walk, Whit “Proudfoot Proudfeet” Merrifield hit a sharp ground ball to Jose Ramirez at third base. Ramirez quickly snagged the ball, kicked the bag at third for the force, and gunned the ball to first for an inning ending double play...or at least, so we thought. The third base umpire immediately (correctly) ruled the ball foul and the play dead, allowing Mr. Brandybuck back into the batter’s box. He was then walked by Danny Salazar to load the bases. Boone Logan entered the game and immediately gave up a game tying single to Alex Gordon on two pitches. Nick Goody came in to relieve Logan and immediately surrendered a two-run double to Alcides “Career .340 slugging percentage” Escobar on one pitch. After all was said and done, the inning ended with the Royals up 4-2.

Final tally: Indians 1, inches 8.

So, was there anything good in this game? Yes actually, there was. Francisco Lindor hit a bullet home run to the home run porch in the bottom of the first inning, his eleventh of the year. Umm...what else...Danny Salazar did...better? He went 5.1 innings and allowed three earned runs, so he wasn’t great. But he didn’t give up any home runs! But he also walked five batters...uhh, Dan Otero pitched a scoreless inning, that was pretty cool. Oh, and Daniel Robertson has the same batting average as Michael Brantley, so he’s probably pretty good.

Yes, when Daniel Robertson is part of your highlight reel for the game, it was a game to forget.

Are the Indians a terrible team? I don’t think so. But the excuse of “it’s early” is rapidly reaching its expiration date, and every time the team seems like they are getting on a roll, they end up playing like they did these past two days against a horrible baseball team. Maybe May is the new April. Maybe baseball is just dumb and we should all follow the Browns instead since there’s no expectation of competency with the Browns. But I prefer baseball, and I’m hoping that the 2017 Cleveland Indians don’t continue to play like the 2008 Cleveland Indians.

The Cleveland Indians have now lost three games in a row. Josh Tomlin will face off against Danny Duffy tomorrow afternoon and try to prevent the first four game losing streak since 2015.