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Nothing works in Indians’ 8-1 loss to Royals

Nobody looked good in the series opening loss to the Royals

Cleveland Indians v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

I respect you too much to lead this recap off with “Cookie crumbled,” so instead I’ll phrase it differently:

Carlos Carrasco topped out at 92 miles per hour and that’s not great.

Maybe Carrasco could have gotten away with lower velocity if he was locating pitches well (probably not, but maybe). Unfortunately, he wasn’t. His first-inning pitch chart is absolutely hideous and features four balls hit over 100 miles per hour right over the middle of the plate. In the first inning! At least it made a smiley face.

Carlos Carrasco wants every one of these pitches back right about now.
Baseball Savant

Even more worrying is Carrasco’s flat-lined velocity which peaked at 92.9 miles per hour with his fifth pitch, then struggled to hit 92 for the rest of the game. Carrasco is typically a pitcher that sits in the 94-95 range, and he’s typically not a pitcher to leave multiple pitches hanging in the zone with zero movement on them. It could just be a weird game, but until I see him on the mound throwing 94 and making batters look like fools with his changeup, my concern level is going to be high.

Once Carrasco was out of the game — which only took 0.2 innings — the bullpen managed to hold things together for the most part. Nick Wittgren, Tyler Olson, Dan Otero, Oliver Perez, and whoever-comes-in-after-the-seventh-inning-do-you-really-think-I’m-not-starting-this-recap-super-early-have-you-been-here-before all easily could have kept the Royals to a measly six runs if Brad Miller and the Bad Defense Boys hadn’t shown up with a list of their greatest hits: “Why Didn’t I Tag The Base?”, “I Gotta Feeling [I’m Gonna Whiff On This Throw]”, and the classic hymn, “Baseball, How Do I Catch Thee?”.

Watching Miller forget how to throw, field, and catch was pretty impressive, but we also can’t count out Eric Stamets refusing to even try for a blooper that Jake Bauers had to run a country mile to dive and still almost caught. It would have shortened the dreadful first inning by maybe as many as three runs, and it brought the unjust ire of Tom Hamilton upon Bauers. But at least Eric had that infield dirt covered.

If nothing else, this game showed how much the Indians miss Francisco Lindor’s defense as much as offense. And dare I say, they even miss Jason Kipnis’ adequate-but-not-spectacular defense?

The offense did provide a few bright spots. Tyler Naquin gave the Indians their only run of the game with his first home run of the season, and Carlos Santana drew three walks. Naquin’s home run was especially impressive because of it’s location. After his well-documented struggles with high fastballs, he took an almost-high fastball deep. We’ll count that as a win.

Not only did he hit a home run, but he didn’t swing at two pitches high and out of the zone. Progress!
Baseball Savant

Jose Ramirez even got a double and was able to strut around second base which we haven’t seen in a while. There were some ugly hacks on high fastballs there for the Angry Hamster, but there were some steps in the right direction.

Unfortunately for the offense, Jake Bauers and Hanley Ramirez left six runners on base. Each. It’s not like Hanley didn’t have his opportunities, either. He came up to the plate with the bases loaded, not once, but twice. Once in the third inning with a chance to bring the Indians within one, and once in the fifth inning where the Tribe were down 7-1 and it seemed pointless to even care.

He grounded out into easy fielder’s choices both times. The single he just hit while I typed that sentence doesn’t make up for the all the stranded runners, either. Nice try.

Greg Allen had another pinch-hit opportunity. It didn’t work.

New game tomorrow.