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Cleveland shut out by Royals in home opener

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At least it wasn’t snowing?

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Two baserunners scampered late with the tying run at the plate but Cleveland couldn’t connect when it counted in a 3-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals. A critical double play halted all momentum late. Other than some hard-hit-outs, Cleveland leaves its home opener without much to be excited about at the plate.

The pitching? Oh, the pitching was great. It gave up between one and three runs depending on whom you ask, but that’s a whole thing.

Logan Allen loaded the bases in the first inning before escaping on his 24th pitch with a strikeout. That shows a lot of poise to me even if this is an April game. Remember, this is a home opener. While he won the job he still needs to prove himself to hang onto it.

He nearly escaped again in the second inning. Alas, the defense behind him couldn’t come to his aid. And neither could the scorekeeper.

A missed opportunity behind the bag (E6 on my scorecard, a hit officially) cost Allen a chance to record a scoreless second. It wasn’t an easy play, but it was nearly made when the ball bounced off of the heel of his glove. What could have been an out turned into a Whit Merrifield 2-run bomb. It landed somewhere around row Q or R in the bleachers.

Just like yesterday, Cleveland showed a little bit of fight at the end. Back-to-back singles in the bottom of the ninth by Cesar Hernandez and José Ramírez put the tying run to the plate

Not a bad time for Eddie Rosario to prove his worth, no? He slashed a ball on the ground down the first baseline. For a moment it looked like it might score two, but Carlos Santana slid and scooped the ball out of the air. He fired to second and started a double play that brought Cleveland within one out of a loss.

Franmil Reyes battled from behind valiantly until shooting a grounder back at the pitcher. An easy bullet to first ended the game 3-0 in favor of the Royals.

Corner Pieces

  1. Roberto Pérez obliterated Alberto in the top of the fourth on a stolen base attempt. The throw led the glove right into the tag. ESPN immediately flashed a prepackaged graphic showing how much value Bebo adds with his glove. He is much more valuable than even the next guy by DRS from 2019-2020. Also, Austin Hedges is fourth. Cleveland is clearly all-in on catcher defense as the robo-umpire revolution looms.
  2. Triston McKenzie came in to piggyback after Logan Allen’s start. He looked fantastic through one and got a little help thanks to a diving stop by Amed Rosario. He allowed only one and nearly finished up the game before handing things over to Jame Karinchak.
  3. I think the Cleveland pitching staff did an excellent job again today despite the result. Two pitchers combined almost evenly for 8.2 IP, 7 H, 8 K, 3 ER. And I don’t really believe two of those runs are earned, anyway. Karinchak needed only three pitches to finish up the ninth, so he’s probably good to go tomorrow again. Just get them some runs, you guys.
  4. Jordan Luplow drew two walks. That kinda game I guess.

Wait, what?

The ESPN announcing crew couldn’t stop marveling at how seamlessly Yu Chang is taking to first base. As if he’s never played it in his life, has no idea how to cover space, charge to a ball ... Yes, there are some specifics to playing each position, but the principles are all pretty much the same, aren’t they? It’s not like he scooped up a saxophone and bleated the solo from Jungleland.

What’s Next?

Cleveland takes Tuesday off before facing the Royals again on Wednesday, 12:35 p.m.. Day baseball!