Player of the Game
Michael Brantley had the hot stick tonight, knocking in the Indians only two runs in the ninth inning and giving them their other great scoring opportunity as well. He ended the game two for five with a double and a triple in addition to the two RBI. If there was one player who truly deserved absolutely no blame for tonight's loss, it was Brantley.
After an off day and a rain out, the Indians are just happy to be playing baseball. The time off allowed a few Indians to fully recover from their individual ailments and the Indians used their entire starting lineup for the first time in four games. It also allowed the bullpen to rest, making sure they will be strong going into the rest of the series. For tomorrow's games the Indians will be allowed to add a 26th player.
Scott Kazmir was much better this time out than his first start this year. He admited he was nervous his last time out after taking more than a year away from Major League Baseball, but those jitters seemed to have gone away. He pitched five solid innings tonight against Kansas City, allowing just two runs on a two run home run by Salvador Perez.
Cody Allen has seen a change in usage under manager Terry Francona. After skyrocketing through the minors last year, he was used primarily as a single inning (or less) pitcher. This year, he has pitched more than one inning in three of his last four games and four of his seven total outings. He has taken to his new role quite well, pitching 6.1 scoreless innings with 11 strike outs.
Milestone Update: Scott Kazmir struck out his 1,000th batter tonight, making him the 461st player to do so. Ubaldo Jimenez is just 7 strike outs away from the same milestone so excuse me for not mentioning it when he does so within his next two starts.
Despite having the full starting lineup on the field, the Indians were unable to score against the Royals. Of course, much of this could have to do with facing Ervin Santana who, while with the Angels, threw the only no-hitter in the history of Jacob's and Progressive Field.
Bryan Shaw showed the first chink in his armor this season, walking the only two batters he faced in the seventh inning and uncorking a wild pitch. Shaw was brought in to face Alcides Escobar with one on and two out and ended up putting his replacement, Rich Hill in a very precarious positition. Hill walked his batter to give the Royals a three run lead and needed Joe Smith to finally put an end to a very messy inning.
Nick Swisher has had the chances, but he just hasn't been the Matt LaPorta type of hero the Indians have needed. Early in the game Swishalicious grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to end the third. Then, in the 8th inning he came to bat with a runner on third, but was unable to score him when he took a walk.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 2 – Kansas City Royals 3