Player of the Game
With two singles and a steal, Michael Brantley takes tonight’s ‘Player of the Game’ without competition. The Indians best offensive player, Yan Gomes, made an error that lead to an unearned run, keeping him out of the running and the pitching staff was dreadful from beginning to end. Brantley also scored a run on the night, but his POG score of 1.50 was the lowest for any winning player this season. It was his team leading fourth award of the season.
Lonnie Chisenhall, still hitting .455 coming into the game, got one of his first real RBI opportunities in the second inning. With runners at first and third and two outs, the Tribe DH, who is without an RBI so far this year, was hit by a pitch that bounced in the dirt, then hit him on the leg. Luckily for the Tribe, Michael Bourn then came through with the two out hit to score the games first run.
Despite the Indians early season struggles, they are far from out of the Central Division race as the first month of the season nears it’s end. Even though they are in fifth place, the Central Division has never been this close, this late in the season since it’s creation in 1994. Right now the Indians sit in last place, but just 2.5 games behind the leading Detroit. The second closest the division has been was in 2009, when the Indians were in last place on April 22nd and just 3.5 games behind the leading White Sox. With the improvements Chicago has made and Detroit’s lost offense due to trades and injury, this could be the closest Central Division race in a long time.
An occurrence that seems to be happening twice each time through the rotation, Danny Salazar started giving up hits in the fourth inning, the Royals second time through the lineup. After throwing three scoreless innings, Salazar gave up two singles to start the inning and a three run home run to Mike Moustakas. A Yan Gomes error compounded the issue, eventually allowing another unearned run to score, but the problem remains the same. Salazar retired just one more batter before being pulled, making it three starts in a row without finishing the fifth inning.
After a couple good games, the middle of the lineup was absent again tonight with Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana combining to go 1-11 with four strike outs. While the bottom of the Indians line-up has pulled more than it’s own weight to this point in the season, the offense cannot be successful as a unit without the most important hitters producing. With numbers like this, it should be no surprise that the Indians only managed two runs tonight.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 2 – Royals 8
On Deck: 7:05 PM tomorrow night Justin Masterson and the Indians will take on Jason Vargas and the Royals in game three of the four game series.