And the triple. Let’s not forget about the triple.
But mostly it was the long ball, the dinger, the home run, that cost the Indians the game on Friday night, as they lost 6-4 to the Kansas City Royals. Although the Royals are dead last in the majors in home runs this season, they managed to hit three of them on Friday. The first two came as back-to-back solo shots in the second inning off Indians starter Josh Tomlin, giving the Royals an early 2-0 lead.
Carlos Santana hit a solo homer in the fourth to make the score 2-1, but the Royals scored two more runs in their half of the inning. With a runner on first base, Raul Ibanez, who at age 42 is the oldest member of the Royals, hit a triple to right field. As Ibanez chugged into third base, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis took the throw from the outfield and threw erratically to third base, allowing Ibanez to score. WHile it wasn’t as bad as the throw that Ryan Raburn made in Thursday’s game, it was a costly error just the same.
Down 4-1, the Indians did come back to tie the score, thanks to a sixth-inning single by Michael Brantley and another home run by Santana, followed by a seventh-inning sacrifice fly by Kipnis. But the bullpen faltered in the eighth. Carlos Carrasco gave up a leadoff single, and later John Axford gave up a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Billy Butler, making the score 6-4, and that’s how it stayed.
The Indians went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position, which everyone from professional statisticians to your Aunt Sally will tell you is Not Good. Nick Swisher, the Tribe’s so-called designated hitter, followed up his 0 for 6 performance in Thursday night’s 14-inning game by going 0 for 4 today. In fact, he went 0 for 4 on Wednesday as well, which means he is hitless in his last 14 at-bats. His batting average now stands at .205.
Speaking of low batting averages, I’m sure more than a few Indians fans scratched their heads when Tribe manager Terry Francona sent Ryan Raburn and his sub-.200 BA to the plate in the seventh inning to hit for Chris Dickerson. Francona did so to send a right-handed batter to the plate, as the Royals had had the southpaw Francisley Bueno on the mound. But the Royals countered by replacing Bueno with righty reliever Jason Frasor, who got Raburn to hit a routine fly to center for the third out.
Although Carrasco was tagged with the loss, Tomlin’s performance was disappointing. Although he struck out five and didn’t walk a batter, his propensity for giving up home runs continued. Since the second week of June, Tomlin has had only one strong outing, that being the one-hit complete game he pitched against the Mariners nearly one month ago. The Indians have lost seven of the last eight games that Tomlin has started. You hate to take a guy out of the rotation who is capable of pitching a game like the Mariners one, but I can’t help but wonder if the Indians are considering doing just that, especially when Justin Masterson rejoins the team.
Friday’s loss brings the Indians to one game under .500. After starting the eleven-game road trip by taking three out of four from the Tigers, the Tribe has lost four out of their last five games, and now must win the remaining two games with the Royals in order to come away with a 6-5 record on the trip. And to think that not too long ago, I was hoping—and be honest, you were too—that they could somehow go 8-3, or at least 7-4. Oh well, the dream was fun while it lasted.