Francisco Lindor has demonstrated excellent focus and superb defense all season long, but a huge mental error by the star shortstop would doom the Tribe on Tuesday night, as Seattle rolled to a 7-1 victory to end the Indians’ season-best win streak at six games.
Cody Anderson–making a spot start for the resting Danny Salazar–would give up a 2-run home run to Nelson Cruz in the first inning on a poorly-located fastball in the slugger’s wheelhouse. However, Anderson would settle into a nice groove and hold the Mariners’ offense in check until two outs in the fourth inning: Lindor would cleanly handle a tricky hotshot ground ball to short. On a play which looked like it would end the inning, Lindor hesitated in throwing the ball to Kipnis to force the runner at second base, but instead fired late to first base and all runners were safe. That hesitation was a killer for the Tribe and Anderson. Instead of ending the inning with a manageable 2-0 deficit, the flood gates would open and the Mariners would get a 2-out, 2-run double from the light hitting Clevenger and a subsequent 2-run triple from O’Malley and proceed to blow the game wide open with a 6-0 lead.
KEY STATS AND GAME NOTES
- Not the Franky We Know: Lindor entered Tuesday night with only three errors on the season and a “Vizquelian” .988 fielding percentage, but a rare mental error (ruled a hit by the scorekeeper) would be the major difference in the tone, momentum, and outcome of a 7-1 loss for the Tribe.
- Cruz Control: Nelson Cruz hit two monster home runs off Cody Anderson and Jeff Manship to give him 15 dingers on the season, passing Mike Napoli (14) to move into fifth place in the American League home run race.
- Home Run Hindrance: With the Cruz tater, Cody Anderson has now yielded a whopping 11 home runs in just 43.1 innings pitched. Anderson has given up 36 earned runs on 63 hits and will have to continue to work on command of his pitches in Triple A Columbus in order to get another shot in Cleveland this season.
- Concerning Injuries: Jose Ramirez would hit a sharp foul ball off his ankle and proceed to sit on the ground in pain for several minutes, but decided to stay in the game. J-Ram will be reevaluated Wednesday. Yan Gomes would take a sharp foul tip to the groin and be forced to leave the game. Gomes was taken to the hospital and the Indians were awaiting more information on the Yanimal’s condition after the game Tuesday night. My prediction would be that both Ramirez and Gomes get the night off on Thursday.
- Wicked Windmill: Mike Napoli continues to be very streaky for the Tribe. Coming off a week full of home runs, clutch hits, and key RBIs, Napoli has struck out in 7 of his past 8 at bats in his past 2 games.
- A Happy Loss: Even with the loss to Seattle Tuesday night, the Tribe maintains a 2.5 game lead in the AL Central Standings, as Kansas City fell to Baltimore 9-1 in a fight-fueled game in Camden Yards. The Royals are now tied with the surging Tigers for 2nd place, following Detroit’s come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Toronto in Motown Tuesday night.