There may not be a clear winner of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, as both Alex White and Drew Pomeranz have gone through growing pains and struggles, but there is a clear cut loser. Jimenez didn't make it through the fifth inning en route to losing for the 17th time this season and the Indians offense was shut down by a lefty yet again. The 5-3 loss guarantees the Indians of their third 90-plus loss season in the last five years.
The script has been written so many times in the second half that monotonous is an understatement. After the Indians failed to score in the first inning, they came to bat in the second inning with a deficit. Jimenez has now given up 23 runs in the first inning of his 31 starts. As a unit, Tribe starters have allowed 112 runs in the the first inning this season. It was a leadoff walk that led to the two runs, as Jimenez walked Jarrod Dyson, who then stole second. Alcides Escobar promptly doubled him home and Billy Butler drove him in one batter later. The Indians are just 6-41 this season when trailing after the first inning.
The game stayed that way until the fourth inning when the Indians tied it up. Thomas Neal singled to open the inning and came home on Cord Phelps's second career Major League home run. Phelps, who was in the lineup to give Jason Kipnis a day off, entered the game 1-for-14 on the season. Shin-Soo Choo followed with a single, but was erased on a double play. Carlos Santana singled with two outs, but the Indians were forced to settle for two runs.
With the game tied, the Indians needed a good inning from Jimenez. They got anything but. The Royals loaded the bases on a couple of walks and a single before Chris Seddon entered in relief of Jimenez. Seddon allowed all three inherited runners to score. Eric Hosmer drove in a run with a fielder's choice, Brayan Pena hit a sacrifice fly, and Irving Falu capped the inning with a RBI single. Jimenez went 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
It stayed a 5-2 game until the eighth when the Indians got back on the board. Carlos Santana singled and Michael Brantley hit one to center field that Jason Bourgeois misplayed into a run-scoring two-base error. That would be it for the scoring and the Indians fell to the Royals 5-3.
With the loss, the Indians are now 62-90. Ubaldo Jimenez lost for the 17th time, falling to 9-17. The Royals improved to 70-81, with Will Smith picking up his sixth win and Kelvin Herrera picked up his second save of the season.
Stat of the Night: Mentioned it already, but the Indians are now 6-41 when trailing after the first inning.
Player of the Game: Cord Phelps. He hit a home run.
Tomorrow's Game: David Huff will make his second start of the season against Jake Odorizzi, who is making his Major League debut. First pitch at 2:10.