Just as quickly as the Indians and Orioles pulled within 1.5 of the crowd and pulled a game away from the Yankees and Rays, the Yankees and Rays came right back within a game after turning the tables on Tuesday.
That's why winning the series is important. That's why sweeping would have been awesome. That's why you are grateful the Rays lost last night. Heck, everyone lost!
Turn around, quick noon start today, let's get that W.
ROYALS - 6 | INDIANS - 3
W: Jeremy Guthrie (14-10)
L: Zach McAllister (7-9)
S: Greg Holland (41)
Just needed a big hit in this one. Just needed one big hit. The Indians got that run early in the first, with two outs, which had all sorts of positive energy flowing through the game and the situation.
But as the game evolved and the team squandered chance after chance and starter Zach McAllister started to progress through the lineup for the second and third time, I got more nervous. Let's start with Z-Mac.
Z-Mac breezed through the first four innings. He had a few walks in the third, but until Alcides Escobar hit the solo shot in the fifth, he was flying through things, keeping a good efficiency with his pitches, looked like he was going to get the Indians through most of the game and give them a chance to win if they were only going to score a few runs.
But then that home run happened and that was sort of the beginning of the end because now he was going through the lineup for the third time and he seemed to be having issues. He got ahead to Hosmer with a 0-2 count and then looked like he got a little scared. That was the end. Two doubles, a single, and before you know it, McAllister has an outing that went from really good, to just so-so.
"I got ahead, did what I wanted to," McAllister said. "And then I maybe nibbled a little bit too much and he didn't chase any of them."
I got nervous after the home run. The one-run lead didn't seem like nearly enough and with all the squandering of opportunities, it was only a matter of time before this game went from being really positive, to being real negative. Then for Z-Mac, the wheels just fell off. I'm not sure what happened, or why. He left a lot of those pitches up, so it wasn't as if he was doing the same old thing and they figured him out. He just suddenly lost his command.
"He didn't have his best changeup tonight," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Early in the game, they were very aggressive, and it kind of helped. They made some first-pitch outs. They hit some balls at people. ... But then he left some balls up in that last inning."
The other aspect to this was this offense, that, like the Royals the previous night, out-hit their opponent but could not figure out how to score the runs when needed. From the get-go, they scored a run with two outs and that boded well for the rest of the evening off a guy who struggled against lefties. But all the righties came up short.
The third they had two on and one out, double play. The fourth Cabrera led off with a single, double play. Chisenhall led the fifth off with a single and in the sixth, Brantley singled with one out, only to be erased on yet another double play.
"We got some hits, but we didn't bunch them together," Francona said. "And we rolled into a couple double plays. It seemed like we were one big hit from doing some damage. We didn't do damage. We gave ourselves chances in a lot of innings, but couldn't get a big hit to get the ball rolling."
I don't get it. Just lack of a big hit that scored some runs. They had plenty of opportunities, enough to have done more than three runs. It just didn't happen. It could be worse, I guess.
What a disappointing effort against Jeremy Guthrie. Bastian has a super-telling statistic about lefties facing Guthrie. Lots of success hitting off of him, but not the results you needed. Lefties were hitting .328 against him this year, and the Indians left-handers had nine hits off of him (which was also his grand total for the night). Kind of fluky that they didn't get more runs last night. Just a weird game. He held them to 1-for-10 with runners on after the first inning.
It really wasn't until Luke Hochevar came in that the Royals pitching looked really over-powering. The Indians got to Herrera, who seemed to be nursing a finger injury, but should have found a way to get to Guthrie much earlier than in several instances.
Hochevar, like, who the hell is that? 1.70 ERA? Is that real?
Super jealous of the Royals for who they have in the middle of their lineup. Mike Moustakas looks like a clone of Lonnie Chisenhall to me. They have very similar numbers this season, even though Moustakas had a better year last year (Makes it pretty weird that Lonnie Chisenhall is batting fifth in their lineup, eek!). But before that, they've got a guy in Eric Hosmer who has turned into a legit number-3 hitter and a veteran in Billy Butler who is there to protect him in the cleanup spot. Jason Kipnis is great, but he is ideally a two-hole hitter in my eyes and shouldn't have the pressure of being the three-hole hitter due to his skill-set.
If only the Indians had a three hole hitter for Santana to protect and back-up... If only.
Three double plays the Indians grounded into, and it wasn't just the sluggy Asdrubal Cabrera either. It was the Indians hottest hitter in Yan Gomes and Mr. Clutch, Michael Brantley who also hit into the rally-killers. Brantley did have the 2-out hit that knocked in a run, but you can't hit into three of those double plays and expect to win.
Everyone in the lineup had a hit minus Jason Kubel. No joke, all of them. Lonnie Chisenhall even had three. Couldn't make any of them count though. No one on for those hits, no one hitting after him until Bourny hit when Ramirez ran for him.
Someone finally asked Carlos Santana about what he thinks about not catching regularly anymore. Bottom line, it's a little tough, but nothing that a little winning can't take the sting out of.
"This is a little hard for me, or for any player," Santana said on Tuesday. "For me, I want to win. The manager put Yan behind the plate and he's done a good job, so we're better hitting and catching, too. It's hard for me, but I'm not thinking about that. I'm confident in the manager about the lineup he puts out every day. We're still fighting, fighting for the Wild Card. And we're 4 1/2 games back of Detroit. It's affected me a little bit, but I'm thinking about winning. I'm thinking about trying to help my team, and trying to be patient. I'm thinking about just staying in the lineup every day."
It is tough for Santana or anyone else to argue that this isn't a good move. It became blatantly obvious to everyone, including his manager, that Yan Gomes was the best option at catcher. And the bat that he's been swinging has made it undeniable to keep him out of the lineup.
And as we dug into the numbers yesterday, it has even boosted Santana's stock. It must just be mentally hard for him to not catch every day. How it is affecting him is beyond me, because he seems to be playing even better offensively with that being his sole focus.
Again, you can't build an argument for Santana to be catching. Pitching is better with Gomes calling games, he's throwing out more basestealers with fewer opportunities than Santana, and less passed balls and wild pitches. Gomes is the guy, time to move forward with that mentality.
A few members of the bullpen have been heavily leaned on the past few days with all the close games and short outings from starters. That's why getting seven out of McAllister last night would have been so nice to have with a little run support, but alas. Tito admitted that it was a mistake to pitch Cody Allen on Monday after he had just pitched in a high-leverage situation with runs given up on Sunday.
"I think I made a mistake last night," Francona said. "He's been so valuable and we've gone to him in leverage situations to put out fires. I don't care whether he's a veteran or young kid, he's done a great job. We will continue to do that. I just need to not throw him too much."
And I should probably apologize for being so critical of him. Not that I was overly critical, but rather, a little harsh on his struggling. To be fair, the same argument was the one I stood by Chris Perez with. Can't use and abuse a guy and expect him to produce night after night. Perhaps Tito pushed Cody a little too far as of late out of a way to not push himself with Joe Smith and that came back to bite him.
So, Tito's ERA is like, 8.00-something and Cody's should be a tick lower. Got that.
It forced the Indians however to go to guys like Hagadone, CC Lee, and Blake Wood. Of course it gave the regulars a night off, but it would have been nice if it were 4-3 instead of 6-3.
Carlos Carrasco is not available for the Indians for the time being. He has left the team to attend to a personal matter and could rejoin the team when they arrive in Chicago for the series that starts on Thursday.
Speaking of Carrasco, intriguing point made by TD from WFNY on Twitter last night. Luke Hochevar has turned into an incredibly effective and dangerous setup man for the Royals. He was an absolutely awful starter. I think Carrasco should be given another chance at starting now that he's perhaps "gotten it" in terms of how to pitch. But it is hard to argue the effectiveness of Carrasco from the pen and how they could use that back end arm, especially with some uncertainty surrounding Pestano, the possibility of not having Chris Perez, and the heavy reliance on Joe Smith.
Sort of speaking about next year, the 2014 MLB schedule is officially out, so you can see when you want to plan your annual trip to Cleveland to see the Indians.....
I'm kidding of course, for most of you. Some of you, yeah, plan that trip. The interleague draws coming to Cleveland include the Padres, Rockies, D-Backs, and of course the Reds. Obviously the Indians play the NL West and will have to travel to San Francisco and LA to face the Giants and Dodgers, and also complete a home-and-home with the D-Backs. If you remember to three years ago, the Indians were in San Francisco as well, and I think the Padres came to Cleveland as well... So there really is no rhyme or reasoning as to yearly cycles of who goes where.
Other than that, the Indians open the season in March on a Monday in Oakland. Gross. They're quickly into Cleveland to open up Progressive Field on a Friday, which is good news for everyone involved.
I know the attendance drab as of late has been a topic and a lot of people want to bash. But again, I'm not playing into it. The 10,000 people that are there are enjoying the game and are into the race the Indians are in. The ones that aren't, are either enjoying it from their home or have already donned the orange and brown. And that's fine. I'll make it out to a game in September, and that has nothing to do with my finances, otherwise I wouldn't be there.
Some people have no excuse, and that's sad, but it is the reality of the state of this fan base. Any use worrying about those people? No, not really in my eyes. There's an awesome post that was written a few days ago that you should probably read by Dan Zaleski on More than a Fan. It explains a lot and hits up on a lot of good points, few of which I've made here before, and if you are familiar with my ramblings, will nod your head with.
Nino is in full baseball mode here and on The Tribe Daily, his own Indians blog. Don't miss all the fun, photoshopped Indians players, and LOLTribe ridiciulousness.