Second Thoughts: Game #50 - Royals 6, Indians 3
|W: B. Chen (4-5) L: J. Gomez (3-4) S: Broxton (11)|
The Line: 5IP, 10H, 5/5R/ER. 1BB, 3K, 1HBP
The Results: 98 pitches, 64% strikes, 12GB, 3FB, 2PO, 4LD
The Write-up: Jeanmar Gomez looked pretty solid this afternoon utilizing his sinker and slider to generate a lot of groundballs. However, his lack of stuff and inability to put hitters away with two outs was his Achilles heel. Giving up 10 base hits, four of them doubles, hitting a guy and walking a guy in just five innings of work is going to spell trouble. So, while there is a desire to say: “if he just could have gotten that one guy with two outs, or if the ball just would have taken a different hop”, the fact is that, as a starting pitcher, you can’t allow that many guys to get on base and square you up the way that the Royals did.
Gomez's outing, like so many by the Tribe’s starting pitchers since the Detroit series, left a lot to be desired. He threw strikes (64% is solid if not spectacular), he induced lots of grounders and he had a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio. It is frustrating that Cleveland hit their slump button right after sweeping the Tigers, but sometimes, just like hits with two outs, a bunch of unlucky performances get sprinkled in around some bad ones and you lose five of six to divisional opponents.
The Line: 4IP, 3H, 4BB, 4K, 1HBP
The Results: 83pitches, 57% strikes, 3GB, 1FB, 2PO, 4LD
The Write-up: Welcome to the big leagues, Scott Barnes. Barnes threw a scoreless 6th inning and recorded a strikeout against his first Major League hitter. He struggled with command as his adrenaline may have gotten the best of him, but you have to be happy for a clean slate and a strikeout souvenir in his MLB debut. Pestano and Smith bot looked a little rusty, but they had hardly been used due to the prolonged nature of the Indians “never having the lead past the 1st inning” problem as of late.
Eighty-three pitches is an awful lot for a bullpen to have to work through, but thankfully the Indians are getting a much needed day off before resuming their home stand against the Twins.
The Starting Lineup
The Line: 10/35, 2B, 4BB, 3SB, 1CS
The Results: 3R, 11TB, 20LOB, AVG/OBP/SLG 286/350/314
The Write-up: Once again, the Indians looked good to start the game and failed to make any effective adjustments the rest of the game. Yes, the Indians have a lefty-dominant lineup and yes, the opposition has trotted out a lot of lefties lately, but it isn’t Cliff Lee that they are facing each night. Over the past two games here is the breakdown of the Indians the 1st time through the order compared to everything else:
|2nd & 3rd||.182||.213||.200||0|
The Indians have been pretty timid at the plate over the past couple of games and it just may have a lot to do with a failure to make adjustments after getting to the starter initially. One possible theory is that the Indians have a young team and have been fielding an even younger than normal lineup recently: Juan Diaz, Luke Carlin, Jason Kipnis, and Lonnie Chisenhall all are young players and typically younger players learn to make in-game adjustments as the very last step of their maturation process into everyday Big Leaguers.
One especially frustrating at bat came from Jose Lopez in the bottom of the 9th. With the bases loaded, and Broxton struggling mightily to find the strike zone, Lopez weakly slapped the 1st pitch into a double play ball to end the game. The pitch was up in the zone and Broxton had just thrown 3 strikes in the last 15 pitches. Not exactly the type of approach you want from your #4 hitter with the bases loaded.
Choo has a great arm, but harnessing it is always the key as he had Francouer at home in the 5th and he just sailed it high. I think he makes that throw four times out of five, but it was just one of those days/weeks for the Tribe. The Indians haven’t had an error forever, but sometimes playing error-free ball is not the same as playing great defense.
The upcoming day off is much needed for the Indians and the hope is that they can find some of that (week) old magic they had against the Tigers when they play the Twins starting Friday and then the Tigers on Monday in Detroit. They face a couple young lefties and they will need to figure out how to score some runs the first, and second time through the lineup.