Player of the Game
Bryan Shaw saved the Indians some innings today if nothing else, coming in for Scott Kazmir in the fifth and throwing another inning and a third after that. When he came in, there were runners on first and third and Shaw induced a double play to diffuse what could have been a big inning. He didn't allow a base runner over his 2.1 innings and struck out two.
Michael Brantley helped the Indians come right back after dropping three in the first by hitting another two out RBI single. This is becoming a trade mark of Brantley who has been great all season in the clutch and has now hit early, two out, RBI singles in two consecutive days.
It's said that the early bird gets the worm and today Alex Gordon was ready to play just a little before Scott Kazmir. Gordon took the first pitch of the game over the right field wall for a solo home run. Immediately following him, Emilio Bonifacio tripled and Eric Hosmer hit a first pitch single to knock him in. Kazmir eventually allowed two more singles in the first to spot the Royals a 3-0 lead in this 12:05 PM start time game.
The Indians have been having issues the past few days with one of the fundamental aspects of baseball, throwing the ball to and then catching the ball at first base. Yesterday, two batters were safe at first when Indians relievers failed to cover first in time and Zach McAllister was charged with an error for overthrowing Nick Swisher on a pick-off play. Today, Scott Kazmir committed another throwing error on a pick-off attempt (allowing an unearned run) and Carlos Santana misplayed a ball thrown by Lonnie Chisenhall that was ruled a single, but would have been an out if Santana had better footing. Throwing to first is the second most common thing that happens in a baseball game (after throwing to the catcher) and the Indians certainly can't expect to win if they can't do the simplest things properly.
Rich Hill joined in, getting an error of his own that allowed a run to score on an attempted pick-off, but not until he walked the left handed hitter he was brought in to face and allowed a single to a right handed hitter. How Hill has managed to stick around this long is beyond all logic and baseball intelligence and how he is still used in close game situations is even more confounding. While he did have a short stretch where he was pitching like one in his position would expect, he is back to his early season ways, walking the first batter he faced in two consecutive games. With Marc Rzepczynski and Nick Hagadone on the roster, it would be nice not to have to see Hill play again all season.
While it may not have seemed a must win, this series was actually a very important one for the Indians and it will make their road to the play-offs even tougher. While the Royals have an even harder shot to make it to the post season, that does not mean they couldn't possibly pass the Indians in the Central if Cleveland continues to flounder.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 2 - Kansas City Royals 6