Player of the Game
Lonnie Chisenhall backed his way into tonight's Player of the Game, hitting the solo home run that scored the Indians only run, then giving that run back with a terrible error in the sixth that lead to an unearned run.
Scoreboard Watch: With Tampa Bay and Texas playing each other, no better situation could have occurred for the Indians. Since both teams are tied, who wins any individual game is unimportant, but a split series would be the best for the Indians, because it would give them the best chance at the top Wild Card spot. Tonight, the Rays beat the Rangers 6-2, moving into the number one spot.
Scott Kazmir was able to turn things around after giving up two runs early and throwing more than 40 pitches in the first two innings. After the Royals scored their second run off a steal of first and a couple singles, Kazmir allowed just one more hit in his the fourth and fifth before being pulled from the game after two triples in the sixth. He is still difficult for hitters to square up, but he has become much easier for hitters to foul off, leading to the high pitch counts and high strike out totals.
The Indians are lucky as they didn't have to sweep this series to maintain in the Wild Card race and today was the hardest pitching match-up of the series. Of course, this now puts pressure on as they will need to win the next two in order to insure not being surpassed by the Yankees or Orioles once they start play again tomorrow.
Despite having the exact same match-up as the last game the Indians and Royals played against each other, neither team seemed to figure out the opposing pitcher. James Shields lived on the outside corner where the even the home plate umpire had trouble deciding what was a ball or strike. Shields had already beaten the Indians three times in his four 2013 starts against Cleveland and he was dominant again tonight, striking out nine and giving up just a solo home run to Lonnie Chisenhall during his six innings pitched. Jason Kipnis had an especially hard time against the tough right hander, striking out in all three at bats against Shields.
After a pretty solid defensive effort in Chicago, the Indians gloves were dismal in tonight's game with a wild pitch leading to one run and two errors in the sixth leading to another. Jason Kipnis also had a misplay that wasn't called an error, but could have been.
Indians hitters struck out a season high 17 times tonight bringing the Indians to 1,200 on the season. At the beginning of the year the high career strike out numbers by the new players added to the lineup (most notably Mark Reynolds and Drew Stubbs) make it look like the Indians could put out some record breaking numbers, but the Houston Astros made that go away early by striking out ten times per game over the first few months. The Indians are still on pace, however, to break the old team record, needing just 69 more to do so. At their current pace of almost eight a game, they should have no problem reaching this unwanted record.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 1 - Kansas City Royals 7