Thirteen final thoughts after the Indians make dubious history in Dodger Stadium.
1. The thing I’ll remember most about the Indians being one-hit in back-to-back games was that they got their only hit in the second game from instant replay.
2. That and the sound of broken bats.
3. Manager Terry Francona said the Indians had a couple shattered sticks – it sounded to me like a dozen against the Dodgers. Just as you can sometimes tell when a golfer hits a perfect drive from the sound the ball makes as it’s whizzing past your ear, the crack of a broken bat makes seems just as indelible.
4. I’m not sure what the Indians can do to snap out of their hitting funk. Since Yan Gomes’ sixth-inning home run Saturday night against the Mariners, they’re scoreless in the last 21 innings and 3 for 63 in that span.
5. Shaking up the lineup might be in order, but I’m not sure what good rearranging a bunch of low-.200 hitters would do. The only players exempt from the offensive funk are Lonnie Chisenhall (.354), George Kottaras (.353), Michael Brantley (.314), Michael Bourn (.272), Gomes (.264) and Mike Aviles (.261) and all but Kottaras played in at least one of the one-hitters.
6. The Indians need joy, but Nyjer Morgan doesn’t sound close to returning from his right knee injury. They need Jesus Aguilar to hit in the majors like he is at Triple-A Columbus (.276, 12 homers, 39 RBI). They need Jason Kipnis to start the push that earned him an All-Star selection last season. (On Monday, Kipnis was 0 for 3 and struck out looking all three times.) They need Nick Swisher to carry the team like he did in September. They need David Murphy to hit again with runners in scoring position. Heck, they all need to hit with runners in scoring position (the team average is .247).
7. But do they need a trade? I would say yes, but I’m not sure the Indians have much in the way of tradeable assets.
8. A terrific start by Corey Kluber was overshadowed by the hitting woes. The game was dripping with drama in the seventh inning. Kluber had already escaped a jam in the fourth and looked ready to do it again after Andre Ethier led off with a triple that ticked off Michael Brantley’s glove in left field. Kluber retired Juan Uribe on a groundout and struck out A.J. Ellis before pinch-hitter Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked. Clint Robinson, playing just his fourth game for the Dodgers and his eighth in the majors, pinch-hit for pitcher Dan Haren.
9. Robinson worked the count to 3-2, then slapped a single up the middle on Kluber’s 107th and last pitch of the night.
10. Kluber said Robinson hit a cutter. “It might have been a little too high, but I got a ground ball, you can’t really do much about that. Unfortunately it just found a hole,” Kluber said.
11. It was a cool moment when Robinson was interviewed on the field after the game, broadcast in the stadium. Asked how long he had been dreaming of this moment, the Troy University product who had spent most of the last nine years in the minors said, “About 29 years.”
12. Kluber suffered the first interleague loss of his career in seven starts. He’s now 6-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 46 innings pitched against NL foes. He lost for the second time in three starts despite compiling a 1.31 ERA in 202/3 innings since June 20.
13. “For the most part I had a pretty low pitch-count for most innings. Got deep in the game,” Kluber said of his outing. “Brantley made a great effort to try to catch that ball, unfortunately it was just out of his reach. Overall it was pretty good.”