Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 7-5 loss to the host Kansas City Royals.
1) Saturday night’s game was Friday’s night’s all over again. Tie game. The Royals Billy Butler slams an absolute bomb to left field off an Indians reliever. The two-run home run ultimately proves to be the game-winning margin. Royals win – again. Another Carlos Santana home run gone for naught.
2) The Indians are so bad right now, they can’t even lose in an interesting fashion. This, after beating the Division rival Detroit Tigers three times in the four-game series that kicked off this long, 11-game road trip. Boy, that series feels like forever ago. Since then, the Indians have gone 1-6 and will spend Sunday’s game trying to avoid finishing the road trip with the thud a four-game sweep by the host Royals.
“You can get overexcited about it, a little bit too happy and take the foot off the gas pedal,” admitted Zach McAllister, the Indians starter – and losing pitcher Saturday.
3) If that’s indeed the case, the Indians might want to take a look at the division standings. After pulling into second place with the improbable weekend dominance of the Tigers, they have played their way out of the race again.
4) And unlike like last season where the Indians surprised everyone in baseball by finishing the season on a 10-game winning streak to clinch a Wild Card Playoff Game, this year’s version of the team doesn’t feature the same solid starting pitching, dependable defense and the capabilities of the late-inning rallies the 2013 team was good for.
5) As for McAllister, who was just recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day to start that evening, he blew an early lead to take the loss after giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits over a measly four-plus innings. This, despite the fact that the Tribe offense handed him a five-run second inning, as the Indians piled on against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie. All of the Indians runs in the game coming in that second inning – except for Santana’s lead off homer coming with two outs.
“My last two outings here, I’ve had a really good (pitch selection) mix,” said McAllister, who threw 24 fastballs over his final 27 pitches. “Today, I didn't do that. I think that's something I have to realize…I have to mix my pitches up.”
Indians manager Terry Francona indicated it wasn’t so much that McAllister forgot to use his secondary pitches, he just couldn’t throw them for strikes.
“He’s having a hard time getting his secondary pitches over,” Francona said. “If you’re throwing (them) for strikes, it’s gonna really help. So, I actually think when he’s throwing his fastball and he’s locating it, it’s a really good pitch. That’s the pitcher we need. It’s just he was elevating it tonight.”
6) About the only thing positive to point out on this night is Santana continuing to be red-hot at the plate, hitting his fourth home run in a five-game span.
“I’m just seeing the ball better and I am more focused,” he said, shrugging off the suggestion that his resurgence at the plate has anything to do with finding an everyday home as the Tribe’s first baseman.
7) Finally, I said it earlier in the seasn and I’ll say it again: veteran starting pitchers Scott Kazmir and/or Aaron Harang sure would look good in the Tribe's starting rotation right about now.