Sixteen final thoughts after the Indians' rally fails in Kauffman Stadium.
1. Just when you thought the Indians were getting their fielding issues in order, another major gaffe – this time by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in the third inning – opened the floodgates for the Royals.
2. It was the Indians’ 60th error in 65 games. That puts them on pace for 149 in 162 games.
3. The Royals had two on and one out in the third with Jarrod Dyson facing Tribe right-hander Corey Kluber. Dyson sent what looked like a double-play ball to Cabrera, who dropped it. It was initially ruled an error on Cabrera, then the call was changed to a force-out, thanks to the new interpretation of the transfer rule. After Royals manager Ned Yost challenged, it was overturned and Cabrera was given the error. The Royals went on to score four runs (three unearned) on Omar Infante’s RBI single, an RBI groundout by Eric Hosmer and a two-run single to right by Billy Butler.
4. Even though the Cabrera play was reviewed, Indians manager Francona said, “I didn’t think he caught it. He was trying too quick, I don’t think (the ball) ever really got in there.”
5. Francona dissected the trouble this way: “The walk to (Mike) Moustakas, there’s some traffic out there, then Dyson hits a ball that we’re trying to turn two. Cabby had to hustle and didn’t see it into his glove. Klubes couldn’t pitch out of it. When you give teams extra chances, especially against the middle of the order, sometimes you pay a price for it.”
6. Kluber’s stat line was deceiving, Francona said. Kluber went five innings and gave up six runs (three earned) on six hits with two walks, five strikeouts and a two-run homer to Hosmer in the fifth.
7. “I don’t know if he had his best fastball command, but I thought he had good stuff,” Francona said. “The home run to (Hosmer), he made a mistake out over the plate.”
8. Kluber was in agreement for the most part. “I wasn’t at my best, but I think I did a decent job of making some good pitches when we needed to,” he said. “Unfortunately there were a couple times where hits kind of fell in. The home run was a pretty good pitch; he went out there and got it. I wasn’t at my best, but it wasn’t terrible.”
9. Kluber still deserves to go to the All-Star Game, even with two less-than-stellar starts in a row.
10. The Indians rallied for five runs in the final two innings, but were stifled by Royals left-hander Jason Vargas. They’re now 8-14 vs. left-handed starters.
11. Vargas gave up three runs on six hits in 7 2/3 innings, walking none and striking out five. He recorded his first decision against the Indians since April 18, 2012, when he got the victory for Seattle.
12. “I thought he threw strike one, same spot, away to lefties, and just got ahead of us all night,” Francona said of Vargas. “Then spun his breaking ball and for the most part pitched like you’re supposed to with the lead, pitched ahead.”
13. “We hit some balls at people. Every time we started to get something going, Brantley lined one, Kip hit a ball that (Vargas) caught and turned a double play. We hit some balls hard but couldn’t string anything together until later,” Francona added.
14. Indians infielder Lonnie Chisenhall is 16 plate appearances shy of having enough to be eligible for the major league batting title. He went 2 for 4 Tuesday and raised his average from .385 to .388.
15. While fans have rallied on Twitter in support of Chisenhall and a “Lonnie Baseball” T-shirt has been printed, Chisenhall actually knew he needed to average 3.1 plate appearances per game to qualify. Nothing wrong with setting the bar high.
16. “I knew that in the minor leagues for some reason, to be eligible for a batting title you keep up with that kind of stuff as a hitter growing up,” he said. “I’ll try to get as many at-bats as I can every night. If we keep scoring 17 runs that shouldn’t be an issue.” That, of course, was Monday's production against the Rangers in a hitter-friendly park.