Stop me if you’ve heard this one before- the Indians bullpen failed to get the job done.
It wasn’t entirely the bullpen’s fault. Starter Ubaldo Jimenez certainly contributed. After cruising through the first five innings, allowing no runs and only giving up just a couple of hits, Jimenez self-destructed in the sixth.
As would be the afternoon’s theme, Ubaldo walked Hosmer and Butler to start the inning, then bobbled a toss trying to cover first and was charged with an error allowing the bases to be loaded.
Ubaldo then fell behind Lorenzo Cain, who had hit a whopping 3 home runs before this at bat. Cain fouled off a few pitches before crushing a grand slam home run. Now, the Indians had built a 5-0 lead before this half of the inning, so even after the salami they were still up a run. Unfortunately, Ubaldo hadn’t even recorded an out in the sixth. His day was done though. Final line- 5.0 innings pitched, 4 runs, 5 walks, 3 strikeouts.
Cody Allen would enter the game, but the usually trustworthy Allen also gave up a home run, this one a solo shot which tied the game at 5 going into the seventh inning.
Give the Indians credit for coming right back after the big inning from Kansas City. Kipnis would walk, and Brantley would line a single to left before Carlos Santana hit a bullet to the wall for a double scoring the pair. Brantley had a big day at the plate. He went 4-5 and looked as locked in as he’s been all season, which is a good sign for the Indians. He was hitting in the clean-up spot while Swisher got a day off. Santana looked good with a pair of hits including that double. Aviles also had a couple of hits for the Tribe. Kipnis extended his hitting streak to fifteen games with a single as well.
But Drew Stubbs had the best day at the plate for the Indians. He took advantage of two mistake pitches, drilling one deep into the left field stands for his 7th home run of the season. He also had a two RBI single with the bases loaded.
The struggles continued though for Mark Reynolds. Reynolds was 0-5 and struck out twice.
The Indians held a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. If we love to see response runs from the Tribe, we obviously hate the opposite. The Royals would strike back in the bottom of the frame, and again it was a walk that came back to haunt the Indians.
Joe Smith entered the game and walked the lead-off hitter. He then gave up a home run to Eric Hosmer. Tie game.
The Indians’ half of the eighth was quite uneventful, leading to the melt down that was the bottom of the eighth. Bryan Shaw started the inning off for the Indians. He walked the lead-off man after being up 1-2 in the count. Then Giavotella fouled off two sacrifice bunt attempts. This looked like a break for the Tribe, until Shaw drilled him in the upper arm. No outs. Men on first and second. Pitching change.
Rich Hill came on. It appeared that he and Santana were crossed up, as a ball that Carlos expected to be outside ran inside and Carlos whiffed on it, allowing both runners to move up a base. With a 2-0 count and first base open, the Indians decided to intentionally walk Dyson. No outs. Bases loaded. Pitching change.
Enter Matt Albers. Salvador Perez would line a slider into the left field corner, scoring all three men on base. 10-7 Kansas City. And that would be your final.
The Royals scored 10 runs on just 6 base hits. Three of those hits were home runs. One was a three run double. Cleveland pitchers walked eight Royals in the game. Six of those eight would come around to score. Ballgame.
At the halfway point of the season, the weakness of the team is the bullpen- which was supposed to be the strength. With Brett Myers being shut down from his most recent rehab assignment, you wonder of the Indians won’t have to visit the possibility of dealing for a bullpen arm before the deadline is over.
The Indians fell to a game and a half behind the Tigers with Detroit coming to town for a huge four game series starting tonight.
(Photo: Orlin Wagner/AP)