Cleveland (91-57) – 3
Kansas City (73-74) – 4
Magic number: 2
Short and Sweet:
On an ordinary September 15th, the Indians 4-3 loss to the Royals would be frustrating. They were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, struck out eight times and grounded into two double plays. Edwin Encarnacion just missed a home run and had to settle for a sac fly that gave the Indians the lead in the first inning after Francisco Lindor‘s leadoff double.
Even in the Indians first loss since August 23rd, Jose Ramirez was unstoppable. He hit a two-out, two-run home run in the third inning that looked like was going to be enough for the Indians with a 3-1 lead.
That seemed like it was going to be enough but Trevor Bauer allowed a pair of solo home runs. Then in fifth inning Eric Hosmer singled to left field away from the shift and tied the game at 3-3 on a ball that had a hit percentage of 39. How very Royals.
Bauer got out of the fifth and started the sixth and was eventually relieved by Joe Smith. Smith proceeded to allow a single to Lorenzo Cain that had a 50% hit probability that scored the eventual game winning run.
Austin Jackson grounded into an inning ending double play with runners on first and second with one out in the seventh and Yandy Diaz led off the ninth inning with a bloop hit, so the Indians had their chances to make it 23.
After the game, Hosmer appeared to mutter something like “(bleep) the streak!”
The Royals took four losses in the Indians 22 game winning streak including a three game stretch at the end of August in Cleveland where they were swept to the tune of 20-0.
But enjoy the postseason, Eric!
Anyway, the night wasn’t a total loss. The Blue Jays beat the Twins to knock the Indians magic number down to two, meaning they can still clinch Saturday or Sunday.
Tribe Top Three:
#3 Bauer: It wasn’t Bauer’s best outing (5 1/3 IP, 6K, 1BB, 9H, 4R) but he gave the team a chance to win the game and he got beat on a shift, so that’s an outing you’d take most times.
#2: Bullpen: 3 2/3 more scoreless innings for the Indians bullpen. Bryan Shaw‘s cutter was smoking, Dan Otero was efficient, Tyler Olson continues to try to end Kyle Crockett‘s career as an Indian, Joe Smith has recorded two outs in the last two games but only thrown 13 pitches. Danny Salazar struck out a pair and walked one, which was one of the better outcomes of this game.
#1 Jose: The guy continues to be on fire. Not even in a loss does he slow down.
This: the fans and team acknowledging one another for an incredible stretch of baseball, one not seen in 100 years.