Cleveland Indians: Three Takeaways from a Late-Inning Win Over the Royals
The Cleveland Indians outlasted the Kansas City Royals on Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, picking up a 6-3 win against the defending champs.
It was not a flawless game for the Cleveland Indians in Kansas City on Saturday, but the Tribe did enough to pull out a 6-3 win over the Royals for yet another series victory.
A pinch hit walk by Rajai Davis in the eighth inning, followed by his 43rd stolen base of the season, paid dividends when a ground ball off the bat of Abraham Almonte ate up Royals’ second baseman Whit Merrifield and bounced into short right field. Davis scored to break a 3-3 tie, and the Indians added two more insurance runs later in the inning on a double by Francisco Lindor.
Andrew Miller and Cody Allen locked down the final two innings, combining to allow just one hit and striking out four.
Cleveland had plenty of opportunities early against Kansas City starter Edinson Volquez, but couldn’t cash in. Volquez yielded three runs on five hits with four walks in five innings of work, and managed to strand seven Indians’ runners on base.
The Tribe’s runs against Volquez came via a second inning RBI single from Tyler Naquin, a third inning wild pitch that allowed Lonnie Chisenhall to score, and a Chisenhall sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Bauer, making his final start before the ALDS, threw a solid six innings, allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and nine strikeouts. The righty ran into some bad luck with balls finding holes, and some suspect defense, which we’ll discuss further in a moment.
All of the Extra Bases
Carlos Santana was the hottest hitter in the Indians’ lineup during the month of September, and he carried it over to first game of October. After a .327/.446/.612 slash line the previous thirty days, the 30-year old went 2-for-3 with two walks, a double, and a triple in Saturday afternoon’s game.
Santana also doubled and tripled in Friday night’s series opener, making him the first Tribe player to do so since Odell Hale in 1936, and just the fourth player to do so in franchise history.
Double/triple in B2B games for CLE
Santana: Last two games
Hale: July 19-21, 1936
Weatherly: July 17-18, 1936 (!)
Hale: May 23-25, 1934
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) October 1, 2016
Coco Crisp has never been considered an elite defender, and as he’s progressed in age, his skills with the glove have diminished further. Yet, his performance in left field against the Royals in this one was downright atrocious.
In the third inning, he fielded Merrifield’s single and bobbled the ball on the transfer, which allowed KC’s Drew Butera, not exactly the most fleet-footed of runners to score.
In the sixth, he failed to charge a ground ball single by Alcides Escobar with Paulo Orlando on second base, then lobbed a throw in to the cutoff man, allowing the run to score once again.
Not making a play is part of the game, but Crisp didn’t appear to be putting in much of an effort in either instance. It was bizarre, and may well have cost Cleveland the game.
Andrew Miller is Pretty Okay
Unless you’ve been living under a rock that has no Wi-Fi signal, you may have noticed that Miller is among the most dominant relief pitchers in all of baseball. FS1 analyst C.J. Nitkowski, who I was surprised to learn doesn’t live under a rock, brought attention to just how good the lefty has been this year.
Andrew Miller’s 13.3 K/BB rate is the 2nd highest all time among relievers with at least 70IP (Eck 18.3!!). He’s in next, CLE at KC on @FS1.
— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) October 1, 2016
All Miller did in this one was record two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eighth inning, needing just 13 pitches to do so. Since being acquired by the indians, he now has 45 strikeouts to 2 walks, or a 22.5 K/BB rate.
It’s not a secret that Cleveland will be leaning heavily on the bullpen in the postseason given the injuries that the starting rotation has endured. With a guy as unhittable as Miller sitting out in that bullpen, those injuries may not be the obstacle that many believe.
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