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6.18.2013

Morning Rundown: A Bloop and a Busted Play Does Indians In

Nino Colla | Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports
Sometimes I have no words to describe my reaction to a game. This is one of those games. So I'll just ramble incoherent nonsense.

I'll skip the incoherent nonsense.

ROYALS - 2 | INDIANS - 1
W: Aaron Crow (3-2)
L: Bryan Shaw (0-1)
S: Greg Holland (15)
[BOXSCORE]

No wait, I gotta get it out.
ErrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmahgrerrrrrrrrddddddddddFORTHELOVEOFBRUCECHEN!

Told you it was nonsense. As was all two runs the Royals scored on Monday in their win.

I'm not saying the Royals stole anything or anything. Okay, maybe they did. Maybe they didn't. The way they scored though has to leave a bitter taste in the Tribe's mouth. Of course its really hard for a team to win two one-run pitching duels in a row.

But it is doable and if there is one thing that I am sure of about last night, is that Carlos Carrasco pitched well enough to win that game.

"He was so good," manager Terry Francona said. "[He] used his fastball [on] both sides of the plate, went to his breaking ball later in the game, when they had seen him a couple times. Good pitch sequencing. I thought Carlos [Santana] called a really good game. They worked really well together. That's probably a little bit much to ask for every outing, but boy, I'll tell you what, that's what we've kind of been hoping for."

Carrasco was so on-point in what seemed like his first real start of the season. Done with suspensions, done with controversy and ready to just go out and show his stuff. He showed it. He was commanding his fastball and hitting high numbers on the radar gun, mixing in his off-speed stuff when necessary. And the key to what the coaching staff has been preaching, pitch inside.

He was efficient in his pitch count, getting quick outs because he threw quality strikes that the Royals hitters could not do anything with. He got some good help from his defense at times with some brilliant plays in the outfield, but also wasn't done any favors at a few spots.

He was what we know he can be. When he is not a head-case, he is one of the most talented pitchers this organization has. He can be as good as we saw last night, going deep into games, pitching in a duel against another team's ace and one of the best pitchers in the American League. He can do that when he's right. He was right last night.

Francona said that because he hasn't really been stretched out, he decided to take him out when he did to be fair to Carrasco.

Ultimately what did this club in was just some bad luck and lackadaisical defensive play. There's nothing you can do about that bloop job that tied the game up and put the only run Carrasco surrendered on the board (not that he technically surrendered the run either). There's just nothing you can do to defend it.

What you can do is not get lazy on a ball down in the zone, which is how the Royals scored the go-ahead run an inning later. Matt Albers said that he was trying to throw a ball down. It wen too far down.

"I was just trying to throw a curveball, down," said Albers, who was looking for a strikeout. "I threw it a little bit too far in the dirt. It didn't really miss by too much, but maybe just a little shorter than I'd like. But, I definitely was trying to miss for a ball down."

Yeah... I don't know. It's definitely a wild pitch. But Santana could have stopped it. At least that's what I think. The ball bounced off the backstop and almost let Santana make a throw back to Albers for the out, but the tag was a tad late. 

Either way, why are you throwing a ball in the dirt to Miguel Tejada? He's pinch hitting, doesn't really play much. He may be eager to swing. So you just have to throw something around the zone. Not a ball in the dirt. Come on now, be smart.

Random Notes...

I would hate to put the game on the pitching, especially when they gave up two runs total. But it is also hard when you are facing James Shields on the other end, a guy who you know is going to be good more times than not, especially if you don't get to him in the first, which the Tribe didn't.

But Shields provided plenty of opportunities and the Indians actually chased him after six. Shields did well damage control, so tip your cap to him in that instance. The Indians needed to take advantage of that more though, even if it is a stellar pitcher, he was on the ropes. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.

"We had a couple chances and couldn't cash in," Francona said. "Shields never gives in. He can throw all his pitches at any count. That's why he's so good. I mean, you look at his numbers, he's pitched into some really tough luck this year."

Jason Kipnis was the biggest culprit and he came up empty at the end in the ninth with a runner on third and two outs. So did Mike Aviles, who couldn't make contact with Bourn on third. But he had a great at-bat and really worked with Bourn as he made Greg Holland a little nervous. But after Holland uncorked one and Bourn went to third, he seemed to get locked in and there was no hitting that 99 MPH fastball, so, you tip your cap again.

Especially since he threw a 100 MPH fastball on the outside bottom corner the very next pitch. Insane. Kipnis noted on Twitter that he "left a small village" out on the bases last night.

Mark Reynolds matched his hits with strikeouts. He also stole his third base of the year.

Speaking of that, how funny was it watching Jason Giambi run to second and back with Johnny Mac bating? Francona continued to start the runner with a 3-2 count because he knew Mac would hit into a double play. Of course he did. But because Giambi ran for the fifth time, he stayed out of it.

McDonald isn't cutting it. We know he can't hit worth a lick. He's there for defensive backup purposes.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Looks like Friday is going to be a big day one way or another for injured Indians players. First up, the target return date for Chris Perez is this Friday after a presumed successful outing on Tuesday for the Double-A Akron Aeros.

Perez will throw an inning tonight and if all goes well, should be back in time for the weekend series against Minnesota with the off day on Thursday.

Following the outing on Sunday with the Captains, Perez was feeling good. And in addition to that, Francona and the Indians want Perez to be ready to close.

"He actually felt really good," Francona said. "He didn't command real well. He said he felt rusty. [He] came in today, played catch and felt really good, which we were thrilled with. He understands that when he comes back, we want to insert him into the ninth-inning role, and if he's going to do that, he needs to be sharp."

While Francona wasn't ready to say Friday was good, Perez said he "should be," which is pretty much a given provided that things go well. The should comes in with him feeling not so hot on Wednesday morning.

The other Friday return possibility is Nick Swisher, who's not on the Disabled List, but could be if can't go soon enough. Swisher sat Monday and will likely sit out the rest of the series against Kansas City. The good news is that an examination on Swisher's shoulder came back clean with no major damages.

"We'll go all on him, on his symptoms," Francona said. "It's all dependent on how he feels. If he feels better and the medical staff OKs him, we'll play him before that."

If not, they'll place him on the DL and the sitting will continue for a much longer period of time. And as we've seen, the Indians probably can't afford that offensively, especially with Johnny Mac starting at third. So the Indians will certainly wait for Swisher to bounce back, but they won't wait too long.

The Indians big week was powered by two guys especially, and on Monday those two guys got rewarded for it. 

Corey Kluber and Jason Kipnis were named co-AL Players of the Week. Kluber having won two games and anchoring the pitching staff and Kipnis having hit at a coin-flip rate leading the offense.

"It's a cool honor. It's definitely not something you try for or anything like that. It's something [where] you just put your head down and play the games -- you look up after Sunday and they'll let you know on Monday or something like that," Kipnis said. "That's all it is. ... It was a fun week. I got into a nice groove. I was seeing the ball real well. Probably the same thing goes for Kluber. He was in the same kind of good groove where he went out and was just locked down the whole week and had two great starts. It just means it was a good week. It's a cool award to have, though. Very happy to accept it."

It's funny how after the first month or so with Kipnis off to the cool start, a lot of people wanted to send him down to Columbus. That seems like a downright crazy thing to do. And before he started to get locked in, a lot of people said it should be Corey Kluber to go when Brett Myers came back.

Well Kipnis turned it around and is now one of the more consistent hitters the team has and Kluber is one of the more consistent starting pitchers. And Brett Myers is nowhere to be found. Francona was like a proud daddy.

"I think that's cool. I think that gives me the opportunity to brag about them, which I love to do," manager Terry Francona said. "Corey is just, right in front of our eyes, getting better. Kip got through that rough patch at the beginning of the year and has been such an impactful player for us, whether it's on the bases or at the plate. He just has that aggressive style that really helps us win games."

It marked the first time two Indians players have shared the award and it now marks the third and fourth players to win it just this year with Masterson and Raburn having won it already. So, that's really good.

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