Cleveland Indians struggle with consistency at the plate

CLEVELAND -- The only fireworks at Progressive Field on Tuesday night came in the postgame Fourth of July celebration.

The Cleveland Indians scored 11 runs in a win over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park Sunday afternoon, but after returning home and having their first scheduled off day in three weeks, they struggled mightily at the plate, particularly with runners in scoring position.

The Indians went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, including twice with a runner on third base and less than two out, and left seven men on base in a 1-0 loss to the San Diego Padres in Interleague Play at Progressive Field Tuesday night.

“Obviously, we had all the guys on, and a couple guys on third with less than two outs and we weren’t able to get them in,” Indians bench coach Brad Mills said.

Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall, center fielder Bradley Zimmer and catcher Yan Gomes each went 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position, while All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley went 0 for 1 and second baseman Jason Kipnis was 0 for 3 at the plate with runners on second or third base.

“Cahill’s ball was moving all over the place,” Mills said. “It would’ve been nice if maybe we would’ve tried to get them up in those situations a little bit, but at the same time, he pitched well. It was effective, so he kept doing it.”

The Indians went down in order in the first inning, but over each of the next four frames, they came up short with runners on base.

In the bottom of the second inning, American League All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez smashed a one-out triple to the wall in right-center field, but was erased on a 1-3-2 double play when Padres starter Trevor Cahill fired a throw over to first base, where Wil Meyers relayed a throw to the plate to tag Ramirez.

Despite the base-running miscue, Ramirez has been red hot offensively for nearly a month.

Over the last 21 games, Ramirez is batting .448 with seven home runs, 15 runs batted in, 13 doubles, 26 runs scored and seven three-hit games.

“When the ball was hit and he first started down, he thought he was far enough down to go ahead and go,” Mills said. “The pitcher just kind of glanced at him, didn’t really stop him, but he kind of glanced at him. He thought he was far enough down to go ahead and make it.”

Compounding the problem was the play of the defense in the fifth inning.

Although the Indians were not charged with an error, bobbled handles and misplaced steps toward the base led to the game’s only run on grounders hit off of Indians starter Corey Kluber to the middle of Cleveland’s infield.

“Obviously, you can’t assume a double play because it’s not a given, but as a pitcher, all you can do is continue to go back and try to make the pitches,” Kluber said. “It’s not going to doing you any good to get frustrated about it.

“At that point in time, you’re just trying to keep it to one run, and hopefully, keep the team in the game and give them a chance to win.”

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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