Reaction: Cleveland Indians Drop Series Opener to Cardinals

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The Indians struggled yet again on Tuesday, as they dropped the first game of the series to Lance Lynn and the Cardinals. Carlos Carrasco logged 6.2 innings for the Tribe, striking out seven and allowing four runs on ten hits. Lynn was solid for St. Louis, giving up just four hits and four walks in six scoreless innings, while striking out nine.

Key Moments
Second Inning
A pair of singles from Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina set the stage for Mark Reynolds in the second inning, when he hit a two-out RBI single to put the Cardinals up 2-0. The Cardinals never looked back from that lead, adding another run in the fifth inning when Reynolds and Peter Bourjos singled, and Matt Holliday sent Reynolds home on a two-out RBI single of his own.

Seventh Inning
With one out in the seventh inning, Matt Carpenter doubled to center field, and he later scored on Peralta’s RBI double. The bottom of the inning was the Tribe’s only offensive outburst. Jose Ramirez singled to lead off the inning, scoring on Jason Kipnis‘s RBI double. With one out, Michael Brantley and Ryan Raburn hit back-to-back RBI doubles of their own to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 4-3.

Eighth Inning
Asking the bullpen to hold the Cardinals to that score was a mistake. Bryan Shaw walked Jason Heyward, then struck out Reynolds for the first out. Bourjos hit a double-play ball back to the mound, but Shaw bobbled it and made an awkward throw to second base, where Ramirez dropped the ball. Nick Hagadone replaced Shaw and managed to strike out Kolten Wong, but he gave up an RBI single to Carpenter. At that point, Scott Atchison made an appearance as the third pitcher in the inning – and promptly gave up a three-run bomb to Holliday to make the score 8-3.

The Positives
There aren’t too many positives to take away from Tuesday’s misadventure. Kipnis was 3-for-4 and Brantley was 2-for-4, both with a walk, but otherwise the pitching and hitting were equally disappointing. One other positive? Ryan Webb, who pitched a perfect inning with a strikeout, and has quietly become the Tribe’s most reliable reliever. He’s pitched nine innings to the tune of a 2.0 ERA, allowing just five hits and three walks, with three strikeouts.

The Negatives
Two errors. Nine Indians left on base. Eight Cardinal runs, including four unearned runs. Choose whichever statistic, and the Indians under-performed, again. If they don’t clean up their defense and starting making all-around improvements at the plate and on the mound, they’re going to get left behind. The Cardinals are undoubtedly a hard team to beat, but the Tribe can’t afford any more series losses.

More from Away Back Gone

Check It Out
– The Cardinals have the best record in baseball, earning their 23rd win of the season on Tuesday. Heading into the game, the Cards led all of MLB with a 2.75 team ERA. They also had the third-highest batting average, at .273, and the fourth-best OBP, at .338. Outfielder Matt Holliday also leads all players with a .465 OBP.

– On Wednesday, the Tribe will send Corey Kluber to the mound to face right-hander John Lackey, who is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA this season. After a strong start, Kluber has struggled in his last three outings and has a 5.03 ERA with a 0-5 record despite striking out 46 batters in just 44.2 innings of work.

Next: Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cleveland Indians

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