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Cleveland Indians: 3 takeaways from series opening loss to the Yankees

(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /

Well, the fun didn’t last long. After putting up a whopping 19 runs against the Reds the day before, the Cleveland Indians fell to the New York Yankees 7-4 Thursday night.

Going into the game it was the pitching matchup that had every viewer licking their chops. Corey Kluber on the mound for the Cleveland Indians, with Luis Severino on the bump for New York.

These two AL Cy Young candidates were sure to give a solid, back and forth, gritty pitching duel in a low-scoring affair.

So naturally, this was immediately thrown out the window because baseball never makes sense and the two gave up a combined 10 runs and 17 hits.

Frankie and Jose are on fire

While the Indians did ultimately lose this game, none of the blame can be pinned on the best duo in MLB, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor.

The two sluggers continued their assault on baseballs as Ramirez knocked an MLB leading 28th home run and Lindor went 2-4 with a double and a run.

Ramirez’s 28th home run broke a tie with Albert Belle for the most home runs hit by an Indians player before the All-Star break (Belle hit 27 in 1996).

Lindor’s run was his 83rd of the season, giving him a considerable lead for the most runs scored in MLB and after posting 99 runs in each of the past two seasons, he’s almost matched that before the All-Star break and will undoubtedly break that career mark.

And Frankie’s double also set the MLB record for most extra-base hits by a shortstop before the All-Star break, his 54th on the season.

Ramirez’s 28 home runs (tied for first) and Lindor’s 25 (tied for third) give them a combined 53 home runs, the most ever by an Indians pair before the break.

They’re also on pace to do something that hasn’t been accomplished in nearly 100 years and was last done by two all-time greats.

And after all the hype this past offseason over the Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton pairing, the Tribe’s duo is outperforming them in every statistical category other than walks.

It always ends up being a terrible gamble for teams but I don’t care. Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor need to never leave and they need to retire as Indians. Give them career contracts and give it to them now.

Where is Cy Kluber?

Klubot, Klubot! Wherefore art thou Klubot?

Corey Kluber did not channel his robot alter ego and couldn’t find a rhythm to settle into. He gave up six runs (no thanks to Oliver Perez for the last one) and eight hits, two of which were home runs.

And it finally wasn’t and issue of run support either. Kluber had a streak of 74 straight wins when the Indians score four or more runs, but that streak stands no more.

He even walked two batters in the game, something he’s only done four other times this year. After looking like the runaway Cy Young favorite, Kluber has now looked shaky in three of his last four outings.

I’m still not worried about him, after all he is a two-time Cy Young winner and a potential Hall of Famer, but it’s interesting to consider how the bullpen could be affecting him.

Kluber didn’t really do anything to warrant Francona sending him out for the eighth inning. By that point he had already given up four runs and the game was still tied up.

But who is there to relieve him? I’d trust a shaky Kluber over anyone in that bullpen but clearly if there was just one slightly consistent pitcher in there, the big tide-turning eighth could’ve been wiped away and the Tribe are still in that game.

Instead, Kluber is tossed back out their and the Yanks end up with their 7-4 win.

Speaking of the bullpen

It seems like every single recap I write it has to mention the bullpen and it is almost never in a positive light.

I mean come on. It really is laughable at this point. It’s the ninth inning, the game was practically over. The Yankees already have a two run lead with Aroldis Chapman due up to face the bottom of the Indians lineup to seal their win.

And they found a way. This bullpen found a way. Tyler Olson, fresh off the DL, pitch, wack, home run.

Brett Gardner, who had an enormous seven home runs on the season, and had only hit three home runs in all of June and July (so far) combined, got his second home run of the game just to rub it in and push their lead to three.

Next: What to make of the Manny Machado rumors

It’s weeks like this where I see all the reports and trade scenarios for Cleveland to get a Manny Machado rental of three months and I shake my head and wonder if anybody in that front office will recognize that there’s a major issue that needs fixing on this ball club.