Covering the Bases: Game 5
White Sox 10, Indians 6
FIRST: Talk about an offensive explosion. Six runs on 10 hits — both season highs. OK, it wasn’t exactly the second coming of the ’27 Yankees, but it was progress. After watching the lineup average 2.7 runs per nine innings prior to Wednesday’s game, it was nice to see some hits strung together.
In the fourth inning, the Indians actually pieced together three hits in a row — for the first time this season. Cleveland still hasn’t had more than three hits in any one inning, though. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though for the local nine, however. The Tribe was 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners.
Hey, baby steps, people.
SECOND: Within the offense’s slight resurgence were a couple of strong showings from DH Travis Hafner and LF Shelley Duncan. Hafner went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, while Duncan went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs. If that duo can contribute solid pop and run production on a consistent basis, the middle of the Indians’ order will have a much different feel to it. Hafner has looked solid since the start of spring. Duncan has shown the power, but has lacked the consistency. Wednesday was at least a promising afternoon for both of them.
THIRD: On the other hand, leadoff man Michael Brantley and second baseman Jason Kipnis have gotten off on the wrong foot. Brantley went 0-for-4 and is now hitting .059 on the season. Kipnis went 0-for-4 and is hitting .095. If the Indians want to be a playoff team, both of these guys need to have big years.
HOME: It is rare to see Jack Hannahan make a game-changing error. The same goes for Casey Kotchman. On Wednesday, both made an error that contribued to Chicago’s win. Hannahan misfired on a throw attempt to first base in the first inning and the White Sox went on to have a four-run frame. Kotchman mishandled a low throw from shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in the fifth and the Sox tacked on another run after that miscue. That might be the only time this season both guys make an error in the same game. They’ll save more runs than they cost when it’s all said and done.
Indians (1-4) at Royals (3-2)*
4:10 p.m. ET Friday at Kauffman Stadium
*Record doesn’t include KC’s Wednesday result
NOTE: I will not be on the trip to Kansas City. I will be back on the beat for the West Coast swing through Seattle and Oakland. Keep following Indians.com for updates on the Indians-Royals series in my absence.