Covering the Bases: Game 17

Final:

Royals 4, Indians 2

FIRST: Home is where the knife through the heart is. At least that’s how it’s felt in the early going for the Indians. Progressive Field has hardly been the friendly confines for Cleveland. Now, over the course of the season, the Indians will almost certainly play better at home. That said, it’s been ugly so far.

Let’s take a look at the numbers…

AT HOME

Record: 2-6
Team average: .186 (52-for-279)
Runs scored: 28
Runs per game: 3.5
Hits per game: 6.5
Average with RISP: .150 (9-for-60)

ON ROAD

Record: 7-2
Team average: .281 (89-for-317)
Runs scored: 54
Runs per game: 6.0
Hits per game: 9.9
Average with RISP: .309 (30-for-97)

SECOND: When the Indians signed outfielder Johnny Damon on April 17, left fielder Shelley Duncan was hitting .333 and fans were wondering how exactly Damon was going to fit in. Over the past week, Damon has been getting in game shape and Duncan has slipped into a brutal slump. Duncan went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in Thursday’s loss, giving him eight strikeouts in 10 at-bats in the series against the Royals. Dating back to April 18, Duncan has hit .125 (3-for-24) with 13 strikeouts. Suddenly, fans are having an easier time seeing how and where Damon fits in.

THIRD: OK, let’s pause and find something positive to pull out of the latest lapse by your Tribe. How about left-hander Tony Sipp? Over his past five appearances out of the bullpen, the lefty has given up one run over 4 2/3 innings (1.93 ERA), striking out four with one walk and two hits allowed. Sipp logged 1 1/3 shutout innings in Thursday’s loss. He’s trimmed his ERA down to 7.71 from 19.29 over that five-game span. Given Sipp’s track record, the Indians expect him to be just fine as the season wears on and he’s made good progress in the past week or so. This is why a young lefty like Nick Hagadone is sent back to the Minors and why a veteran arm like Sipp stays around. Sipp has been valuable over the past few years for Cleveland and the team is not about to press the panic button over a couple rough outings in early April.

HOME: Where has all the power gone? Cleveland launched at least one home run in each of its first nine games, belting 16 long balls in that span. Since then? Zilch. In fact, the eight-game drought without a homer marks the longest such power outage since the Tribe went eight straight without a blast from Sept. 27-Oct. 3 in 1991. That home run slump covered 82 innings. The Indians’ current power skid covers 75 innings, dating back to the fifth on April 17 in Seattle.

On deck:

Angels (6-13) at Indians (9-8)
at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday at Progressive Field

–JB

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