Tribe improves to 44-45
The continued development of Trevor Bauer took another step in the right direction Tuesday night at Progressive Field. He walked the leadoff man and allowed a pair if singles in the 1st inning that made it a 1-0 game, and after striking the next hitter out, he watched as a throwing error by Yan Gomes on a stolen base attempt allowed another run to score. Instead of letting things get worse, he retired the next hitter to get out of the inning. He gave up another run in the 2nd, but then he got on a serious roll, allowing only one hit (and no walks) over the next five innings. Errors by Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Swisher could have led to trouble, but didn't.
Bauer's night ended after the 7th inning, with him having thrown 116 pitches, allowed three runs (two earned), and struck out six, including the last two batters he faced. Those last five innings are a new high point in his career, and I have to think his popularity with Tribe fans reached a new peak tonight too.
It could have all been for naught, as a couple of his other good starts have been, because early on the offense didn't seem like it would do enough to win. Michael Brantley doubled in a run in the 1st. The Tribe left runners on second and third in the 2nd, then went down in order in the 3rd and 4th. Brantley doubled in another run in the 5th, getting the Indians to within a run. That gave Brantley his 30th multi-hit game of the season, which is the most by an Indian before the All-Star break since Grady Sizemore in 2006.
Dr. Smooth coming up big is no surprise, but Nick Swisher is a different story. Maybe he's turning into this year's Jason Giambi though, mostly hitting poorly, but coming up with timely hits (of course, last year's Jason Giambi wasn't getting paid $15 million, but that's another story). In any event, after Chisenhall led off the 6th with a single*, Swisher hit his 7th home run of the season, putting the Tribe ahead.
*Speaking of Lonnie, if he gets 4 plate appearances Wednesday night, he'll finally be qualified for the league leader boards on rate stats. He will be among the top ten in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and wRC+. Normally that would make someone an All-Star, but not in Cleveland.
Then with two outs in the 7th, Brantley homered (his team-leading 14th of the year), giving him 108 hits on the season, which is the most by an Indian before the All-Star break since Roberto Alomar in 2001, and 60 RBI, the most by an Indians before the break since Victor Martinez in 2007. After Carlos Santana singled, Tanaka was pulled, ending the worst start of his young MLB career, as the Indians become the first team to score five runs off him.
Bryan Shaw came in and pitched a 1-2-3 8th, and then Cody Allen came in and pitched a 1-2-3 9th, giving him his 10th save of the season, and putting the Indians back within a game of .500.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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|Deep South Ken
|Denver Tribe Fan
|Mr. Bad Example