Game 113: Reds 9, Indians 2
Tribe falls to 57-56
That was a strange game. Many games have a strange play, but this one had a lot of them, including one that has to be counted among the most strange I've seen.
With two outs in the top of the 1st, Cincinnati's Ryan Ludwick doubled, putting runners on second and third... at least that should have been the situation, but on a routine throw from left field, Lonnie Chisenhall was too casual in his attempt to catch it, allowing the ball to bounce off his glove and roll away, which in turn allowed a run to score.
Michael Brantley quickly tied the game back up in the bottom half of the inning, but was thrown out trying to take second base on the throw.
The in the top of the 2nd, Josh Tomlin struck out Bryan Pena, but it was a wild pitch, and Pena made it to first base safely. Who knows if the inning would have played out any differently if the out had been recorded, but three batters later Tomlin allowed a big 3-run homer, putting the Indians back in a hole.
A weak grounder off the bat of Jay Bruce scored another Reds run in the 4th, and after allowing a couple singled in the 5th, Tomlin's night was over. One of those runners scored on a semi-successful double steal, leaving Tomlin with an ugly line of 6 runs (5 earned) in 4.1 innings. Some of it was fluky, but not the home run he gave up. That's been a big problem for him all season, and while he pitched a masterpiece a few weeks ago, his last two months have mostly been pretty bad. The Indians are short on pitching options though, so I imagine we'll see Josh again at some point this season.
Things carried on in fairly normal fashion for a couple innings, with the Tribe unable to solve Johnny Cueto (no shame in that, he's been one of the best pitchers in baseball for years now, though not everyone seems to have noticed).
In the 7th though, the Indians finally mounted a rally. Chisenhall walked to lead off the inning, and then David Murphy singled. Next up was Yan Gomes, who drove a double to deep right, which bounced off the wall and was fielded by Bruce. Just as that happened though, a reliever in the Cincinnati bullpen missed his target, and his pitch sailed onto the field in the general direction of second base. Gomes slid safely into second, just before the correct ball arrived there. Murphy though, rounded third and saw the other ball, then found himself tagged out. Instead of second and third with nobody out, there was just one man on, and there was also one out. The next two hitters were retired and that was that.
Had Murphy been safe at third, and the next two hitters done exactly what they did, Murphy and Gomes each would have scored, and it would have been a 2-run game. Carlos Carrasco had pitched 2.2 innings already at that point, and in a 2-run game, Francona might have gone to another reliever. Instead, he left Carrasco in, and in the 9th things finally caught up with Carlos. he allowed a lead off homer to Bruce, then gave up singles to three of the next four batters, loading the bases with one out. He was finally pulled then, but Kyle Crockett allowed a triple, which scored two runs, and almost a third, expect the slow-footed Pena was called out at the plate, and the call withstood a challenge, even though it looked a lot like he was out, from where I was sitting.
With two outs in the 9th, Murphy singled, but that call was reviewed too, and he was (correctly) called out, ending the game.
It must be noted that Carrasco pitch pitched 4 innings, and until the 9th, he looked very good. He was allowed to throw 59 pitches, which makes me wonder if he's going to be stretched out for another crack at the rotation. He drove me nuts in his last two stints as a starter, but given the state of the rotation right now, I suppose there's something to be said for hoping that if at first (and second... and third) you don't succeed...
Win Expectancy Chart:
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