Tribe falls to 74-69
Trevor Bauer's Achilles' heel this season has seemed to be the 1st inning. Many a game he's struggled through that frame, then settled in and looked a lot better. When he walked the leadoff man this evening, I immediately wondered if we were going to see him fall behind right from the start again, but he picked that man off, then retired the next ten batters he faced, with 4 strikeouts along the way.
Carlos Santana led off the 2nd inning with a single, Jason Kipnis followed up with a double, and productive outs by Lonnie Chisenhall and Yan Gomes put the Indians up 2-0.
With two outs in the 4th, things were going swimmingly... then a trick of the lights (or something) tricked Bauer into thinking it was the 1st inning again (or something), and he gave up back-to-back doubles, then a single, then a home run to Oswaldo Arcia, and in a matter of minutes a two-run lead had turned into a two-run deficit.
Bauer then finished the inning, and stayed in the game for another four frames, not allowing a single hit in any of them. So, he pitched 8 innings, he struck out 8, he allowed only 4 hits, and he only walked 1. That ought to be a great game, but the 4th inning tells a different story. That Bauer can look the way he did the rest of the night is reason to feel optimistic about his future, but if he's going to be successful, he's going to have to avoid giving up the big inning with such regularity.
Now, a two-run deficit shouldn't be a big deal, not against a starter who entered the game with a 9.38 ERA. The Indians are always happy to make a guy who's struggling look like an All-Star for a night, they're cool like that. And so it was that Santana and Kipnis each walked to start off the bottom of the 4th, but made it no further. Then Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley reached the corners in the 5th, but did not score. Michael Bourn and Ramirez reached in the 7th, but were stranded too. Santana doubled to lead off the 8th, and after a pair of outs, Yan Gomes singled him in, making it a one-run game, but the Indians went 1-2-3 in the 9th.
Ramirez had his third 3-hit game in the last week (almost enough to get his OBP to above .300 for the year!) and Santana drew his MLB-best 101st walk and added a pair of hits, while Brantley had his 12-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0 for 1 night. With 9 hits and 4 walks, the offense gave itself some chances, but squandered too many of them.
The Tigers beat the Royals again tonight, putting those two into a tie for 1st place, with the Indians five games behind them both. The Mariners are five games up at the moment too. Can anyone think of a team that came back from 5 games behind multiple teams in the last 19 days of the season? It may have happened before, but I don't know when. The Tribe's playoff chances are probably already dead. Another loss to Minnesota would remove all doubt.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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