Tribe falls to 4-7
Because there is an off day Thursday, T.J. House won't pitch until the Monday after next. Given how he pitched today, that's likely a good thing. To be fair to T.J., he has had a very sporadic schedule to start the 2015 campaign, and for a pitcher who needs a fine command of the strike zone to succeed, all that time off had to have some effect on his performance thus far.
Yesterday it was the Indians' bottom of the order (Roberto Perez and Jose Ramirez) that drove the offense. Today, the bottom of the Minnesota order was a big part of the offensive attack. Shane Robinson, who hit ninth today, went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs, while Oswaldo Arcia (7th) and Eduardo Escobar (8th) each added a hit. But they weren't the only Twins to have a big day at the plate. Trevor Plouffe, who won Friday's game with a walkoff home run, returned to the lineup and went 3-for-4, and Torii Hunter hit a 3-run homer in the sixth (his first since returning to the Twins) to break the game open.
House had two 1-2-3 innings, but otherwise was hit hard, allowing 7 hits and two walks in 5.2 innings. He only struck out 2, which is somewhat indicative of how the Minnesota batters were seeing his pitches. House couldn't many swings and misses on his slider, and that led to more fastballs with predictable results. T.J. didn't have much help behind him, either. In the third, Jose Ramirez couldn't field a sharp grounder cleanly, and while that didn't directly lead to a run (you can't assume a double play), if the play had been the Twins might not have scored the third run. In the fourth, with runners on first and second, Lonnie Chisenhall tried to start a 5-4-3 double play instead of trying an easier 5-3 double play. A double play would not have ended that inning (there was nobody out), but it might have changed how House approached Shane Robinson.
Still, when House left in the sixth, the Indians were only down three, and even with the way the offense has struggled in 2015, scoring three runs in the final 3 frames wasn't out of the realm of possibility. Former Twin Anthony Swarzak was called upon to keep the deficit where it was, but after walking Brian Dozier, he gave up a three-run homer to Torii Hunter, effectively ending the game.
The Tribe offense was once again anemic. They managed just four hits (all singles) off Minnesota starter Trevor May. The only extra-base hit of the day came in the ninth, when Carlos Santana took JR Graham deep (his second homer on the season).
The Indians will try to find their bats in Chicago, where they'll face the White Sox in a three-game series starting tomorrow.
Win Expectancy Chart
(sometimes this graph doesn't fully capture how the game went. Today it captured how the game went perfectly.)
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