Indians improve to 9-15
There was a moment in this game where you could actually see the Cleveland Indians' luck change. Well, it wasn't all luck. Mostly it was just poor baseball. It was bad decision making in the field on the part of Carlos Santana and then Trevor Bauer. It was Bauer's inability to find the zone after breezing through innings one and two, and then, suddenly, finding way too much of the zone in the form of a Grand Slam to uber-rookie Devon Travis. But after Bauer exited down 6-2 if the top of the 5th, giving way to Marc Rzepczynski, something happened.
It was fairly benign, ordinary, but at once incredibly significant in the moment and for the rest of the game. With runners on first and second, Ryan Goins hit a hard come-backer to the mound. For weeks we've seen our opponents find the holes, get the breaks while every ball from our bats is deflected by the cruel gods of BABIP, ne'er to return. But this was different. The ball, destined for center, caromed off of Scrabble's leg right into the glove of Jose Ramirez. Ramirez stepped on second and fired to first for the inning-ending double play. Further disaster averted.
That is also when the Indians came to life. After watching the Blue Jays put up 6 in the 4th, the Tribe put up 6 of their own in the 5th, then added on again in the 6th with two more runs, to give them a 10-6 advantage, which the bullpen would hold until Cody Allen gave up a solo shot to Russell Martin in the 9th. But by that point, it was too late for Toronto.
The Blue Jays scored their 6 runs on 3 singles and a home run, but one of those singles wasn't really a single at all, as Trevor Bauer wasted time looking home for a throw when he had none, then failed to get the batter out at first. Mixed in to that scoring was a bunt out, a hit batter and Carlos Santana failing to get anyone out on a fielder's choice by running a man back to 3rd but failing to actually get him into a rundown. It was demoralizing and difficult to watch. Bauer would finish the game going 4 1/3 innings, allowing 6 runs on 7 this while walking 3 and striking out only 1. That all despite retiring the first 6 hitters of the game on only 16 pitches. I can't say all 6 of those runs should have been earned, but they were up on the board anyway.
Luckily, the offense has decided that it is ready to fight back. In the 5th Lonnie Chisenhall lead off with a double. Now, the bad defense has even permeated to the ball boys, as Lonnie's hit down the right field line, despite being fair, was fielded by the ball boy. Luckily, his shame didn't spoil this inning as the Tribe went ahead and batted around. Bourn walked, Kipnis and Brantley singled while Jose Ramirez and Ryan Raburn, pinch hitting for David Murphy, doubled. They'd cap their scoring the next inning plating two more on 2 singles, 2 walks, a balk and a sacrifice fly.
The difference in the offense today was the the top of the lineup. Kipnis finally looked comfortable going 4 for 5 with 2 singles a double and a home run. All told, Kipnis, Ramirez, Brantley and Santana, the 1-4 hitters, went a combined 10 for 14 with 5 walks, 2 doubles and a home run. That's the kind of fire that has been missing from this lineup and the kind that needs to continue if they're going to fight their way out of this hole.
The Indians have an off day tomorrow before starting a series on the road against Kansas City, who just split their 4 game series with the Tigers.
Win Expectancy Chart
Source: FanGraphsRoll Call
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