Cleveland Indians 4, Oakland Athletics 5
Indians fall to 42-45
Seven solid innings of work were not enough for Carlos Carrasco and the Cleveland Indians to overcome the Oakland Athletics. Ultimately, the game was decided by a collapsing Tribe bullpen and Billy Butler being large and in the way.
Working with the same iffy strike zone that plagued last night’s game, Carrasco held the A’s batters down for the most part through his seven innings of work. Two of his six hits allowed were in the first inning and he managed to escape that troublesome frame with only a run on a sacrifice fly. Other than that, he was able to keep batters off balance until the seventh inning when Ike Davis double home Butler on a walk.
The real trouble for the Indians came when the Carrasco passed the baton onto the bullpen. Zach McAllister relieved Cookie to start the eighth inning by striking out Marcus Semien and inducing a Billy Burns weak groundout to second. Bizarrely enough, he was pulled following a Stephen Vogt single for Marc Rzepczynski to face the switch-hitting Ben Zobrist. Using McAllister against only right-handed hitters is weird, and substitute pitching against a switch hitter is even weirder, especially considering Zobrist is historically better against lefties, which Rzep is. Zobrist made the Tribe pay with a single hen Rzepczynski walked catcher Stephen Vogt to load the bases.
At this point, the game was still in reach, but Billy Butler hit a double to score two, then just… didn’t move. Brandon Moss threw a rocket to try to get him out at second but ended up bouncing the ball off the back of Butler, which caused it to careen into the outfield and Reddick to score. Essentially, Butler’s bat was good for two RBI, while his backside was worth another.
The Indians offense, which was stuck at two runs or fewer for most of the game, came alive in response in the eighth inning. Most notably, Carlos Santana has finally awoken from his slump and hit a two-run home run that scored Michael Brantley, who walked to start the bottom of the inning. Santana, ever the speedster, also doubled and stole third earlier in the game. He also made some great defense plays, such as scooping up a rocket from Francisco Lindor in the top of the ninth.
There are some players (like Jason Kipnis) who look like they are coasting until the All-Star break, but Santana is just now heating up. Backup catcher Roberto Perez is another Tribe batter carrying a hot streak into the break, and he continued it with a 2-for-4 night and some great defensive throws from behind the plate.
Unfortunately, other than that explosive eighth inning, the A’s combination of Chris Bassitt and about 100 bullpen pitchers were enough to stymie the Indians offense.
With tonight’s loss, the Indians hopes of reaching .500 before the All-Star break are officially dashed. The best they can hope for – with a win tomorrow – would be a 43-45 record.
Win Expectancy Chart
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