Indians improve to 45-48
What a bizarre few days it's been for the Tribe. As if Sunday's clutch walk-fest and yesterday's double play-fest weren't weird enough, today's game featured a combined 31 hits and seven more double plays, including four in consecutive innings by the Tribe. And just when it looked like the Indians had sealed the deal at 7-4 going into the bottom of the 9th, the Brewers fought back with three hits, scoring a run and putting runners on the corners before Cody Allen finally managed to shut things down with ... a double play.
Francisco Lindor got off the Tribe off to a great start when he adroitly worked a 3-2 count and then sent a bomb over the RF wall (his third homer of the year). However, Cody Anderson then proceeded to have by far his worst start of the year ... all in one inning, A two-out, two-run homer for Adam Lind was followed by three more singles with Jean Segura driving in the third run. After three more singles in the 2nd, it was 4-1 Brewers, with Anderson having allowed eight hits on 53 pitches, and all of the runs coming with two outs.
The Indians had earlier threatened themselves in the 2nd, Santana easy-looking bunt single against the shift and Gomes walk was nullified when Moss lined one straight at the 2nd baseman and Santana was left stranded off the base on ... a double play.
They did more than threaten in the 3rd, however. A Kipnis one-out double was followed by a soft fly ball into center by Lindor. The ever-so-smooth Michael Brantley then tied the scores with a three-run homer to RF for the first of his four hits on the day. Alas, after a Murphy single, Santana contrived to ... ground into a double play..
With two on and two out in the bottom of the 3rd, Tito prudently decided to remove Anderson rather than let him face the order for a third time, and Austin Adams ended the danger with a strikeout.
Things looked promising in the 4th when Gomes led off the with a single and Urshela joined him on the bases with a single of his own. However, Tito then controversially sent in Adams to bunt (rather than a pinch-hitter) with an almost predictable outcome ... a double play.
After turning a double play of their own to allow Adams to get out of a jam in the 4th, the Tribe begun the 5th with a Kipnis leadoff single and Lindor walk. At this point, the Brewers were no doubt expecting to make a double play, but Brantley singled to LF and with Kipnis scoring, Khris Davis mishandled the ball, allowing both Lindor and Brantley to advance. After Murphy grounded out feebly, Santana walked and the bases were loaded for Gomes. However, after taking the count to 3-0 at one point, he did indeed ultimately ... ground into yet another double play (the eighth Indians double play in the last 14 innings).
At this point the game finally began to revert to some resemblance of "normality". Webb and McAllister did have to survive RISP situations in the 5th and 6th, before the latter managed the Tribe's first 1-2-3 in the 7th. And in the 8th Bryan Shaw managed to work around a leadoff single, helped by the fact that the Brewers definitely appeared to have caught the Tribe's deadly "double play disease" by now.
Meanwhile, having seen off (the pretty dreadful) Kyle Lohse, the Tribe had finally got into the Brewers' bullpen. Although they couldn't capitalize on a 2-out Raburn pinch-hit walk (or should that be just "pinch-walk"?) in the 6th, they did manage to add on in the 7th. Brantley recorded a one-out double and (after another Murphy groundout had moved him to 3rd), Santana walked, and this time Gomes made no mistake with an RBI single to stretch the lead to 6-4.
The Tribe then managed to open a three-run cushion in the 9th, when after Brantley recorded his fourth hit on the day, Aviles took his place on the bases following a force out, stole 2nd and was then driven home by Santana.
However, there was one final twist at the end when two doubles and a single narrowed the gap to 7-5 with runners on the corners and only one out. Thank heaven for double plays, says I!
As for Cody Anderson? Advanced stats suggested that he was probably "due" a shocker, and he's certainly earned the right to at least a couple more starts. However, I still have absolutely no idea why Tito/Antonetti decided to leave a healthy starting pitcher on the shelf for 13 days over the All-Star break. Anderson’s first option was already being used in 2015. Why didn't the Tribe just send him down and let him get in a few innings in the minors to keep him ticking over? (At the same time freeing up a roster spot for someone like Sands or Holt to add RH hitting depth.)
Win Expectancy Chart
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