Indians advance to 58-65
Despite the Cleveland Indians best efforts to give this game away, the Tribe came out on top over the New York Yankees, 4-3. The score was close, but there was a time when the game could have easily been as wide as a 6-1 lead had that pesky runners-in-scoring-position thing not creeped up on the Indians batters yet again.
Another factor in the Tribe’s favor was Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia leaving the game after only two and two-thirds innings with what was later revealed to be knee pain. The injury was not obvious at first -- as he did not even clutch anything, but just sort of walked off the mound -- but he left from the game to have an MRI on the knee at a nearby hospital.
Prior to Sabathia's departure, the Indians offense looked hot early, and it only took four batters in the first inning for them to get on the board. Carlos Santana’s two-run shot knocked home Mike Aviles and gave the Tribe a lead they would hold until the seventh inning. Also worth noting, this was Santana’s first home run batting as a right-hander on the year. He is also now tied with Brandon Moss for the team lead in home runs on the season with 15.
In that span of time between the home run and the Yankees tying it at 3-3 in the seventh, however, the Indians had many opportunities to put the game away but they failed to do much of anything.
Yankee pitchers issued 10 walks on the day, but Tribe batters failed to punish them for the most part. The walks hurt New York the most in a bizarre fifth inning that resulted in the Indians drawing another walk with the bases loaded to score a run.
In the fifth, Mike Aviles reached first on an error from Chase Headley (although it should have been assigned to Greg Bird), but was later thrown out on an ill-advised run home for an attempted score. Yankee reliever Nick Rumbelow intentionally walked the pinch-hitting Jason Kipnis. Following that, Branden Pinder not-so-intentionally walked Yan Gomes to load the bases, then he walked Abraham Almonte to score a run and put the Tribe up 3-2.
After that mouthful of a fifth inning, bats were mostly silent until the seventh when Carlos Beltran scored Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury on a ground rule double. It is impossible to know what was going through Brantley’s mind, but it appears he easily could have caught the ball if he had dove to catch it. My first thought was that his back was still causing him issues, but it also looks like he might have been hoping to catch it off the bounce, but it flew right over his head instead.
And finally, that brings us to the play that prompted this recap’s title. Francisco Lindor found himself in an infuriating-to-watch scenario, where he was preparing to bunt with a runner on first. Luckily, Jose Ramirez got himself thrown out at second, which freed up Lindor to hit (you know, that thing he is really good at doing?). He wound up hitting the go-ahead home run that won the game for Cleveland. Just imagine for a moment that he did bunt. Things could have gone differently, of course, but if Lindor bunted that would have left Ramirez on second with one out. Behind Lindor, Aviles and Brantley both promptly struck out.
I do not know how many more times Terry Francona has to watch Lindor be one of the best hitters on the team before he stops calling for bunts every single time a runner is on first, but enough is enough. Just…
Trevor Bauer had a relatively quiet outing on the mound, at least by his standards. Like Yankee pitchers, he allowed quite a few walks (6), but he spread the damage out over six and one-third innings and allowed only one run. His inside stuff was working well today, and when he missed his spots, nothing was overly hittable.
One of the more encouraging things was seeing Bauer walk a batter then get immediately frustrated and kick the dirt in the fifth inning. The Trevor Bauer that we have seen over his last three starts would probably have imploded from that point on, but August 23 Trevor Bauer kept his cool and worked through the rest of the inning.
Despite some shakiness from Bryan Shaw in allowing that tying ground rule double from Beltran, the bullpen did well enough to lock the game down in the final three innings. Cody Allen got his league-leading sixth save with four or more outs and the Tribe gets to travel to Chicago for one game to face the Chicago Cubs with smiling faces.
Win Expectancy Chart
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