Indians improve to 67-69, move ahead of Tampa Bay
First, a mea culpa:
I'm stupid. You're smart. I was wrong. You were right. You're the best. I'm the worst. You're very good-looking. I'm not attractive.
Despite my pre-game belief that the Indians couldn't beat the White Sox without their two best hitters (numbers 9 and 12, respectively in the AL in wRC+), Cleveland still managed to walk away from today's game victorious, without Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis in the starting lineup. That's why they pay you the big bucks, Tito.
If I told you that Cleveland's starter would allow only 2 hits and strike out 6 over the span of 7 innings, you might think that was a well pitched game. Instead, if I told you that Cleveland's starter walked 5 batters including walking the bases loaded on 12 straight pitches to open the 2nd inning, you might think that the wheels fell off quickly and fantastically. But, if I were to tell you that both of those things were true, you would come to the only logical conclusion: Trevor Bauer pitched today for the Cleveland Indians.
Bauer nearly never made it out of the 2nd inning and the STO crew believed he wouldn't have been allowed to go one more batter if hadn't escaped. He opened the 2nd inning walking three straight White Sox batters on 12 pitches. He was visibly frustrated and perhaps even a little bewildered. After a visit to the mound from Calloway, Bauer allowed an RBI fielder's choice, a sac fly and another walk. Now down 2-0, it looked like one more straw on Bauer's back and he might break. Instead, he would strike out
Skeletor Alexei Ramirez to escape the inning. Bauer would go on to throw 5 more innings (7 in total) without walking another batter nor giving up another run. The amazing thing was that, to that point, he still had a no-hitter going! He worked around an Avisail Garcia triple in the 3rd as well as leadoff single from Garcia in the 6th. He may not have looked good early, but he managed to make the most out of what was nearly a very abrupt outing.
Meanwhile, the Indians hitters tried their best to solve the Chris Sale riddle. Through the first three innings, Sale had only allowed one baserunner, a walk to Ryan Raburn. As it turns out, that walk was probably a good idea. In the 4th innings, Mike Aviles (starting in place of Jason Kipnis because I'm an idiot and Tito is a level 10 voodoo master) led off with a solo home run to left. One batter later, Raburn would follow with a solo shot of his own to center, tying the ball game. It remained tied until Raburn came to the plate again in the 6th and launched a long home run to left and giving the Indians the 3-2 lead.
Bryan Shaw came on to work and 1-2-3 8th inning, paving the way for Cody Allen. After retiring the first two batters, Allen gave up a single on a weak liner to Trayce Thompson. After a wild pitch put Thompson on 2nd, Geovany Soto hitter a grounder up the middle that threatened to find a hole but, instead, found the glove of Francisco Lindor who made a nice throw to first to end the game.
For those scoreboard watching, Tampa Bay lost to the Tigers putting the Indians a half game in front of them, Texas plays Seattle at 6:40 (Go Mariners!), Minnesota plays KC at 8:10 (ugh, Go Royals...) and the Angels play the Dodgers at 9:06 (Go Dodgers).
Win Expectancy Chart
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