Indians fall to 67-70
Tonight was Carlos Carrasco's first start in 18 days, and it showed. Entering the game on a strict pitch limit and after an hour long rain delay, Carrasco struggled early, giving up two longballs and departing far earlier than his pitch count would have dictated. The Indians couldn't solve Carlos Rodon and, by the time they made a bit of a comeback in the late innings, the game was already out of reach. In a game where the Indians were odds-on favorites, the result was a loss that they can't afford at this stage in the season.
Before I go too far, I have to apologize in advance for the brevity of this reap. I've come down with some sort of plague - which, I assure you, is decidedly *not* a case of Tribe fever - so I'm going to try to wrap things up quickly. Besides, anyone who missed this game should save themselves the despair of reading the recap, and anyone who watched it would be silly to want to relive it. But I digress...
When Carlos Carrasco shut down the Sox 1-2-3 in the 1st inning, it looked like he hadn't missed a beat during his DL stint. It didn't take long for thing to go downhill. He kicked off the 2nd inning with his second K of the game, but gave up back-to-back single to follow. That set the table for someone called Rob Brantly to crush a three-run bomb - his first hit of the season. Any hopes that the Brantly homer was an anomoly were shattered in the 3rd, when old friend Jose Abreu dominated a ball into the left field seats. Cookie, perhaps channelling the former headcase version of himself, followed Abru's homer with a walk, a K, a wild pitch, and another walk. That was all Tito and Mickey needed to see, and so Cookie was given the early hook. Various relievers would pitch the rest of the game with varying degrees of success, but the damage was already done.
Tribe hitters, meanwhile, set about wasting perfectly good opportunities to get to Carlos Rodon. The Indians alternated singles and strikeouts in the 2nd, but Michael Martinez reached on an error to load the bases with two outs. Jason Kipnis, who has been struggling of late, continued the struggle by grounding out to end the rally and the inning. The Tribe finally managed to push a run across in the 4th, but only the one despite Martinez' one-out double. Mike Aviles, who drove in Martinez with a single, actually had himself a decent game in Francisco Lindor's absence, going 3-5 with an RBI and a fantastic defensive play in the 8th. Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez touched up the Sox 'pen for the other three RBIs on late-inning two-run and solo homers, respectively, but the Tribe couldn't get to Rodon after the 4th. He went seven solid innings, striking out eight and scattering just five hits.
The Indians 'pen was a mixed bag. Giovanni Soto, Zach McAllister, and Gavin Floyd each threw a shutout inning (Soto went 1 and 1/3), but Ryan Webb and Austin Adams struggled. Adams narrowly avoided disaster in the 5th, giving up just one despite allowing two singles and a double before Kyle Crockett bailed him out. Webb, similarly, allowed two singles and a double, but the last single drove in two, and effectively put the nail in the coffin.
Aviles, despite his solid game, ended the game on a decidedly Aviles-like note: a check-swing grounder on the first pitch Sox reliever David Robinson threw. It was a fitting, gloomy end for a game that started with actual storm clouds. With every loss like this, the playoff hopes look slimmer and slimmer, particularly on a night where the Tribe could have gained som ground. On that note...
In the race for the second Wild Card spot, here's what went down tonight:
- The Indians lost a game in the standings to the Rangers, who beat the Mariners 8-6.
- The Angels lost to the Dodgers, but remain 1.5 up on the Tribe
- The Rays lost in 13 innings to the Tigers, so they remain .5 games behind the Indians
- The White Sox move into one game behind the Indians, 6.5 games back overall
Win Expectancy Chart
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