Indians advance to 6-5
Let me preface the following rant by saying that this was a pretty strong overall win. That said, I'm a bit of a pessimist at heart so I want to get the negatives out of the way before celebrating tonight's Tribe victory. In a game highlighted by another solid performance from Carlos Carrasco and another defensive showcase by Francisco Lindor, the Adventures of Bryan Shaw once again came dangerously close to derailing an Indians win.
Bryan Shaw has been bad this year. Like, really bad, to the tune of 9 ER over his previous 3.1 innings of work. Logic would dictate, then, that you probably don't want him facing the heart of the order in the 8th inning of a close game even against an only mildly threatening opponent. Doubly so if you have Cody Allen, master of the multi-inning save, ready in the bullpen on a few days' rest. So what exactly was Terry Francona thinking bring Shaw in to face Seth Smith, Robinson Cano, and Nelson Cruz with the Tribe clinging to a 3-1 lead?
The 8th was touch-and-go for the beleaguered righty. After coaxing Smith into a groundout, Cano roped a double down the left field line. Cruz then got into one, crushing a fly ball to the corner in deep right field which was saved only by Colin Cowgill's first positive contribution to the team. Cano advanced to 3rd and Tito doubled down on his decision to leave Shaw in again lefty Kyle Seager, who had already singled and homered earlier. Joke's on us, I guess, as Shaw K'd Seager to end the inning and delight the underpants off Matt Underwood ("BRYAN SHAW WITH A SCORELESS INNING!!!).
So what gives? Does Tito have some kind of Wedge-ian "Circle Of Trust" thing going on with Shaw? Or is he simply giving him copious amounts of rope to hang himself with before cutting bait? Either way, I suppose we should move on. It's April baseball, don't ya know.
On the bright side, Carlos Carrasco turned in another quality start. He didn't strike out as many as you might expect these days, but extended his streak of games with 5+ K's to 21 (just slightly behind Clayton Kershaw's 59). Cookie looked dominant through five innings, but started to show signs of fatigue in the 6th. With two down, he served up a hanging changeup to Kyle Seager, who did what Kyle Seager does with hanging changeups. He worked through the inning and was eventually pulled with one out in the 7th, having exceeded 100 pitches and just having given up a double. The Attach picked him up nicely, and despite both Shaw's and Cody Allen's shakiness, Cookie notched the W.
Carlos pitched most of the game with the benefit of a decent lead, but the cushion could have been bigger. Up 1-0 already and with bases loaded and one out in the 4th, the Indians only managed to push across two more runs thanks to Wade Miley being entirely incapable of throwing a strike without an umpire assist. The Indians offense did nothing else of note the rest of the night, but it was just enough thanks mostly to Carrasco shutting down the M's.
Cookie didn't do it alone, though. He had a little help from the best Tribe shortstop since Lou Boudreau, who did this:
I'd say that was a Jeter-esque play, but Frankie actually showed some ability to range to his right. That wasn't the only great play he made, and he also contributed three hits and a walk on the offensive side. This kid just continues to impress day in and day out. I can't remember the last time I had this much fun watching an Indians player!
In the grand scheme of things, this was a solid all-around game. I probably nitpicked the Shaw decision a bit too much, but maybe it'll serve as a wake-up call for Tito. But at the very least, it's good to get these kinds of outings out of the way in the midst of a winning effort.
Win Expectancy Chart
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