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Cleveland Indians lucky they did not lose by 20 to Red Sox

A game that single-handedly increased the league-wide pace of play by almost an hour.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Indians 2, Red Sox 5

Box Score

Indians fall to 22-19

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If MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wants shorter baseball games, I hope he was not watching the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox playing today. The game lasted well over three hours, and all the play clocks or skipped intentional walks in the world could not have saved it from dragging on for a lazy afternoon stroll.

Danny Salazar took up a lot of time himself in only the first two innings, looking very reminiscent of his 2014 self (which is not a good thing if you were wondering). A lot of balls missed the zone entirely, he drove up the count on almost every batter, and by the time the second frame was done he was already over 40 pitches.

David Ortiz batted a run home twice in those first two innings, and he also added a home run later in the fifth and a pair of doubles. Salazar mentioned prior to the game that he was disappointed he was unable to face Ortiz and the Red Sox in the first series of the season due to a rainout, but I bet he does not feel the same way now. Ortiz finished the day just a triple shy of the cycle.

Unlike the Danny Salazar of old, however, this finely-bearded fellow was able to keep things under control through his five long innings of work. I have to think that, if this was 2014, Salazar would have given up at least six runs through the first couple innings, let alone get everything under control to keep the Tribe within striking distance through the fifth.

Salazar even did all this after taking an 114 mph baseball off the foot early on. I was unable to walk for a few minutes after just watching that happen, but Salazar managed to pitch against really big baseball players for another half hour.

Jason Kipnis played a big part in the Indians keeping it close with a big single in the second inning that scored Francisco Lindor and Juan Uribe to tie the game at two runs apiece. But, of course, for all the good Kipnis did in this game, the rest of the offense negated it. Mike Napoli, in particular, had another horrid game for himself, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. That now makes it 10-straight games with a strikeout for Napoli, including a streak of eight-straight plate appearences with a strikeout that was mercifcully snapped with an eighth-inning lineout.

As a team, the Indians were just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and they left eight runners stranded on base. Granted, they are not playing the Cincinnati Reds anymore, but any professional offense should be able to do better against Rick Porcello and this Red Sox bullpen.

The one bright spot this afternoon was Juan Uribe, who finally had a good game after a series of rough outings. He was 2-for-3 on the day with a walk and one of the shortest, fastest ground-rule doubles you will ever see. The bullpen also did a fine job of limiting the Red Sox offense to just four hits and one earned run over the final 3.2 innings.

All told, this game was long, it was boring, and it made me dislike David Ortiz even more, but it could have been so much worse. As it is, the Indians can still take the American League Central lead again the Chicago White Sox over the next four days.