Indians fall to 22-19
Mike Clevinger was always toeing a harrowing line between being blown out and working his way out of his own jams in today's start, the second of his career. In four of the innings that Clevinger pitched in he was able to do the latter and keep the game in range for the Indians, but it was the few times where he could not work his way out of a bad situation that sunk him, and the Indians, in Game 1 of today's doubleheader.
The killing blow today came in the fifth inning when Brett Lawrie killed a fastball that could not have been placed more perfectly in the center of the plate if Clevinger was putting it there on purpose. Clevinger had a similar pitch in the first inning that Todd Frazier predictably placed over the left field wall to open the scoring for the White Sox. Lawrie's three-run blast in the fifth inning obviously hurt more, but Frazier's home run was a sign of things to come for Frazier.
A bad situation almost developed in the sixth inning, when reliever Dan Otero was struggling to get anyone out. But, with two men on base, Adam Eaton was feeling generous and he decided to bunt instead of swing the best bat on the White Sox. So, thanks for that.
I have not been able to dig into actual pitch data yet, but anecdotally, it looked like Clevinger was still having issues finding the outside edge of the plate against left-handed hitters. His big 12-6 curveball, in particular, was not finding the spot it needed to, which often resulted in Clevinger being behind in the count. That is not to say his breaking stuff was bad tonight. Quite the opposite, in fact. A good number of curveballs looked spectacular and fooled batters into bad swings, Jose Abreu in particular.
At the end of the day, Clevinger's line looks bad -- 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO -- but there was a lot of good mixed in there to still have us excited about the future.
On the subject of things to look forward to in the future: Mike Napoli. Maybe not the distant future like Mike Clevinger, but Napoli finally gave the Indians some hope for the near future after an atrocious series against the Boston Red Sox in which he struck out eight straight times at one point. Nap started his day with a leadoff home run in the second inning then walked later in the game. The good news is he only struck out once.
Similarly, Michael Martinez (a guy you probably forgot existed until you read it just now) added a pair of doubles on the day, the first he does such a thing his career. He also looked fine starting in center field from what I can tell, and he is not the one who let a ball fall out of his glove for what would have been an easy out. *cough* Rajai Davis *cough*.
The Indians attempted a comeback late in the form of a two-run home run from Jose Ramirez, but by then the rest of the offense had already gone into the clubhouse to eat some snacks and wait for Game 2 to start.
Oh, by the way, we get to do this all over again in a few minutes.