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Pyramid power no match for bad Cleveland Indians decision making

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The crowd enjoyed a lot of $2 beer tonight, but it is the Indians who will regret their decisions in the morning.

McNeil (@Reflog_18)

Indians 4, Orioles 6

Box Score

Indians fall to


Coming into tonight's series opener against the Baltimore Orioles, a few things were guaranteed to be true: The Orioles would hit fastballs, Zach McAllister would throw fastballs, and someone would build a four-foot beer can pyramid in right field. Somehow, Terry Francona did not know -- or did not believe -- one of the first two would come true because he put Zach McAllister in the game in a crucial moment.

Stepping back a moment, Trevor Bauer did not have a great start, either. He started things off with a bases-loaded situation in the first inning but was able to hold it to just three total runs thanks to two strikeouts and a fly out to end the inning. The rest of his outing was filled with bloop hits and hard hit balls; he seemed to be aiming for the barrel of Baltimore bats.

The first couple innings had a handful of balls slip by a running Francisco Lindor, which is something we do not see often. I look forward to see the FanGraphs scouting reports tomorrow and how they judge the passed balls, whether they were considered routine or extremely difficult. Unlike the years we spent watching Asdrubal Cabrera be short on balls three feet to his left, these did look like they were out of normal human range, so maybe Lindor will not get dinged too much.

Luckily, Trevor Bauer was able to calm down for the rest of his start. I still would not call the showing as a whole "good," simply because of how much contact Orioles batters were making. According to Brook's Baseball, only 54 of Bauer's 103 pitches were fastballs -- either two-seamers or four-seamers. He also threw 14 changeups and, most importantly, 20 curveballs. Unfortunately, Bauer was just not drawing a lot of swinging strikes with his curveball, something that should happen against such an over-aggressive offense like the Orioles. His curve induced two whiffs, to be exact.

Bad start or good start, no matter what Trevor Bauer did he left the game with the Indians in a position to win it. This is a team averaging 5.5 runs per game coming into tonight, so overcoming a three-run deficit should be easy, in theory. In practice, it was. They were able to do just that and tie the game with an RBI double from Juan Uribe, a solo home run from Mike Napoli, and a sacrifice fly from Francisco Lindor.

And then the wheels fell off. Or, more accurately, the bus exploded and the children all were lucky enough to fall into lava before they got home to watch the DVR'd game.

Getting back to the original point in the first paragraph, Zach McAllister was put into this game for reasons unknown to mankind. It was a terrible decision on Francona's part. Jordan Bastian dug up the exact numbers in-game: Coming into tonight's contest, the Orioles were batting .312 against four-sea fastballs -- good for second in the American League. Meanwhile, McAllister throws 82.6 percent four-seam fastballs. The common man might think this means it would be a bad idea to bring in ZMac. Terry Francona is no common man.

Instead, McAllister was brought in to start the seventh inning and -- surprise! -- he got shelled. Manny Machado started things off with a double, then Chris Davis scored him with a double of his own. Then, just to drive the point home, Mark Trumbo belted a home run to score another two runs and put the Tribe down, 6-3. Lindor would add another run in the eighth with a solo home run, but it was not enough.

A bullpen collapse is one thing, but that was far from the Indians' only problem tonight. The Tribe offense had the bases load twice tonight, including once with no outs, and they came out with one run. Total. That cannot happen against any pitcher, let alone Mike Wright.

Once we were past Lindor's home run, watching the eighth inning was particularly excruciating. Mike Napoli walked and Jose Ramirez doubled, putting the tieing run at second base with no outs. Juan Uribe did what Juan Uribe does and struck out. Lonnie Chisenhall then was intentionally walked, then Chris Gimenez came up to bat. Why, you ask? Why as the team's backup catcher hitting in the most crucial moment of a big series opening game? I'unno.

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Lost in the shuffle of the Tribe blowing a win was the fact that Jose Ramirez went 4-or-4 on the night -- the only Indians hitter with a multi-hit game. And he is still the Angry Hamster, damnit.

* * *

This game was rough to watch. There was just enough optimism to keep you invested, but continual mistakes kept the Tribe from pulling ahead. The one good takeaway from tonight was the crowd. Just from watching on TV and following on Twitter, they looked big, loud, and fun. I just hope a heart-wrenching game like this does not suddenly deter fans from going to more Indians games because it was great to watch a game and not hear the humming of a vending machine in the background for once.

If you could not tell by the main image, some fans actually built a giant pyramid out of beer cans, although they were eventually forced to take it down.

Also, there was a rally leg. It was a weird night.