Indians improve to 32-24
The Cleveland Indians defeated the Seattle Mariners 3-1 tonight behind the stellar pitching of Trevor Bauer.
Bauer did not waste any time setting the tone for the night. He retired the first eight batters by pounding the strike zone to induce six groundouts and two foul pop outs. Then, his command wavered, and the balls started to leak up in the zone and out over the plate. The damage stayed minimal: he allowed only one run on two hits. After this escape, he returned in the bottom of the fourth and struck out the next two batters. It's interesting to think back to the passage in The Arm where Bauer and his father ask Kyle Boddy if he can teach command. If Bauer ever manages to master it, he'll be unstoppable.
I think part of the joy in watching Bauer is just that: I never know what to expect during an at-bat. Sometimes his pitches resemble pokémon that are a few levels too high for their trainer; powerful, dangerous, but prone to betrayal. Tonight, with the exception of that small blip in the third, Bauer completely controlled the game with his curveball. As a setup or a strikeout pitch, he never seemed to miss the mark. He cut down seven on strikes in innings 4-6, and the curveball finished the job four times. When it didn't, the fastball blew past because hitters expected the curve. Bauer finished the night with 7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 ER, 10 SO.
For the Mariners, James Paxton put together a solid outing. I'd never seen or heard of him before before, so I was a bit shocked to see him touch 100 mph on the gun pretty consistently. Randy Johnson clones usually draw a fair amount of attention. Tonight, he only made a few bad pitches but most came in a cluster during the third inning. Carlos Santana singled, Jose Ramirez doubled down the line, and Mike Sarbaugh waved Santana home. This aggressive play on the basepath immediately paid off. Chris Iannetta dropped the ball, which the official scorer ruled an error. Most importantly, Ramirez moved to third on the drop, then scored when Uribe flied out to right field. Two hits, two runs, and two great decisions on the basepaths paid off. The only other run for the Indians came on a solo shot by Rajai Davis.
After a long weekend against the Royals with explosive bats, I'm perfectly content with a three run effort by the bats. I'm a little less enthused by Napoli's four strikeouts. He's been mashing the last couple of weeks, but tonight he earned his fourth golden sombrero. It is his tenth game with three more strikeouts. Yes, I expect many more occasions to tweet #MFN #PartyAtNapolis, but many mexican hat dances are inevitable along the way.
A minor detail before I fall asleep: hitters for both teams struck out 27 times tonight, but walked only twice.
Top Tweets from Indians Twitter
uhhh... pic.twitter.com/sOVUKznHBl— August Fagerstrom (@AugustFG_) June 7, 2016
Innings 1-3 = 0 Bauer strikeouts— michael bode (@mgbode_WFNY) June 7, 2016
4-6 = 7 (9 total outs)
Flip done got switched and I like it.
Inning 7: Twitter is like a bar. The regulars are slowly filing out. Those who remain may question their decision in the morning.— Anthony DiPiero (@AnthonyDiPiero7) June 7, 2016