Indians fall (?!?!) to 49-31
WHAT A TERRIBLE CALL IN THE BOTTOM OF THE JKDNFGKJNDFKLGNJZKXDFGNX EIGHTH, HE WAS OUT! THE DGFKLNJLKDIFGJ BLUE JAYS WON ON A STUPID CALL, THIS GAME IS TERRIBLE, I'M NEVER WATCHING BASEBALL AGAIN KHNFUIKJZFDBNGIKZSNDFLKJNZF CONGRATS ON THE CYCLE, RAJAI KLDJHNFIOZDNGFJIKNDZFKJGN WAY TO GET THE PICK AT FIRST, SANTANA BUT AT LEAST YOU HIT A NICE DINGER JKDSFJKLZNS;KJFGNokdnbgJ;IKbjg"fNsd"FKNksjNFJKZSDNFKLZXDNFJKZSNDFJKBZDFJGZNFD JGN THE PARTY HAS BEEN JKFHKJLSDHFKJJ CANCELLED
We now return to your regularly scheduled recap
Yesterday, the Cleveland Indians made history by setting a new franchise record for most consecutive wins with their 14th straight victory. To get that 14th win, however, the Tribe ran through virtually every pitcher imaginable in the 19-inning marathon. Like all those nights you had in college with your buddies out on the town, the Tribe decided that they would throw caution to the wind and deal with the consequences of their actions the following morning. Well, today's hangover came in the form of the Toronto Blue Jays, a very dangerous lineup, going against a completely depleted bullpen for the entirety of today's game. I can't say I expected to win today given that the scheduled starting pitcher, Trevor Bauer, was called upon last night to throw five innings, thus forcing the Indians to start a bullpen arm in today's contest.
The game started off in a promising fashion, however. Rajai Davis (more on him in a bit) led off the game, and he worked a full count off of Blue Jays' starter Marco Estrada before turning on a fastball over the plate and depositing it into the LF stands to give the Tribe a very early 1-0 lead. It looked like the win streak would continue because the Indians, as they've done so many times over the past few weeks, would play from in front. Unfortunately, Estrada settled in and struck out the next three Tribe batters. His changeup, in particular, was working extremely well throughout the afternoon.
The Tribe starter (or, more specifically, the pitcher who started the game for the Tribe) did not fare as well as Estrada. Zach McAllister was starting in his first game since April of 2015, and today's performance showed exactly why McAllister is not fit to be a starting pitcher. He had no secondary pitch to pair with his fastball, and his fastball couldn't find the strikezone at all. In the first inning, McAllister walked 2 batters, hit another, and gave up a mammoth 3 run home run to Edwin Encarnacion. He did manage to (somehow) get two strikeouts in the inning, but at the conclusion of the 1st, the Blue Jays had a 3-1 lead on the Tribe, and McAllister's day was done. Because of last night's game, it was imperative that whoever started for the Indians give the team a few innings to relieve some of the stress on an extremely taxed bullpen; McAllister did the opposite of this.
The Tribe offense, on the other hand, continued to chip away at the lead in the third inning when Rajai Davis (more on him in a bit) hit a triple to right field and scored Naquin from 1B. Ezequiel Carrera made a diving attempt on Davis' hit, but the ball skipped under his glove and rolled almost to the wall, giving Naquin enough time to round the bases and bring the Tribe to within 1. In the next inning, Lando Slamtana took his 18th trip to Cloud City with an absolute bullet to RF. I'm not sure how Santana managed to get a hold of the pitch he hit deep:
Whatever Santana did, he needs to sit down and teach Mike Napoli how to replicate that success; had Napoli been up to the plate, this would have been a swinging strike. Instead, Santana made it a 3-3 game.
Sadly, Santana giveth and Santana taketh away. In the bottom of the fifth, with two outs, Russell Martin hit a routine ground ball to 3B that should have ended the inning. Uribe made a running throw that could have been better, but the throw wasn't horrible. Santana pulled his glove back slightly when he tried to make the pick, and the ball hit the heel of his glove and dropped out, extending the inning. The next batter, Troy Tulowitzki, made the Tribe pay by launching a 2-run HR and giving the Blue Jays a 5-3 lead.
This is the point in the game where things got a little weird and, ultimately, led to a frustrating defeat. Estrada, thanks to striking out 7 Indians, was lifted after throwing 96 pitches. Joe Biagini entered in relief, and he almost ruined everything for Toronto. The inning started with a Jason Kipnis strikeout...but instead of trotting back to the dugout, Kipnis sprinted to 1B due to a passed ball on a swinging third strike. Ramirez would then single and Santana would walk, loading up the bases. With two outs, Juan Uribe stepped to the plate. I expected nothing of value to come from this at-bat, but Uribe put up a good fight and worked a full count. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, a ball ran inside and hit Uribe on the hand, bringing home a run. Uribe would leave the game after this half inning, which brought Francisco Lindor into the game at SS (Ramirez slid over to 3B).
Fast forward to the next inning. Chris Gimenez scorched a ball to LF, but it was caught by Michael Saunders. Rajai Davis (more on him in a bit) hit a double to CF to put the tying run in scoring position. Jason Kipnis had another hard hit ball, but it was caught by Kevin Pillar. Again with two outs, the Tribe bats came through. Jose Ramirez continued his incredible hitting with RISP and drove Davis in on a single to CF to tie the game. As Mike Napoli walked up to the plate, I turned to my girlfriend and said that he could be forgiven for all of the terrible baseball he had played up to this point in the game if he crushed a home run right here. And I thought he did. On the first pitch of the AB, he launched a bomb to LCF that, had there been a bit of a breeze or had just a bit more on it, would have cleared the fence. Instead, Napoli settled for an RBI double to give the Tribe a 6-5 lead. Unfortunately, that would be it for the Tribe in terms of scoring for the rest of the game.
Full disclosure: today was the opening of The Habit near my apartment, so my girlfriend and I snuck out after the previous half inning to grab some lunch. Of course, as I parked and pulled out my phone to check the game, I saw that Josh Donaldson, on the first pitch from Dan Otero, hit what I assume was a destructive bomb to some part of the outfield. *checks video* dear lord. It was murdered. I walked back into my apartment (I left the game on while I was away) just as Matt Underwood was losing his mind because of Naquin's throw to nab Carrera at the plate. The Blue Jays challenged, and we waited...and waited...and waited. After many replays and even more analysis, the headsets came off and the call was overturned. Safe at the plate. Blue Jays lead. Now, I may be wrong, but my understanding of the replay rules are that there has to be sufficient evidence on replay review to overturn a call. After many different angles of slowed down and zoomed in frames of video, the best I (and many on the internet) could deduce was that it was too close to go either way. Because there wasn't enough definitive evidence, the call should have stood. Even the official Indians Twitter agreed:
That's a bad call.— That was fun. (@Indians) July 2, 2016
Naquin's laser from center gets Carrera, but the call is overturned on review.
Wow. 7-6 Jays.
Following the botched call, Michael Saunders hit a double to LF to score two more, which would be enough to end the magical win streak at 14.
However, today's game wasn't all bad. I've said we'd talk more about him throughout this entire recap, so it's time to really give major congratulations to Rajai Davis. In the top of the ninth, Davis hit a single to right field, which made him the first Cleveland Indians' player since Travis Hafner in 2003 to hit for the cycle. In a couple of videos I've done for LGT this season, I've said that I believe that Rajai Davis will give us adequate production before having a huge drop off in production due to his age and his particular skillset (speed, primarily). Well, it's July 2nd, and I've been 100% wrong about Davis. In addition to the cycle, Davis got another stolen base, which brings his season total to 22. Whatever you want to pin today's loss on, Rajai Davis should be excluded.
We all knew that the Indians would eventually lose another baseball game. And today's game, given the circumstances, looked like a prime candidate to be the game that ended the streak. But hey, going 14-1 over the last 15 games isn't too bad either. And with Corey Kluber on the mound tomorrow, the Indians have a great shot at taking the series from Toronto and heading home on Monday with an incredible 9-1 record on this road trip. Tomorrow's game is another 1:07 PM ET start. Enjoy the long weekend, everyone!