The Cleveland Indians followed up its season-opening sweep of the Texas Rangers with a sweeping of its own by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Throughout the afternoon players struggled with runners in scoring position. Several lead-off hitters reached base only to languish on the basepaths, never coming around to score. At the very end, the Indians nearly stole the game — one they had no business winning — but a long drive from Carlos Santana died on the warning track.
Through four, Kluber looked fantastic. His two-seamer snuck over the plate, and his breaking ball darted off of it late. He ran into a little bit of trouble in the bottom of the fourth. Two consecutive two-out to Santana in right field moved a man into scoring position. Santana, for his part, made a fantastic throw on the second, ensuring that Jake Lamb wouldn’t reach third base. The lack of extra base ended up not mattering; Daniel Descalso stayed down on a pitch outside and shot it just past a diving Francisco Lindor.
Next, the Diamondbacks called for a double steal, but Yan Gomes threw it away down the third base line, allowing another run in. These accounted for the 20th and 21st runs that the Diamondbacks have scored with two outs already this season.
To the Indians credit, they avoided a third-straight game with a total meltdown and got out of the inning. The gap would prove too wide to close, though it is not for a lack of chances.
Consider the top of the seventh inning, which is presented here as an image:
Three times — THREE — play paused to allow instant replay review. Although, if you believe everything you hear, one of these delays was actually a “rule clarification”. If we’re being fair, the entire half inning — all thirty minutes of it — would be improved with Benny Hill theme song playing under it.
Yandy Diaz singled to start it off, and then Yan Gomes drew what felt like an eighteen-pitch walk, during which Diaz stole second. Austin Jackson grounded into a fielder’s choice... or so it seemed. The Diamondbacks tried to turn two, but threw wide to first, allowing Diaz to score.
After replay, it was ruled that the defender never touched / came close enough / to second base (I don’t even know what’s going on with the neighborhood rule now). The umps reset, with runners on first and second, nobody out, Indians down two. Then, Michael Martinez bunted the runners over... and was ruled safe! Or was he?! And hey, wasn’t Abraham Almonte on-deck before? Why did Martinez even get to hit? The Rangers then
challenged rule-clarified and the umps determined...something that meant he was out.
The Indians social media team couldn’t quite keep up either, so don’t feel bad.
Us trying to figure out that sequence in the seventh: pic.twitter.com/uDuSHClzpi— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 9, 2017
So, with one out and two runners in scoring position, Carlos Santana stepped up to the plate. he popped out. Francisco Lindor grounded out immediately after. I believe at this point in the game the Indians had gone 0-7 with runners in scoring position.
All was (somehow) not lost for the Tribe. After two combined shutout innings from Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, the leadoff man reached base again for the Indians, this time on an error. Almonte — batting for real this time — punched an RBI single, putting the Indians within one. On the very next pitch, Santana launched a shot to deep right field, awayyyyyy back, and caught. On the warning track.
Lindor struck out swinging and the game ended.
If you feel discouraged, don’t worry; it doesn’t appear that anyone in Cleveland media paid attention anyway:
A couple of short observations:
- Yan Gomes had an interesting day today. In four at-bats, he watched 21 total pitches and drew two walks, scoring a run. Evidently he’s taking a page out of Roberto Perez’s book and wants to hit .012/.435/.012. The encouraging thing is that he stayed patient at the plate and battled. All too often the past two seasons I’ve seen Gomes hack a first pitch fastball directly at an infielder.
- Kluber pitched well, and only got into trouble with the help of an error. I don’t think it’s time to claim that the days of only 1-2 Indians runs happening in his start are back, but hopefully the bats can support him next time out.
- The Diamondbacks will either enjoy a healthy dose of regression soon, or they’re going to score 1,200 runs.
Bad takes from Indians social media
Indians lost. Cavs lost. Sergio won. Worst sports day ever.— Landon Grim (@LandonGrim) April 9, 2017
And then, some delightful shade thrown at the Cavaliers:
Clearly the Indians are just bored, waiting for the playoffs to flip the switch.— T.J. Zuppe (@TJZuppe) April 9, 2017
The Indians are off tomorrow, then host the Chicago White Sox for the 2017 Home Opener. If you’re there, I encourage you to write a fanpost a day or so after to talk about the experience! I haven’t been to a home opener since the Indians and Blue Jays decided to go 17 innings in 2012, so I’d like to live vicariously through you.
All of you.
/vanishes into the night