All of the Cleveland Indians best-struck baseballs curled foul or found webbing in tonight’s series opener in Toronto. Despite a brief and bizarre rally in the eighth, the runs surrendered by Trevor Bauer proved insurmountable in the 4-2 loss. The Indians fall to 17-14 on the season.
I’m not kidding about the all of the best hits being erased for the Indians today. Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor both drove balls deep in the eighth, just foul. Meanwhile, four balls-in-play by the rest of the team typically result in a hit more than 50% of the time.
One catch by Kevin Pillar encapsulate the entire evening for the Tribe.
An ambivalent opinion
I don’t think Trevor Bauer pitched terribly tonight. The problem is, when you put in the context of the rest of his starts this season —
|2017-05-01||CLE||@DET||1||0||1||0||0||4||23||7||7||7||1||5||3||6.75||11.25||2.25||0.429||47.2 %||35.7 %||16.7 %||15.75||8.5||7.73||15|
|2017-04-26||CLE||HOU||1||1||0||0||0||6||25||6||4||4||2||2||8||12||3||3||0.308||76.9 %||66.7 %||40.0 %||6||5.66||2.71||43|
|2017-04-20||CLE||@MIN||1||1||0||0||0||6.1||25||3||2||2||0||3||7||9.95||4.26||0||0.2||66.7 %||21.4 %||0.0 %||2.84||2.21||4.56||66|
|2017-04-14||CLE||DET||1||0||1||0||0||5||25||8||6||6||2||2||6||10.8||3.6||3.6||0.4||55.6 %||29.4 %||40.0 %||10.8||7||3.46||25|
|2017-04-08||CLE||@ARI||1||0||1||0||0||5.2||23||7||4||4||1||0||7||11.12||0||1.59||0.4||53.6 %||43.8 %||20.0 %||6.35||2.82||1.99||48|
— it becomes difficult to let him off the hook. Also worth noting is that he threw 125 pitches tonight to get through six innings. The Blue Jays cajoled another home run out of Bauer, while conjuring three walks. ERA isn’t the best metric, but no one sitting above 7 after six starts is doing so hot. Whether or not you think Bauer pitched an effective game, you must admire its utter lack of efficiency. “Inefficient” and “Inconsistent” are two tags that will only grow harder for Bauer to shake the longer he flounders like this.
There is plenty of time for Bauer to turn the season around, but for his sake I hope it happens soon. Until then — or at least until I figure out whether I want to defend his season as a slow start, or join the Choir of Old Men in Recliners and call for action against him — can I please stop recapping his starts?
In the top of the eighth, Roberto Perez led off with a walk and moved to third after Carlos Santana doubled. Lindor nearly went yard in his next at-bat — the ball just went foul — then he smoked a single to right field. Perez scored, then Lindor got stuck in a rundown. He motioned for Santana to go home while he dodged his way around the Blue Jays infield. Santana broke for home and scored while Lindor made an out returning to first.
JUST KIDDING. Devon Travis just nipped Lindor after throwing the ball to second. The umpires awarded Lindor second base as a result, citing interference. The umpire said that Travis made contact, and so I must defer to his superior vision. John Gibbons refused to do the same and earned himself an ejection while the umpires sorted out the ruling.
The game lay within reach, then. Kipnis responded by tapping the first pitch to first base. Encarnacion battled deep into his at-bat, eventually striking out on a slider fourteen postal codes away from the strike zone. Jose Ramirez put a charge into a ball, but again, it hooked foul in the same part of the park as Lindor’s. He worked the count full, then swung at a pitch fourteen postal codes in the other direction. Inning over.
Nothing really happened after that. Zach McAllister finished mopping up, and the Indians went in order in the top of the ninth. I believe the official scorer actually ruled the last three outs as a triple play because of how quickly they happened.
Other items of note:
- Commenters in the game thread used the words “bad”, “garbage”, “sigh”, “ugh”, various forms of “suck”, and “hate” three or more times. “Blunders” emerged only twice, with “confounding” and “incompetence” making a single appearance. We’re a surprisingly clean bunch, by the way. If there was ever a game to go blue, this was it. I counted fewer than a half-dozen honest-to-god curses. Shucks, y’all.
- Santana might finally be heating up. Tonight, he slugged two doubles after slapping three balls past fielders yesterday. He is 7-13 in his last three games. Sure, here is a relevant XKCD, but’s it’s a welcome sign.
- The Indians went 1-12 today with runners in scoring position and are now on the Mendoza line for the season: .200. Doesn’t it make you want to grab a pair of scissor and stab yourself in the skull, bruising the muscle, jamming the skull through the brain and tearing the brain?
- The exchange rate did not work in Yandy Diaz’s favor, as he looked lost at the plate for much of the day outside of one full-count walk. Meanwhile, Recovering Jason Kipnis continues make everyone sad; he went 0-4 today.
- All of the best posts from social media tonight are either too violent or too crude to share on a family blog. We’re a family blog, right?
Carlos Carrasco and Mike Bolsinger battle tomorrow in the second game of the series.