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Indians recover from worst at-bat in baseball history to pummel Twins

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Never bunt. Never ever bunt when you have two strikes.

Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

There is a lot of good to talk about in tonight’s 8-1 beat down of the (for now) American League Central leading Minnesota Twins. And we’ll get to that. But before we do, I need to have a chat about Lonnie Chisenhall.

Come on, Lonnie.

Picture it: Minnesota, 2017. Twins starting pitcher Nik Turley already looks on the ropes after allowing three straight hits, Chisenhall is up to bat with runners on first and second and no outs.

Okay, cool. A pitcher who can’t throw anything right now, and a runner primed to score. Let’s do this. No reason to do something stupid like bunt just to step up Austin Jackson with an out.

Okay you tried to bunt and failed, no big deal, Lonnie, you’re only down 0-1. This pitcher still doesn’t look great. Knock him out early, let’s get to that bullpen.

Okay you went for the second bunt attempt. Bold, but not out of the ordinary if you’re into bunting. You clearly want this thing but it’s just not meant to be. It’s alright, man, sometimes we just can’t get what we want most, I know how bad you wanted this bunt but it’s time to move on.

Okay you just bunted with two strikes, fouled, and now you’re out. Pack your shit and leave, Lonald. The box score will forever read struck out swinging, but we know the truth. We know you went down doing anything but swinging. You bunted and hit yourself with the ball for an out. Christ.

Luckily, Terry Francona is either more patient than I am or called for the odd bunt attempt himself and didn’t feel the need to punish Lonnie, because he left him in the game and he’d be part of a heroic effort later on. Lonnie, as well as Yan Gomes, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jose Ramirez all played huge parts in this win.

For a moment, let’s focus on one hero in particular — Yan Gomes. Don’t worry, he didn’t try to bunt, too. But he may have given the Cleveland Indians some vintage #BatMagic when he miraculously avoided two bats in the on-deck circle. The game was tied when Gomes followed a pop-up from Brian Dozier to lead off the bottom of the first inning, but the Indians went to work immediately after, scoring the first run of the game in the top of the second. Then they just kept going, and going, and going. The fact that Gomes didn’t slip on the bat and snap his shoulder into a million pieces was exciting on its own, but let’s not rule out the idea that he may have just lifted some curse placed on the Indians.

If there was such a curse, it clearly hasn’t worked on Edwin Encarnacion. Over the last month he’s one of the league’s best hitters — third in the AL with a 177 wRC+ over the last 30 days. And that’s entering play today. After his towering 439 foot home run in the third, he has tied Aaron Judge’s home run mark over the last 30 days as well. He drew a walk as well, continuing what has been one of the few consistent bright spots over the past month.

Bradley Zimmer was needlessly benched against a left-handed pitcher again today. And while I’d love to complain about that for several paragraphs, I feel I went over my allotted complaining time with the Chisenhall bunt. So, instead, how about that Daniel Robertson arm? And those serial killer eyes?

Eddie Rosario was attempting to sneak to second on a fly out to deep left, but Robertson was having none of it. He instantly stepped and fired to second, getting the out and apparently causing the cameraman to seize up as he frantically searched for a shot of the Twins dugout.

Now, about those eyes.

That’s the look of a man who would chase you several blocks after he catches you tipping over his garbage cans. But as long as he keeps firing that rocket in left (and hopefully not keep taking away at-bats from the Indians’ top prospect), he can stare down the camera any day as far as I’m concerned.

Carlos Carrasco looked like his 2017 self, which is both a good and a bad thing. Good in that he was lights out for the first handful of innings, bad in that he probably would have been taken out in the sixth if the score were any closer. It’s not a new thing for Carrasco, either. In the past month, opponents have a .287 wOBA against him in the first three innings, and he’s allowed just six earned runs for an earned run average of 2.57. In the final six innings over the same month, opponents’ wOBA jumps to .314, and Carrasco’s earned run average slips to 6.75. All pitchers get worse deeper into games, of course, but Carrasco has just had trouble getting deep into games recently. Tonight especially, his control just got away from him in the latter innings of his 6.1-inning start.

But the Indians finally woke up. Whether it was the removal of a curse, a deep hatred of the baseballs in the state of Minnesota, or regression finally turning their way, the Indians might finally be back.

Game... blouses.