All the Cleveland Indians had to do was score five runs against Kyle Gibson and his 6.56 season earned run average. All Indians fans had to do was not to the wave at the most crucial moment and ruin everything with bad mojo. Neither went the way it was supposed to.
Corey Kluber’s day goes down as a no-decision, but deep down you should know it to be a win. A rough first inning, in which two runs scored off two hits, looks bad on the box score. But in reality, the inning was set up by two awful errors. First, Carlos Santana got a little jumpy on a ball that wasn’t really that far off from the arm of Jason Kipnis. That runner, Brian Dozier, who should have been an easy out instead scored on a Robbie Grossman double two batters later. And in the next at-bat, Yan Gomes made a rare mistake with a throw to third that short hopped Jose Ramirez, allowing another run to score.
The defense wasn’t horrible all game, though. In fact, it got quite nice, like when Francisco Lindor did a very Francisco Lindor thing to prevent a leadoff runner in the sixth:
Because of the first-inning errors, Kluber was not tagged with any earned runs. And because he absolutely turned on his best stuff from then out, he finished the outing with a season-high 13 strikeouts, two walks, and no runs off three hits. The bottom third of the Minnesota Twins lineup was decimated, even with the versatile (???) Chris Gimenez playing left field (???) and batting seventh. Gimeinez, Jason Castro, and Byron Buxton combined to go 0-for-9 with seven strikeouts.
Not only was this another double-digit strikeout game for Kluber this season, his fifth, but it was the third in a row. The franchise record, as noted by several people on Twitter the second Kluber hit 10, was set by Bob Feller a couple years ago:
For 2nd time in his career, Kluber has 10+ K in three straight outings. Bob Feller holds club record with 4 in a row (9/23/38-4/21/39).— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 24, 2017
Assuming a normal rotation, Kluber’s next start will come against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field next Thursday. Entering play today, the Rangers have the third-highest strikeout rate in the American League at 24.1 percent. You might want to tune in to that game.
The Indians actually outhit the Twins, 7-4, and drew five walks, but they just couldn’t get anyone home. Even Jose Ramirez “choked” with runners on first and second — twice. In total, the Indians were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and they stranded nine runners.
Even with all that, even with a dead offense doing nothing after allowing runs to score with their poor defense in the first inning, the Tribe came clawing back. The one time Ramirez lifted the ball was with no one base, when he hit a solo home run in the fourth, putting the Indians down, 1-2, at the time. That was The Angry Hamster’s 12th home run, setting a new career mark for a season in only 296 plate appearances.
After a few innings of dead sadness, the Indians struck again with Yan Gomes scoring on a throwing error. It took three hits, an error, and a couple of awful at-bats, but the Indians managed to score two runs against the vaunted Twins pitching staff. With the game tied, Cody Allen took the mound and things got... worse.
A sell-out crowd of knuckleheads decided in the most crucial point of the game, with their closer on the mound and the opponents best hitter up to bat, the wave needed to be unleashed. Twitter noticed immediately and rightly denounced anyone partaking in the ritual. You should all be ashamed.
"The wave" is the worst thing to happen to sporting events. I blame the Twins last HR on that. @Indians— Nick (@NW_Rosing) June 24, 2017
I'm here. It was the wave's fault.— Edwin's Parrot (@gkula13) June 24, 2017
I'm so mad about the wave— some broad (@BrutalStephanie) June 24, 2017
I'd also like to point out that people were doing the wave when Dozier hit that. The wave deserves partial blame for that.— Stephanie Liscio (@stephanieliscio) June 24, 2017
And then there’s Joe, the hero we all need:
And a HR follows. I blame the wave. I actively did not participate— Joe Gerberry (@THEGerbs) June 24, 2017
Did the wave distract Allen on the mound? Did the wave just anger the baseball Gods and force them to intervene on the Twins’ behalf? I’m leaning towards the latter, honestly, because the wave is awful. If you ever think of doing it, please don’t. Think of the children. Be above the influence.
The Twins piled on in the top of the ninth off Zach McAllister, because of course they did. Byron Buxton robbed a potential scoring hit in the bottom of the ninth, because of course he did. The Indians are now on a losing streak and will look to avoid getting swept by the Twins tomorrow afternoon.