That’s one way to start this recap. Here’s another:
The defending American League champions lost its fourth consecutive game, and third in a row to one of the worst teams in baseball, 7-3.
If that’s not quite your cup of tea, consider this:
The Cleveland Indians blew another game and continued a disappointing start to the second half of its season after Trevor Bauer imploded and failed to finish the first inning.
I guess it’s a matter of perspective. From any vantage point, today’s game registers as another loss. The Indians own a four-game losing streak — it’s first in two years. The 2015-2017 Indians are one of only three teams in the history of baseball to last this long without dropping four in a row. After a game like today, I believe the correct response to that trivia is, “who cares?”
Detailed Analysis of Trevor Bauer
He really sucked today.
Bauer pitched two-thirds of an inning and walked more batters than he retired. He threw 43 pitches, of which only 24 were strikes. He had an opportunity to escape the inning multiple times and never could. Allowing four runs before the end of the first inning ended this game, for all intents and purposes. I know — it’s always possible in baseball for a team to mount a comeback throughout the course of eight more innings, but we’ve seen time and again this season that these Indians aren’t one of those teams.
For me, I don’t think Bauer has a lot of time left. It would be one thing if this was a level-headed rookie doing everything asked of him while being an excellent guy in the clubhouse. The problem is that he’s a veteran on this team, and there’s always been some intrigue surrounding his character. As Jason Lukehart said it earlier today:
You put up with Trevor Bauer carelessly injuring himself during the postseason and posting a 5.59 ERA because he's such a kind person.— Jason Lukehart (@JasonLukehart) July 16, 2017
In a piece for the Clevescene earlier this month, Jason Kipnis also said the following regarding Bauer’s statement in the off-season that all of his teammates voted for Trump: “‘I can reassure you I wasn't one of those guys. I have a soul,’ Kipnis says.” He continues later on Bauer, saying, “Not everyone's ready to know about Trevor the way we know Trevor. He's a special guy and it's taken years to earn his friendship."
I don’t want to go too in-depth on character, but this isn’t quite a ringing endorsement coming from the player that is usually pegged as the team chemistry and clubhouse leader. Taken with the way that everything else is going at the moment for Bauer, it’s time he starts performing the way in which he has shown he is capable. If he can’t, there’s a lot of teams that could use a good bullpen arm to chew up innings in lost games. It’s essentially what he forced all of his teammates to do today.
What about the Indians offense?
It really sucked today, when it mattered.
The Indians started three consecutive innings with leadoff doubles and then stranded the runners. They wasted a 4-4 performance from Francisco Lindor, who is showing signs of reversing a lengthy slump that has plagued him since before June. They went 1-11 with runners in scoring position today. I have long held the position that there is no such thing as clutch hitting; good clutch hitters are simply good hitters, and that is why their numbers are better in those situations. This team is really beginning to test my faith. They leave more players stranded in scoring position than any other team in baseball.
The lone RISP hit today was a 2-run RBI single for Michael Brantley. Thank you, Michael. The only other run came on a meaningless home run in the top of the 9th by Abraham Almonte.
If we can expect positive regression, I’d like to see if now, please. Run differentials suggest that we shouldn’t be all that worried, and that everything is going to be okay.
I have nothing else for today. I don’t want to dwell on today’s game any longer, and if the Indians are going to play at the caliber they’ve occasionally shown that they can, they cannot do it either. They cross the bay to face the Giants tomorrow, who are even worse than the Athletics.