You might think that throwing the ball to first base would be as easy as counting to ten for a professional baseball player. That isn’t always the case.
In game one of this week’s series, two throwing errors by the San Francisco Giants grew into three runs for the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe snapped a four-game losing streak with tonight’s 5-3 victory. Josh Tomlin earned win number six on the season with seven and one-third solid innings. Led by eight hits from the infielders, the Indians offense did just enough to finish the game in nine and hand Giants’ starter Matt Moore loss number ten.
In 2015, Tomlin earned a reputation for stepping in after an Indians loss and grinding out a win. Despite a tumultuous season to date, it appears that vestiges of that grit still exist. Tomlin challenged San Francisco in the zone all night — 52 of his 79 pitches went for strikes. In typical Tomlin fashion, some of those pitches ended up getting stroked.
In the bottom of the third, a Gorkys Hernandez hit caromed into the corner of left field. Michael Brantley scooped and fired to Francisco Lindor, who snapped the relay home in time. What looked like a fantastic play at the plate by the Indians defense turned into the Giants’ first run of the game after review. Yan Gomes missed on the tag. Tomlin allowed a single to pitcher Matt Moore in the next at-bat, scoring Hernandez.
In the fourth, Tomlin allowed a 410 foot double to Brandon Crawford, which scored another run. Fortunately, these would be the only runs allowed by the Tribe on the night. Tomlin retired the final nine pitchers that he faced before turning it over to Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. They did the job just fine, preserving a quality start and Tomlin’s 6th win.
Moving from the mound to the plate, we need to discuss a very strange night. Three of the Indians runs were scored because of errors committed by the Giants.
Something terrible happened to Matt Moore in the 5th inning. Bradley Zimmer tapped a ball toward the mound. Moore gloved it and tossed it toward first. He did not toss it to first, because in this case it sailed ten feet over the head of Jae Gyun Hwang. If Moore suffers from the yips on throws to first some day in the future, I think we’ll all know exactly what caused it.
This error allowed the Indians to capitalize and add to the run provided by a Gomes solo shot. Giovanny Urshela came around to score on this play after reaching on a double. In the next at-bat, Lindor chopped a single to center that allowed Zimmer to cruise home for another.
In the next inning, Jose Ramirez led off with a double. Then, Brandon Guyer squared up at the last second on a pitch, intending to bunt for a single. I actually love this decision. If he doesn’t fool the GIants enough to beat the throw, he still moves the runner. He also forces the Giants to, you know, field the ball. They did not do that particularly well tonight. This time Jae Gyun Hwang missed the target at first, allowing Ramirez to motor home from second. The score stood 4-3 at this point, and the Indians would not relinquish the lead.
Tonight’s boots by the Giants allowed the Indians to march home for easy runs, but several Cleveland hitters also kicked it into high gear tonight. Frankie went 3-5 tonight, and both of his RBI came with two out. Two games is too short a streak to bring to one’s attention, but 7-for-9 since Sunday is too good to not mention. Meanwhile, Urshela knocked in two base hits, coming around to score on each occasion. He also made on of the strangest and best plays I’ve ever seen by a third baseman. Matt Moore tried to lay down a sac bunt in the fifth. Tomlin trotted forward to scoop it and make the easy play at first, but little did he know that Urshela sprinted forward from the moment Moore squared. Urshela barehanded the ball and threw across his body to second from the first-base side of the mound. Lindor turned it for two, and Tomlin cajoled Denard Span into a lineout to eliminate the threat entirely.
More games like this from Giovanny Urshela would give the Indians some wonderful problems to solve.
Additional Tribe Notebits of Tid
- This section is taking the night off, just like the Giant’s fielding fundamentals.
The Indians and Giants square off again tomorrow night at the same bad time. Mike Clevinger and Ty Blach are the probable starters.