“West Coast road trip” is typically a groan-inducing phrase. Jet-lagged and with their fourth starter set to go against an Angels team hungry to secure a Wild Card spot, the Indians barely missed a beat. Mike Clevinger twirled another gem and despite some uncharacteristic messing about by the back end of the bullpen, this was a fairly routine win.
What went down
In the early goings, not a whole lot went down. Tyler Skaggs held Tribe bats at bay until Jay Bruce doubled in a run in the top of the 4th to break the scoreless tie. Roberto Perez stayed hot, putting the Tribe up 2-0 with an oppo dong in the 5th. It looked like that might be enough, because Clev was riding a no-hitter into the 5th.
Alas, because I’m destined to never see a no-hitter, Kole Calhoun singled to start things off for the Angels. Then things got a bit weird. Andrelton Simmons singled and advanced Calhoun to 3rd, but then Simmons TOOTBLAN’d himself into the first out of the inning. After walking Luis Valbuena, Clevinger struck out C.J. Cron and it looked like he might work out of the jam. But an unfortunate brain fart by Roberto Perez gifted the Angels their first run. Valbuena took off for 2nd on the two-strike pitch to Martin Maldanado. Calhoun lept off to a huge secondary lead and rather than hold the ball and give Clevinger a chance to K Maldanado, Perez threw down to 2nd. Valbuena was out, but Calhoun scored before the tag.
Indians bats were having none of that nonsense, as they struck back with a Yandy Diaz RBI single to get back to their two-run lead. Mike Clevinger departed after a clean 6th inning, making way for an 11-pitch 1-23 7th by Andrew Miller. It took Bryan Shaw to make things truly sphincter clenching. Shaw got two quick outs, but then gave up three singles in a row to put the Angels within one run. Pitching to Mike Trout with runners on the corners, Shaw managed to induce a 357 mph groundout to end the inning and the Angels’ threat.
Having had enough of the stress, the Indians and Angels conspired to put the game out of reach in the top of the 9th. Greg Allen reached and stole his first base of his MLB career. With two down, Francisco Lindor was intentionally walked, but Austin Jackson was having none of that. Jackson singled to right scoring Allen and advancing Lindor to 3rd. Jose Ramirez worked a walk after a gutsy at bat, bringing Edwin Ecarnacion to the plate with bases loaded. Last time Edwin faced the Angels with the bases loaded? This happened:
This time around was only slightly less eventful. Edwin quickly went down 0-2 after watching a meatball right down the pipe and hacking at a junkball in the dirt. He then put together what we insiders call a Professional At Bat. One foul ball fell just out of reach of Calhoun in RF. Another foul ball fell well within reach of C.J. Cron, but Cron just... did not catch it. That gave Eddie an opening. He worked the count full, then roped the 3-2 pitch into LF for a dagger of a two RBI single.
Cody Allen gave up a massive homer to Justin Upton to lead off the bottom of the 9th, but fortunately that was the end of the back-end bullpen adventures. Cody Allen in non-save situations, am I right?! And that was all she wrote... but I’m gonna write a bit more.
Bruce status: 3⁄4 loose
Jay Bruce had a chance for a natural cycle, having hit just his second triple of the season in the 6th inning thanks to a pathetic diving attempt by Calhoun on a liner to RF. Unfortunately, Bruce couldn’t quite get there, opting instead to strike out looking instead of hitting a homer in his last at bat.
The D giveth, the D taketh away
The Angels made several defensive miscues, but the Indians looked slick as ever with the leather. Giovanni Urshela initiated an unreal double play on Mike Trout in the 6th. Trout hit a weak grounder to 3rd, and Gio gloved, transferred, and fired an absolute seed to 2nd all in one motion. Trout is damn near impossible to double up, but Lindor made a great turn to get it done.
In addition to his first career SB, Greg Allen also made his first career web game. In an effort to get everyone off Mr. Cody’s wild ride, Greg made an incredible diving catch to rob Simmons and end the game
More thoughts on Mike Clevinger
I wasn’t able to catch the first few innings of the game, so I asked my wife to take some notes for me. This was her pre-game assessment of Clev:
- “Dirt person”
- “Chew and cherry blossom tattoo”
- “Neckbeard basement dwelling”
I think that sums things up quite nicely. What a game by our favourite dirt person!