In the fifth inning of the game, he opened the scoring with a majestic home run to right field in his homeland. As Sports Illustrated evidently had the express written consent of Major League Baseball to tweet a video of the moment, I encourage everyone to view it in all of its glory before it is closely examined.
The perfect homecoming moment for Francisco Lindor— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 18, 2018
The atmosphere of this game is unlike anything I’ve seen or heard in the regular season. It lands somewhere between the World Baseball Classic and the Waste Management Open for me. I mean, look at this crowd. LOOK AT IT.
The only time I’ve seen Progressive Field get this rowdy in the last year or so is when Lindor hit the grand slam off of the foul pole in the playoffs. Mind you, it got that way after the home run. This is the crowd in Puerto Rico for your standard two-out, full-count pitch. I’m not even mad that this dude on the right is wearing a Red Sox shirt. He’s having more fun in this one frame than Rob Manfred, killer of GIFs and other interesting free advertising for the game of baseball, has had his entire life.
Mistakes of the office of Major League Baseball notwithstanding, the FS1 broadcast did a fantastic job by showing Lindor’s family getting into the game. And yes, before you ask, Mama Lindor is wore a t-shirt with the emoji version of her son’s face on it.
Also, note the man who is not nearly as excited as the rest of Puerto Rico is. Is he annoyed that these terrible people in front of him have the audacity to stand up at a baseball game?! Is he frustrated that his brother still hasn’t come back with two beers and brats? Maybe we’re over thinking things here, and he’s just a Russian spy. We’ll check in on our friend in a moment.
In the next moment, Lindor turns on the curveball from Odorizzi, which is not in a very good spot. Do I give him credit for uncorking a full count curveball? Yeah, that takes some guts. But leaving it up over the middle of the plate isn’t going to fool anybody. It’s probably the opposite of what he meant to do. Here are the first few pitches of the at-bat.
With no PitchFX at the park, we have no definitive answers as to what these were. Also, I cannot go back and review the broadcast because I don’t get cable at the moment and all of the illegal streams I had to resort to in order to provide this free baseball analysis are down and the office of Major League Baseball decided to blackout the game for everyone everywhere on MLBTV because ahahahaha why would you want as wide an audience as possible to see the game you’ve been hyping all season and also showcases the incredible philanthropic efforts of both teams throughout the week I can’t think of a reason at all nope nope nope.
What we can see is Odorizzi just missing his spots against a patient Lindor. Odorizzi tends to be most effective when working a high fastball in conjunction with a low curveball, where the pitches look as similar as long as possible before the effect of each magnifies, one dying and the other “rising”. I seem to recall at least two of these high pitches being fastballs, though was the final curveball Lindor hit an effective, low offering?
Against a weaker hitter on a less-meaningful stage, he might get away with a pitch like this. Not against one of the best-hitting infielders in all of baseball. Not last night.
Robbie Grossman makes a halfway decent attempt to rob Lindor of his moment, and it’s probably good that he didn’t. I think it is a guarantee that a few dozen of those pink thunder clappers would have rained down upon him had he stolen the moment. Fortunately for everyone involved, he rag dolled against the wall as Lindor continued his trot around the bases.
How excited was his family?
Enthused. AND SO IS OUR TOTALLY-NOT-SPY IN THE RED HAT. Whew. Glad to see he’s at least a real baseball fan if also possibly wearing a wire.
We then get to one of my favorite pastimes in recent baseball history: watching Lindor celebrate with his teammates while entering the dugout after a home run. There’s an interesting moment in this one, though, and before I bring it up I want to see if anyone else catches it.
I’m sure that Tito is excited, but he share a handshake and a quick nod with Frankie like the shortstop just hit a fine pitching wedge, really quite nice, below the pin and even odds for a par now.... and then right into a wonderful handshake with Yonder Alonso. As a sidenote, has anyone else noticed how immediately and completely Alonso fits in with this team? Watching how they react and play with each other makes me feel like he’s been on the team for five seasons already.
The Indians weren’t done mashing with the Lindor shot. Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley both homered in the next inning, and then Alonso joined the party with one of his own. In fact, our own Jason Lukehart came up with an interesting idea as a result of the long balls.
Sorry Cleveland, but all these home runs mean we're going to have to move the Indians to Puerto Rico.— Jason Lukehart (@JasonLukehart) April 18, 2018
If it means the Indians score 1,000 runs and win a World Series this season, I’m all for it, 20-game ticket package be damned.
Another thing I’m completely in favor of? Reaction shots of the Lindors every time Francisco hits one out of the park.
Make it happen, commissioner, and drop the banhammer on anyone who wants them to apologize.