Our resident meister of the woods said it perfectly:
Smoked. Caught. Story of the game so far.
On a frigid day in Northeast Ohio, the Indians managed to hit several balls incredibly hard that, on another day, may have found gaps or even seats. But today was not that day. Today was the day where the Kansas City Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 1-0 because baseball decided to be stupid.
Before getting into all the doom and gloom of today’s contest, Trevor Bauer. Hooooooly crap was he incredible. He didn’t allow a base runner until the third (a walk to Drew Butera) and didn’t give up a hit until the fifth (a single to Alcides Escobar). In fact, the fifth inning was really the only trouble that Bauer had all game. After the single to Escobar, an errant throw by Roberto Perez on Escobar’s steal allowed him to move up another 90 feet to third base. Alex Gordon then proceeded to walk and steal second to put runners at second and third with two down. Drew Butera was up next and worked the count full before getting rung up on what was probably ball 4:
Shhhh, I won’t tell anyone if you won’t.
The one mistake that Bauer made all day was his pitch to Lucas Duda to start the seventh inning. A 91mph fastball sat right at the top of the zone over the heart of the plate and Duda sent it scorching into the right field seats. As Matt Underwood astutely pointed out “on a day like today, one run feels like ten runs”, and he was right. Bauer finished the seventh and even the eighth without incident, and if I’m being honest, he probably could’ve gone all nine. Weather be damned, Bauer was absolutely filthy today. His slider had incredible lateral movement, his curveball had some of the snappiest drop I’ve ever seen, and his fastball complimented both nicely to help him strike out seven batters while allowing just three hits. Somewhere in the locker room, Corey Kluber is patting Bauer on the back while a single tear rolls down his cheek: “I know buddy...I know”.
Being a writer for Let’s Go Tribe, I am contractually obligated to talk about all aspects of the team even after games like this when the offense was stuck somewhere between awful and non-existent. Credit to Ian Kennedy for keeping the Indians off balance all game; he was just as dominant as Bauer, just not as efficient with his pitch count. His 8 Ks are the most he’s had in a single game since April 16, 2017 when he had 10. Every starter struck out at least once today except for Lonnie Chisenhall. That’s good, right? Wrong, he didn’t even make it to the plate today:
As I mentioned up above, there were some hard hit balls from Cleveland bats today, they mainly just went right at Royal defenders. What few opportunities the Tribe did have were quickly snuffed out. In both the sixth and the seventh inning, the Indians got a runner to third base and could not bring him home. Lindor doubled off the wall in right and stole third in the sixth inning; Jason Kipnis and Jose Ramirez then both struck out and Michael Brantley flied out to center field. In the seventh, Rajai Davis singled and then stole second and took third on a bad throw by Butera, and Roberto Perez even walked to put the go-ahead run on the bases. Bradley Zimmer then roped the first pitch he saw directly into the glove of Cheslor Cuthbert.
Tyler Olson came into the ninth inning and made quick work of the Royals, collecting a pair of strikeouts along the way. This was encouraging since they were, by definition, high leverage pitches and he succeeded. Unfortunately, Kelvin Herrera basically did the same thing in the bottom half of the inning to end the game.
Matt Underwood said something about this being the worst stretch of offense to start the season in franchise history, and I can agree. It’s only eight games and the temperature was literally freezing today in Cleveland, so I have no doubt that things will get better. With that being said, the offense is collectively struggling right now and are, for the most part, not supporting decent to stellar pitching. Hopefully the arms stay hot as the bats come out of their slumber in the coming weeks and months.
Jason Hammel takes on Mike Clevinger tomorrow in the day game rubber match at 1:10 p.m. ET. I’m pretty sure it’s still supposed to be a frozen wasteland, so only time will tell if the bats will fare any better than they did today.