With the way the Cleveland Indians have been hitting recently, a 3-1 deficit early in the game didn’t exactly seem insurmountable. But when the Twins tacked on 4 more later in the game, it proved to be too much as the Twins beat the Indians 7-1.
Jason Kipnis is not the reason for this loss. He did have a bad error in the 6th inning that helped start the domino effect that led to 4 unearned Minnesota runs. And make no mistake, the error was completely avoidable. A Logan Morrison single got the inning started, and a slow-rolling ground ball off the bat of Robbie Grossman should have resulted in 2 outs and nobody on. Instead, Kipnis fumbled a ground ball that was hit almost directly to him and everyone was safe. Four runs would cross the plate before the inning ended thanks to a Ryan LaMarre single, a Brian Dozier double, and a passed ball. The Tribe made some noise in the 8th and 9th innings (they had 2 men on in each inning with fewer than 2 outs), but they couldn’t bring anyone home.
Bauer looked good basically the entire time he pitched. He struggled a bit in the third when he gave up a triple to Brian Dozier and a home run to Eddie Rosario. The triple was misplayed by Greg Allen in right field after it bounced off the high well and got past Allen on the rebound. A clean play probably holds Dozier to a double, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway since Rosario went deep on the next pitch. A pitch, mind you, that wasn’t even close to a strike:
Rosario turned on a pitch way inside and belted it to right field. Not a bad pitch by Bauer at all; just have to tip your cap to Rosario. Bauer ended his day with 5.2 innings and 11 strikeouts. He gave up 3 earned runs with the other 4 all coming after the error.
The Tribe offense, on the other hand, really couldn’t do much at all against Lance Lynn. Lynn came into this game with an ERA+ of 71, but you wouldn’t have known it based on his performance today. He had 7 base runners across his 6.0 innings of work thanks largely to the 5 walks he gave up. Oh, and he hit a batter. The Tribe had a tremendous opportunity to score in the third inning with the bases loaded, but Greg Allen hit a lazy fly ball to left field to end the inning. In Allen’s defense, he was responsible for the only run for Cleveland today when he alertly scampered home on a Jason Kipnis steal in the second inning. Otherwise, the offense took the day off.
The final positive note is the bullpen. Three arms, including newcomer Oliver Perez, went 2.1 innings of scoreless relief today. Maybe Perez was the missing piece this whole time and now the bullpen will be a force complimentary to an elite starting rotation. Or maybe they were facing the Twins. I don’t know.
Mike Clevinger takes the mound tomorrow against Kyle Gibson in the series finale with the hope of splitting this four game series. And it’s day baseball.