Sometimes weird games are painful to watch, and sometimes Trevor Bauer still strikes out 11 and the Cleveland Indians win.
Tonight was an example of the latter, as neither team exactly brought their “A” game to Cleveland. Even Trevor Bauer, who looked dominant through most of his 6.1-inning effort, hit a pair of batters and had to struggle out of a bases-loaded situation to start the game. He did end up striking out 11 and walking only two, though, so you can’t ask for much more out of any pitcher.
Bauer worked his usual wide array of pitches. His killer 12-6 curveball was especially on point tonight as it worked for seven called strikes and five swings and misses. What little contact the Tigers were able to make against Bauer was ridiculously weak — only one ball was hit over 100 miles per hour (JaCoby Jones’ 101.2 mile-per-hour single. The next closest was a Dixon Machado single that was hit a little over 89 miles per hour.
Bauer ran into some trouble in the second inning, though, when Jones scored on a wild pitch. He responded by striking out two of the next three batters, however, and he shut the Tigers out of his final four innings of work.
Meanwhile the Indians pounded the recently activated Francisco Liriano. Like Bauer, Liriano struggled in the first inning. But unlike Bauer, he wasn’t able to work out of his own mess (with a little help from the poor Tigers defense) as he allowed a run to score on a Jose Ramirez single and Edwin Encarnacion scored by kneeing the ball out of catcher James McCann’s hand with two outs.
Outside of that big first inning, the Indians offense didn’t do a whole lot. The only other run outside of the first came off the bat of Francisco Lindor, but it wasn’t even on purpose. Lindor admitted to Andre Knot, humorously, that he was just trying to foul off an inside pitch but it accidentally went 380 feet into the bleachers. I’d love to do anything by accident that well.
Enjoy seeing these GIFs (hopefully in a higher definition) used everywhere on a Twitter timeline near you.
About the only thing that worked well for the Indians from start to finish was the bullpen. Oliver Perez, Neil Ramirez, and Cody Allen combined to throw 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball. They struck out five of the nine batters they faced and the only baserunner was on via a walk. Allen was able to rack up his 16th save of the season.
This was a silly-ass game that ended with the Indians opening a seven-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central and I wholeheartedly thank the bullpen for making the last few innings so boring. All is right in the baseball world.