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Hats off to the Tribe offense for scoring fifteen runs and avoiding a sweep in Oakland

In the time it took to write this recap three more doubles happened.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians’ Offense

If only someone had checked behind the hot water heater for all of the bats earlier in the series. The Tribe recorded eighteen nineteen twenty hits this afternoon. Nine Ten Eleven of these were doubles. Two were home runs. One was nearly both and ended up being neither due to some baserunning confusion. It felt cathartic after a weekend of anemic hitting, and frustrating to see “all of the runs happen at once” again. I’m not worried about it; there is no such thing as a team that only scores in bunches of half a dozen or not at all. Still, you wish they could distribute the run differential a little more evenly.

Lindor led the way at the plate with three hits, four runs, two walks, and a no-doubt home run. He also doubled twice, as did Jose Ramirez, Yonder Alonso, and Lonnie Chisenhall. They all recorded two RBI along with Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Brantley. Jason Kipnis and Yan Gomes got in on the fun with a run and a hit each.

That leaves Rajai Davis as the only Indians starter unable to join the hit club. That’s fine. He did plenty of work this afternoon.

Rajai Davis’s defense

In his first run with the Cleveland Indians, I once gave Rajai Davis a difficult time for flubbing a couple of catches on a Sunday afternoon. He lost them in the sun, kind of flinched, and then scooped them off of the ground. These mistakes contributed to a frustrating start for Corey Kluber, who at the time struggled to catch a break as much as Rajai struggled to catch fly balls that day.

We all know that Rajai turned out to be a competent defender as expected, but I feel like this game in his second Indians tenure fully exorcised the demons from that long-ago game. In the bottom of the third Jed Lowrie hit a low line drive toward center. Rajai took off when the bat cracked. The ball fell to the earth at the exact moment Rajai tucked his glove underneath it, then tossed the ball in to double off Mark Canha. The catch ended what might have been a dangerous inning, as runners would likely have been on the corners with one out otherwise. The flyout had a 63% hit probability, but NOT ON RAJAI’S WATCH.

Not content to make just one excellent play, Rajai made another in the bottom of the sixth. He ranged deep into left center and gloved it on the run, preventing a double by Matt Olsen. This one had a hit probability of “only” 39%, and the eye test agrees with its less-spectacular nature.

Mike Clevinger’s start

Still, both these outs — and a diving catch from Lonnie Chisenhall — helped to stabilize another erratic start by Mike Clevinger. Is the issue that his stuff wasn’t very good today? No. If you disagree with me, please refer to the below.

At the end of it all he still posted a perfectly acceptable line and gave the Indians a chance to win the game. He allowed eight hits, two walks, three runs, and struck out five in six innings of work. That is solid pitching. I think it speaks volume about the organization and Clevinger in particular that he came away from it feeling disappointed, and I’m writing a recap that calls a quality start erratic and a little meh. Clevinger has all of the physical tools to become an elite starter; his attitude toward today’s game makes me believe that the mental game is there, too.

One other fun Clevinger fact that I didn’t know: apparently he skateboarded professionally before signing on as a pitcher. On the STO broadcast today Underwood and Manning showed a decent understanding of the sport while debating whether or not the footwork involved in skateboarding helps to explain the quality of his move to first and what the hell has this sentence become I’m just going to bail on it now and move to the next section of the recap.

Tribe Other Note of Tidbits Items

  • Speaking of spectacular catches, Kevin Pillar made a sensational play in Toronto today. Per Mike Wilner he’s the only Blue Jay to rob a home run in CF at the Rogers Centre; he and Rajai Davis are the only two to have done it at all prior, both in LF.
  • The Indians sent 13 men to the plate in the eighth inning. Because baseball is baseball even when it is The Baseball, the first ten men all reached base safely before the last three recorded outs.
  • Rick Manning both claimed to intuitively know what a barreled ball was by sight alone, then asked was a barreled ball was as he’d never heard of the term.
  • Jensen Lewis said that Lindor, Brantley, Ramirez represents the hardest three outs in baseball right now, and by god, I agree with the man on something.

Tomorrow the Cleveland Indians take on the Kansas City Royals. I hope that they can recover from celebrating today’s win by all chugging suicides during team drinks at the concession stand.