As I left my place to head to dinner, the Indians had just taken a 5-4 lead thanks to a Jason Kipnis single. By the time I arrived to the restaurant, the lead had been extended to 7-4 thanks to a Brandon Guyer single. As we were finishing dinner, my phone buzzed and I saw that the game was now tied 8-8 in the bottom of the ninth. When I turned on the radio on my drive home, Zach McAllister was in the process of giving up 3 straight hits in the tenth inning, so I resigned myself to having to write a disappointing recap when I arrived back to my place.
Luckily, this recap takes a different turn.
Trevor Bauer has a rough night
Trevor Bauer was not good tonight. The Cy Young contender made his first start after a phenomenal first half of the season and ended up being removed after not recording an out in the fifth inning. Velocity looked good for Bauer for the majority of the evening as he was still hitting 95 mph on his fastball in the at-bat against Robinson Chirinos in the fifth (his final batter of the game). Bauer’s control was the issue tonight. He gave up a season high five walks coupled with nine hits for a total of 14 base runners in 4.0+ innings. And Bauer wasn’t consistently missing, either. He was missing either out of the zone, leading to the free passes, or in the zone and leaving pitches for the Texas hitters to mash.
The second inning was an absolute nightmare for Bauer; back to back walks followed by three straight singles allowed the Rangers to tie the game after the Indians had scored three in the top half of the inning. Bauer couldn’t execute a clean inning, and his pitch count began to climb. After three straight hitters reached to lead off the fifth and a successful Rangers challenge eventually led to a fourth run scoring, Tito went to his ‘pen. Oliver Perez came in and sat the next three hitters down to limit the damage for the time being.
The Cleveland offense comes alive
When everything is clicking, the Indians have a ferocious offense. This was on display tonight from early on and kept the Indians in the game until they eventually won it in extras. Yandy Diaz proved that he understands that hitting the ball into the ground is not a great strategy as evidenced by his four hits (including a triple) and two RBIs on the night. The #FreeYandy movement has been revived, and I can only assume that Matt Schlichting is somewhere in a drunken stupor of victory. Jason Kipnis (who my mom is now referring to as “her boy” when she texts me about him. I don’t know if I should feel jealous or angry) continued to play like one of the best second basemen in baseball with two hits of his own, both of which gave the Indians the lead at two different points in the game. Even Brandon Guyer got in on the action with a sharp single in the seventh to extend the Tribe lead.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Jose Ramirez. It’s so, so incredible the way that he’s blossomed from a fringe utility player to a legitimate MVP candidate. My dad just started following the team again this season after years of not really having a vested interest, and he absolutely loves watching Ramirez play. And for good reason. Jose Ramirez launched his league leading (yes, as in he’s the only one in baseball) 30th home run in the sixth inning to tie the game. And when Cleveland needed him most, he led off the eleventh inning with a double to center field that put him in a position to later score the game winning run. We’re incredibly lucky to have Jose Ramirez on this team.
The bullpen had a night
There was a lot of excitement heading into today’s game thanks to the addition of Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to the bullpen. Thanks to the short outing by Bauer and extra innings, both got a chance to make their Cleveland debut this evening. Hand came in in the seventh with a 7-5 lead and gave up a home run to the first batter he faced (Joey Gallo). He did get the next three batters he faced out, so it wasn’t all bad, but still not the best first impression. Cimber looked like he would also have a rough outing thanks to giving up a single to Elvis Andrus as soon as he entered the game, but a double play grounder by Adrian Beltre got him out of the inning unscathed.
Cody Allen, my dude. What’s going on? Allen entered the ninth with an 8-6 lead and got the first two batters out on six pitches. But he couldn’t finish the game. Back to back home runs by Robinson Chirinos and Joey Gallo tied the game. A single and a walk then put the game in dangerous territory, but luckily Willie Calhoun popped out to send the game into extras.
Zach McAllister came in the tenth, and I assumed this was Tito’s way of waving the white flag. And it almost was. Six pitches into the inning and the bases were loaded with no outs thanks to three straight singles. But somehow, miraculously, McAllister wiggled out of the inning thanks to a stellar defensive stop at third by Jose Ramirez and two strikeouts of Chirinos and Gallo. I’m not sure what the universe is telling me when Zach McAllister strikes out the two hitters that took Cody Allen deep.
The Tribe’s final relief pitcher, Dan Otero, came in the eleventh inning with a lead and took just seven pitches to end the game. Baseball is weird.
Tomorrow, Carlos Carrasco looks to give the bullpen a rest as he faces off against Bartolo Colon.