It’s currently 11:00 p.m. ET, and I’m starting this recap because we are in rain delay #3 and the end result isn’t going to change no matter how long MLB decides to make us wait. The Cleveland Indians got walloped by the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 7-0.
Everyone was waiting on this game. The Indians had just won their first series out of the break and they had scored close to 57 runs in two games. Add on the fact that Corey Kluber would be making his first start since his knee injection, and everyone was excited. Nervous and anxious, sure, but excited nonetheless.
Well Mother Nature decided “lol fuck you” and had rain delay #1 which pushed back the start time by almost an hour. Which actually, for me, worked out wonderfully because I got in my car to head home just as Kluber threw the first pitch. I settled in for what I hoped to be an exciting game.
That excitement turned to frustration just two innings into the game.
Corey Kluber looked good to start the game. A leadoff single by
future Indian Corey Dickerson was quickly erased with a double play and Kluber needed just eight pitches to get to the bottom half of the inning. The Indians did nothing at the plate (more on that later) and the Pirates came back to bat.
With one out and a man on first, Josh Bell hit a ground ball to Jason Kipnis that was an inning ending double play in some parallel universe slightly adjacent to our current one. But since we do not have the gift of interdimensional travel, we instead were left with Kipnis booting the ball and feeding it to Francisco Lindor late, making it so he was unable to turn the double play. This play wasn’t ruled an error because you can never expect a double play, but it was an error. I get that the rain had been off and on all day and the fielding conditions were probably sub-optimal, but the ball was hit right to Kipnis. Whatever. Two outs and a man on first, not the end of the world.
David Freese popped up on the infield to end the inning in another, slightly different parallel universe from the first parallel universe that is just adjacent to the first one but slightly less adjacent to our own...think of it as like three lines zooming out into space, always near each other but never quite touching. Similar yet different. They can glance at one another but can never interact or impact the oth-ah fuck it, Jose Ramirez and Yonder Alonso bonked into each other and the ball bounced out of Alonso’s glove and onto the rain soaked grass. With a fifth out added to the Pirates arsenal for the inning, Josh Harrison blasted a 3-run shot halfway up the bleachers in left to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead. Following the Josh Bell not double play, Kluber was forced to throw an additional 21 pitches and the Pirates made him pay. And he would’ve had to throw more had Melky Cabrera not momentarily gained the floating ability the Princess Toadstool had in Super Mario Bros. 2 and robbed Gregory Polanco of a hit to end the inning.
The defense really mucked up the second inning, but Corey Kluber struggled even without the shenanigans of his defense. His pitches had plenty of movement on them, but they were often getting left right over the heart of the plate. Ten base runners in 4.0 innings of work does not a quality start make. I have no idea what happened. Maybe Corey Kluber just needs to shake off the rust and he’ll be back in his next start and throw a CGSO. Or maybe his knee is still bothering him. If that is the case, the entire Cleveland medical staff should be fired. There is absolutely no reason for Corey Kluber to be pitching on a bum knee when the Indians have an 8.5 game lead in a garbage division. Andrew Miller has been out for something like three and a half years at this point, and the Indians still have an 8.5 game lead in a garbage division. Let Kluber rest and heal so he can pitch when it matters. The Indians are going to be in the postseason, but a healthy Kluber will help them go deep into the postseason.
Oh yeah, the offense. Uh, they existed I suppose. Melky Cabrera had the only Cleveland hit for the first four innings, so that was fun. A mini-threat in the fifth (Alonso walk, Kipnis single) was erased by Yan Gomes popping out on the first pitch of the at-bat and Tyler Naquin grounding out on the second pitch of his at-bat. The larger threat came in the sixth when Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez, and Yandy Diaz all reached to load the bases before Yonder Alonso struck out and Melky Cabrera grounded out to end the inning/rain shortened game.
The second rain delay came in the middle of Francisco Lindor’s at-bat in the third. He took a seat for about 20 minutes and then came back and flied out on the first pitch after the rain delay. The sixth inning ended and another half hour or so passed before the umpires decided trying to squeeze in three more innings of this game would be pointless and called it.
This game lasted only six innings and managed to be one of the most frustrating of the year. Shane Bieber looks to right the ship tomorrow against Joe Musgrove in the event Progressive Field isn’t completely submerged in water.