The Cleveland Indians dropped the final game of opening weekend against the Minnesota Twins by a final score of 9-3. Carlos Carrasco earned the loss after surrendering six runs on ten hits in fewer than five innings. Michael Pineda pitched four innings of shutout baseball in his first start since the middle of 2017, setting the stage for Martin Perez to earn the win out of the bullpen.
How did things go awry?
The Twins opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning on a Willians Astudillo double to left center. Leonys Martin nearly made an excellent play, but his lunge for the catch came up just short. The ball hopped to the wall and allowed the first run of the game to score.
They jumped to a 3-0 lead after another Astudillo double hopped the wall to put runners on second and third. Both of these came around to score on a scorched Byron Buxton double down the left field line.
Nelson Cruz added one in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run no-doubt bomb to left. Another run scored off of Neil Ramirez when Jonathan Schoop singled in a run later in the inning. Yet more runs scored when Carlos Santana cut-off a throw on a sacrifice fly and attempted to nail Cruz at third base, but he lobbed it over Jose Ramirez’s head instead.
It was not a good inning.
The final run of the game came off of Shane Bieber after he plunked Astudillo and gave up two hits. He pitched two innings of relief, because apparently you can’t just bump Kluber’s start back and let Bieber actually have a normal start.
Did anything good happen?
In the top of the 8th inning, the Indians finally got something going. Eric Stamets drew a walk with one out, followed by a strikeout by Max Moroff. With two outs, Jose Ramirez and Jake Bauers singled to road the bases. Santana ripped a bases-clearing double to left, putting three runs on the board for the Indians and cutting the deficit to five. Hanley Ramirez struck out looking to end the inning, along with all of the excitement for Indians fans.
Despite his earlier miscues, Santana finished the game 4-4 (one of these should have been an error, and he got thrown out anyway) with 3 RBIs. It wasn’t all bad for the Indians offense overall, as the rest of the team contributed two additional hits and six walks.
The Indians struck out 13 times for the third consecutive game. The Indians offense isn’t going to be this cold forever, and Francisco Lindor will be back eventually. That doesn’t make it any more exciting at the moment, however.
What happened to Carrasco?
Carrasco struggled with command today, but not the way we usually assume when someone mentions command issues. Rather than walking a bunch of hitters, his pitches floated back over the center of the strike zone. Kevin Plawecki consistently set targets in the corners, and when Carrasco hit them he looked like the top-tier talent we’ve grown accustomed to. To bad the Twins’ lineup features too many quality hitters to get away with mistakes over the center of the plate.
What’s next for the Cleveland Indians?
The Tribe heads home and face the Chciago White Sox at 4:10 PM. The odd time is due to a Monday Night Baseball quadruple-header, starting with St. Louis @ Pittsburgh at 1:00 PM, then featuring the Tribe-White Sox matchup, the Cubs @ the Braves, and finally the Giants @ the Dodgers. Mike Clevinger will take the mound and face off against Ivan Nova.