Mike Clevinger did everything that can be asked of a starter to help the Indians win today’s game. For a while it didn’t look like enough, but sometimes crazy things happen and sometimes the Indians win 5-3 and make an entire city smile.
Praise for Mike Clevinger before things go completely off of the rails in this recap
The Indians needed another stellar performance from a starting pitcher and Mike Clevinger delivered.
In seven innings of shutout work he struck out twelve (a career high) and walked three, surrendering only a single hit. Throughout the afternoon he relied on his fastball, throwing it 61 percent of the time and touching 97 miles per hour on the radar. Clevinger (and Trevor Bauer, for that matter) spoke of Clevinger’s uptick in velocity over the offseason and into spring training, but it wasn’t yet known if it would a) be there, and b) actually be effective. Well, of his 20 swinging and 19 called strikes, 12 and 11 came from the fastball, respectively.
Ivan Nova for the White Sox pitched a fine game in his own right, going seven and allowing just one run on six hits and a walk. Credit where it is due, here; his excellent performance kept the White Sox in the game.
Everything Else that Happened
In the first inning Jose Ramirez and Leonys Martin reached with a little help from the White Sox. Martin stroked a base hit that turned into a double thanks to a bad outfield read. Ramirez reached first base because Jose Rondon lost the ball entirely on a routine pop-up.
Things didn’t get any better for the White Sox. Jake Bauers tapped a ball to the mound that should have resulted in a double play. Ivan Nova fielded it and fired to second, but the Sox took time turning it and Bauers beat the relay to the bag.
Unfortunately, the Indians failed to score any runs despite being given five outs. They remedied this error in the bottom of the sixth inning by finally putting a run on the board. Jose Ramirez doubled to the opposite field and scored on a Carlos Santana single.
The White Sox finally scored and took the lead off of the Indians bullpen in the top of the eighth. Adam Cimber induced a groundout but made a throwing error to first, advancing the runner to scoring position. The Sox then dropped a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to third, who then scored off of Oliver Perez when Yoan Moncada laced a double to left.
Francona reached for his bullpen again and brought in Jon Edwards. He left a fastball over enough of the plate for Ryan Cordell to launch the ball over the wall in center, giving the Sox the 3-1 lead. Edwards eventually wriggled out of the inning. It wasn’t pretty.
SUDDEN EMOTIONAL UPSWING
Bless you, Dylan Covey.
With a 1-3 lead and the bottom half of the Indians order coming up, the White Sox turned to 27-year-old Dylan Covey to seal away their victory. They curiously decided to walk Carlos Santana after bringing Covey into the game — instead of just walking him with Jace Fry on the mound and letting Covey go through his normal uninterrupted routine — and it worked out in the Indians’ favor.
Santana’s walk followed by a Hanley Ramirez floater that just missed the outstretched glove of the White Sox’s second baseman loaded the bases for the Indians and allowed renowned baseball hero Max Moroff to single home a run. Fellow national icon Roberto Perez drew a walk in his next at-bat, as did international man of outfield mastery Greg Allen to give the Indians a 5-3 lead, and eventually a win.
If it tells you anything about this game, three entire paragraphs of sadness were bulldozed to make room for this final section of the recap. Seriously, things got dark. But instead of that we get to talk about Roberto Perez’s masterful patience at the plate, Max Moroff’s bat finally coming alive, and sweet, sweet victory. Brad Hand was there, too.