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Indians fail Ohio resident in Liberty Ford Grand Slam inning, get the 7-2 victory anyway

The pitching is going to take the Tribe far in 2019

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Carrasco needed to have a good game if he was going to avoid the “Cookie is bad now” takes that would inevitably end up on Twitter. Even if he had a rough outing today, those takes wouldn’t be warranted, but they would’ve existed nonetheless. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that since Carrasco was dominant today. He only lasted 5.0 innings, but that was thanks in large part to the 12 strikeouts he amassed during that time. His fastball was consistently in the 94-95 mph range, but the real killer today was the slider/change combo, which accounted for 7 of his 12 Ks. Cookie ended the day at 90 pitches, so Tito may have been able to stretch him another inning if needed, but he opted instead to let the bullpen finish the game. By doing so, Carrasco made history:

Carlos Carrasco was on fire today, but he wasn’t the only story. The Cleveland offense has been extra terrible this year. Coming into today’s game, the Tribe was 28th in wRC+ across the league with a cool 42, reflected in an abysmal .170/.251/.259 team slash line (for the curious, the Rockies and the Reds are the only two teams who are worse on offense so far in 2019). But today, the Indians had a breakout game and scored 7 runs.

The offense started in the first inning (a rarity this season) with Greg Allen’s first hit of the 2019 campaign, a double off the wall in left field. Three batters later, who else but Carlos Santana knocked him home with a sharp ground ball up the middle into center field. We love you, Lando.

The next bunch of runs came in the third inning. The inning began with Eric Stamets getting his first MLB hit, a double off the wall in left field. Jose Ramirez then got his first hit of the game and then quickly got his first stolen base of the game. Jordan Luplow walked on five pitches to load the bases in the Liberty Ford Grand Slam Giveaway inning.

The Liberty Ford Grand Slam Giveaway Inning, or the Dream that Almost Was

Excitement was high as Santana stepped to the plate. Sadly, he struck out. But that led way to Hanley Ramirez, who’s also been known to smack dingers every now and then.

He walked. A run scored, yes, but that’s not what we or Marie-Elizabeth wanted.

Whatever, it’s now time for Jake Bauers. Bauers, who hits the ball really hard sometimes. He did get a hit, but it was a puny single into left field. Sure, two runs scored, but two runs does not a Liberty Ford Grand Slam make. But that’s fine because Roberto Perez then walked and loaded the bases...again! Hope springs eternal!

Enter Max Moroff. Weak fly to right field. The dream is over. The Indians ended the inning up 4-0 on a scuffling Blue Jays team, but at what cost? AT WHAT COST?

Sorry, Marie-Elizabeth. Maybe next time they won’t let you down.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled recap...

Carlos Carrasco hit a couple of speed bumps in his final inning of work, including a home run to Freddy Galvis followed quickly by a Teoscar Hernandez single and a Randal Grichuk RBI double. But those were really the only blemishes for Cookie on an otherwise impressive day. The Indians responded in the bottom half with back to back singles by Jordan Luplow and Carlos Santana followed by a Hanley Ramirez walk (bases loaded, but too little too late for our dear Marie-Elizabeth). Relief pitcher Elvis Luciano finally uncorked a wild pitch that catcher Danny Jansen was unable to pick, which allowed everyone to move up and a run to score. A sharp grounder off the bat of Roberto Perez was too much for a diving Freddy Galvis to handle, and the throw to the plate was too late to nab Carlos Santana before he scored the Tribe’s sixth run of the day.

The Tribe’s seventh and final run came in the sixth after Jose Ramirez doubled (!!!) and stole another base. Only this time, the throw from Danny Jansen was way high and sailed over everyone at third base, which allowed Ramirez to get up and trot home.

Tidbits, a Tribe edition:

  • The Tribe bullpen quietly had a phenomenal day. The squad of Otero, Olson, Cimber, and Edwards combined for 4.0 innings of scoreless baseball with the only hits coming in the ninth of of Jon Edwards. They also didn’t walk anyone.
  • Despite the seven runs, all was not well for the Cleveland offense. The Tribe managed to strike out 13 times, with Greg Allen and Eric Stamets each picking up three of their own.
  • Home plate umpire Dan Iassogna did not have a good day behind the plate. Players, coaches and fans alike could not figure out the strike zone. Here’s a perfect example from the fourth inning:

You’ll notice that pitches 3 and 4 are the same pitch for everyone except Dan Iassogna.

  • Jake Bauers also had a good day in the field. He made a diving grab in the eighth inning that would’ve surely went for extra bases had he missed.
  • And finally, there was a stoppage of play in the seventh inning because of a fan running onto the field (he must’ve been excited by the presence of Baker Mayfield at the game). SportsTime Ohio won’t show when a fan charges the field, instead relegating the viewers at home to a lackluster play-by-play via Matt Underwood and Rick Manning while the camera crew lingers on Justin Smoak for too many seconds. I am not SportsTime Ohio. Enjoy:

What seemed impossible just a week ago is a reality today: the Indians have won three games in a row and are a win away from a four-game sweep. Mike Clevinger takes the mound in day baseball tomorrow against Marcus Stroman to try and get it done.