I’m going to be completely honest with you: I fell asleep for a good bit of the end of this game. But I woke up just in time to see Brad Hand surrender the game winning home run to Matt Chapman to take game 1 of this series 4-3.
But before the 12th inning, there were 11 others where the teams were fairly evenly matched. What happened?
Battle of the bullpens
In a 12 inning game, the bullpens will eventually be the deciding factor. But the Tribe went to their relief corps early as Cody Anderson only made it through 3 innings. On the one hand, that’s 2.1 more innings than his last outing, so in a couple of months, he’ll be throwing 16 innings a game. On the other hand, he gave up 2 runs during those innings and needed 68 pitches to do it. Cody Anderson wouldn’t be in the rotation at this point if it weren’t for concurrent injuries to both Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber, but that’s the state of the world right now. Anderson wasn’t sharp tonight, allowing three walks and a wild pitch that resulted in a run scored. But after Anderson exited the game, the Tribe bullpen came in and allowed just two runs over the next nine innings. The blemishes came in the sixth when Ramón Laureano hit a home run off of Neil Ramirez and in the twelfth when Brad Hand allowed the game winner to Matt Chapman. Standout of the evening was Nick Witgren, who went 2 innings without allowing a base runner and picked up a pair of strikeouts along the way.
For the A’s, starter Frankie Montas came out firing and went six strong innings for Oakland. He ran into a bit of trouble in the second inning when Jake Bauers doubled to score Carlos González and Kevin Plawecki grounded into an RBI double play. But outside of the second inning, Montas cruised easily. His bullpen entered the game in the seventh inning and allowed Francisco Lindor to tie the game on a sac fly. After a Jason Kipnis single and a Jose Ramirez walk, Carlos Santana stepped to the plate. He flew out to end the inning. No other Tribe batter would reach base for the rest of the game. Including Santana’s out in the seventh to end the inning, the Oakland bullpen sat down 16 Cleveland hitters in a row. Just absolute domination to give the lineup enough time to scratch across another run to win it.
- Every starter for the Indians got a hit. Tyler Naquin was the only one with two.
- The Indians began to hit with a bit more power tonight with four doubles.
- Jordan Luplow pinch hit for Carlos González. He went 0-for-2 with 2 strikeouts.
- Adam Cimber looked to be in a bit of trouble when he entered the game in the eighth when he gave up a first pitch single to Stephen Piscotty. Two pitches later, he got Ramón Laureano to ground into a rare 3-6 double play.
- The official time of the game, according to MLB, was 3 hours and 41 minutes. It felt longer.
The Indians take the field again in just over 14 hours to try it again. They’ll send Trevor Bauer out against Aaron Brooks, which is good because the bullpen could use a rest.