I’m in the middle of moving out of the apartment I’ve been in for the past three years. And I’ve found that I’ve accumulated a lot of heavy objects in those three years. So as I took a break from moving to settle in for a nice game of Cleveland Indians baseball, my body decided to waver between being awake and being asleep. Because of this, I watched today’s game in a haze. Here’s what my foggy brain can recall.
Adam Plutko looked better than anyone could have hoped for.*
Adam Plutko struggled a bit last season when he came up to the majors. Things didn’t look too great when he started in triple-A this season either, giving up 6 earned runs in 5.1 innings across two starts. But the Tribe rotation is stretched thin right now due to the Kluber and Clevinger injuries, so Plutko got his chance today.
And he ran with it.
Plutko squared off this afternoon against John Means, who’s been one of the hottest starters in baseball, and he matched him blow for blow for the first three innings. By that I mean neither starter gave up a hit through three innings. Not a lot of strikeouts during this time (2 between both starters), but both Plutko and Means were great. The cracks started to show in the fourth inning, but Plutko held things together after Trey Mancini broke up the no-hitter with his tenth home run of the season. After Mancini’s home run, Plutko didn’t allow another hit and only allowed one more baserunner (Rio Ruiz walked in the fifth) for the rest of his time in the game. Plutko was only supposed to throw ~80 pitches today, so many assumed that he would be done after completing the fifth inning at 76 pitches. But Tito rolled him out for the sixth, and Plutko needed just 7 pitches to retire the side and get the Indians through the inning. I doubt we can expect this sort of performance from Plutko every time, but he was damn good today.
The offense did enough
When the Orioles took the lead in the fourth inning, I honestly assumed that the game was over. Means was dealing, the Tribe bats seemed to be rolling over to die again (the only baserunner in the first three innings for the Tribe was Carlos Gonzalez when he walked in the second), and we just saw the offense be completely incompetent just 24 hours ago. I was not inspired. But Carlos Santana heard my cries and knocked a double into center field and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Jordan Luplow stepped to the plate and punished a hanging curveball and launched it into the bleachers in left field to give the Tribe a 2-1 lead. Extreme SSS alert, but Tribe writer Mandy Bell had a fun note after Luplow’s bomb:
Jordan Luplow as the Tribe's cleanup hitter this year:— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) May 18, 2019
3-for-7 (.429) with 3 HRs.
His two-run blast to the bleachers in left gives the Indians a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
The wheels began to shake a bit more for Means in the fifth inning when our savior Oscar Mercado stepped to the plate and notched his first MLB hit, a double to left field. Two pitches later, Mercado crossed home plate on an RBI single by Francisco Lindor. Here are those plays in all their glory:
Look at the speed on him. Awesome. A Jason Kipnis single and a Carlos Santana walk loaded up the bases, putting Jordan Luplow in a fantastic position to blow the game open. He did not do that, unfortunately. Luplow hit into an inning ending double play. But the Tribe left the inning with a 3-1 lead.
The last run would come courtesy of a mammoth Carlos Santana blast in the eighth inning, giving us what would become the final score of 4-1.
Tribble and Bits
- Oliver Perez was nails today. 1.1 innings of work, no hits or walks, and three strikeouts on just 16 pitches (13 strikes).
- Adam Cimber was not nails. He only got 1 out before a fielding error by Jose Ramirez and a walk put two men on with one out in the eighth. It all happened in the span of nine pitches.
- Brad Hand came in a notched a four out save, if you’re into that kind of thing.
- I missed who said it, but Monte is right. This person is an idiot:
“I hope we don’t score anymore, because then it won’t be a save situation for Hand, and closers don’t do well in non-save situations."— Monte the Color Man (@Monte_Colorman) May 18, 2019
A) It was a save situation when Hand entered.
B) More runs are always good.
C) You’re an idiot.
The Indians have a chance to take 3 out of 4 games tomorrow afternoon in day baseball. That is the scenario that should happen given how awful the Orioles are this year. But the Indians have had their own moments of awfulness as well (spoiler alert), so nothing is a sure thing. Shane Bieber is taking the mound tomorrow to try and get it done.
*It was against the worst team in the AL, but a quality performance is a quality performance, so I’ll hear nothing from you today, naysayers.