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Indians drop series to Tampa Bay Rays in a rainy 6-3 defeat

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They threatened to rally at on point, though. Progress?!

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Another Sunday, another tough game for the Cleveland Indians. Despite a late charge, the Tribe didn’t have enough left in the tank to top the Tampa Bay Rays. Three runs in the eighth and ninth combined almost qualifies as an explosion for this team lately, but the threat came to pass despite them loading the bases with no out in the ninth.

Trevor Bauer earned the loss, and he’s been in a little bit of a funk since starting the season on an absolute tear. Since April 25th, he doesn’t look anything like the Cy Young caliber guy who opened the year. Before today’s encounter he owned an ERA of 5.45 with 5.22 BB/9 and 1.66 HR/9 in his previous six starts.

In that context, his result today is pretty much what you’d expect from watching those last few games. I think he pitched better than the score indicated; He struck out eight while allowing five hits, walking one, and hitting a guy. This was the only really bad mistake that he made all game:

That is a suboptimal spot in which to leave a fastball.

I’m not quite sure what his issue is at the moment, and might dig into it tomorrow when I’m intentionally ignoring all of the yard work that I’ve told myself I will get done.

Errors

The Indians didn’t help Bauer out in the field, either. While all of Bauer’s runs were officially earned, two came as the direct result of errors. In the top of the third Leonys Martín misfired his throw and allowed a run to come across the plate. Things were a little less straightforward in the fourth. Kevin Kiermaier doubled and attempted to steal third. Plawecki popped and made the throw, but Jose Ramírez couldn’t get a handle on it. I suppose it is technically a throwing error because Ramírez didn’t completely boot the ball. The designation doesn’t change the fact that Jose oléd it, and as it scooted past Kiermaier sprinted home for the fourth run.

Another series in the seventh saw Martín slip while fielding a grounder up the middle. It’s tough to say whether he had a shot to nail the runner rounding third, but there would have been a play at the plate if he hadn’t eaten turf.

About the Offense

Oscar Mercado hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 8th, and that’s pretty much the only thing that Indians have to show for themselves at the plate today.

Until the bottom of the ninth, he screamed from another dimension.

Mike Freeman got things started with a walk. Jordan Luplow chopped a grounder to short and beat it out, and then Martín laid down the sickest bunt that I’ve seen in a long time. Daniel Robertson didn’t have a prayer of fielding it and converting an out.

And so it came to pass that Kevin Plawecki came up to the plate with the bases loaded. He took a massive cut and fouled a ball off of the inside of his foot, then punched a ball directly to first base. They weren’t able to throw home, so the run scored.

The order flipped over and Lindor came to the plate. He pummeled a grounder to Robertson at third who couldn’t corral a strange hop. The second run of the inning came home. Mercado came back to the plate with runners on the corners.

In that other dimension, Mercado gets his third hit on the day to keep the rally going, and then Carlos Santana would have mashed a tater to bring everybody home and win the game.

This did not come to pass in our dimension. Mercado couldn’t lay off of a particularly tasty-looking piece of high cheese, and Santana grounded out to the second baseman to end the game. If this wasn’t a family website (Hi Mom), I would make liberal use of the word “Fuck” in this sentence.

Since it is, I will only use it the once to discuss my possible usage of said word in other scenarios.

Tribe Tidbits

  • The Rays ran on Plawecki this afternoon. They swiped four total bags. There’s a reason why:
  • The ball boy in right field made nice play fielding a sharply hit liner by Austin Meadows in the top of the ninth. The problem is that the ball was fair by about three feet. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the play (Kiermaier would have scored on a bunt, probably, and I don’t think Meadows was legging out a triple up by five). Still, I hope the fans gave him a mild ribbing.
  • The Indians are becoming pros at infield singles, I guess. I count at least three that they managed this weekend against the Rays.

Go enjoy the rest of Memorial Day weekend. The Indians play again tomorrow around 4:00 PM in Boston. It’s a Nationally Televised game, and judging by the usual coverage of this team by national media I’m guessing that only decreases the odds of you watching.

I’d love to see the Tribe come out and thump the defending World Series Champions, but I’ve watched this team all season and know better than to get my hopes up.