This was a difficult game to watch, in more ways than one.
The game was certainly accessible, as I was reminded on several occasions by the YouTube broadcast booth. The picture quality was outstanding for the most part, especially for a streaming platform. And you didn’t even have to create an account to stream the game.
Pretty great, right?
Unfortunately, the aforementioned YouTube broadcasting booth was not nearly as good as the picture quality, between interviewing the creator of a series of “unboxing” videos to confessing an affinity for a pitcher’s win-loss record. It was an endurance test for any viewer who managed to resist the urge to mute the broadcast and watch the stream in silence.
To take the situation from bad to worse, the game went to extra innings. And it was clear as early as the second inning that this particular broadcast crew was going to struggle to produce a steady stream of even remotely stimulating commentary for nine innings. Never has “free baseball” come at a greater cost to the viewing audience.
But enough about that. The broadcast is over. They can’t hurt us anymore.
Taking their cues from the booth, the Indians didn’t do much to liven the broadcast, either. The Blue Jays entered the game having lost Aaron Sanchez’s last 11 consecutive starts. His last “win” was on April 27, and Sanchez had carried 7.99 in his 15 starts since. Naturally, the Tribe looked lost at the plate for the most part. Scattering five hits over Sanchez’s five innings of work, the Indians only mustered a single run against the Blue Jays’ beleaguered starter. He also struck out six batters, the highest single-game total for Sanchez this season since May 12.
That one run can largely be attributed to Greg Allen, who singled in the third to notch the Indians’ first hit of the game. He proceeded to steal second base, setting the stage for Francisco Lindor to send a sharp RBI single past second baseman Cavan Biggio.
The bare minimum amount of run support left zero margin of error for Tribe starter Trevor Bauer, who looked good on the scoreboard and in the box score but seemed to be laboring at various intervals throughout the game, frequently falling behind in the count. He was pulled after 7.2 innings of work, surrendering three hits and three walks over that span, striking out nine Blue Jays.
Before the blown save, the play of the game seemed to have come in the eighth inning. With a runner at second, one out, and pinch-hinter Lourdes Gurriel Jr. at the plate, Bauer surrendered a single to right field. The Blue Jays waved home Teoscar Hernández, but a relay throw from Greg Allen to Carlos Santana to Robert Pérez at home plate kept Toronto off the board.
Oliver Pérez notched the final out of the eighth with a strikeout before handing the ball to Brad Hand for the ninth, clinging to a 1-0 lead. Hand proceeded to blow it, allowing his third solo home run in his last four outings, this time a shot to dead center courtesy of Justin Smoak. It’s certainly been a rough patch of late for the Indians’ closer, but when your lineup can only scratch across one run against Aaron Sanchez, I can’t entirely blame this loss on Hand.
In fact, I’m not even mad at Tyler Olson for giving up a walk, an infield single, and then a walk-off game-winning infield single in the tenth — all with two outs — to hand the game to the Blue Jays. It was a merciful end to a generally miserable game.