Roberto Pérez is a great base runner, I’ve always said that. No, really, since the first words I wrote on Let’s Go Tribe, I’ve always said that. Roberto Pérez may not be fast (he “doesn’t have a second gear”, as his own third base coach put it), but he is as intelligent as they come when it comes to working his way around the bases.
Tonight Bebo’s combination of slow speed and high awareness manifested itself in a triple, followed by a swipe of home on a wild pitch. It was a glorious sequence of events, none of which looked pretty in the typical sense, but all of which worked.
Pérez slid to the outer half of the bag/plate with his arm extended both when he narrowly finished the triple and when he scored. Both times the swipe from the defender went high and Roberto was confident from the moment he touched the base/plate that he was safe. He wasn’t even finished with the slide at third before he pleaded with the umpire to make sure he knew he wasn’t tagged on time.
When an embeddable video of the triple becomes available I’ll be sure to edit it in. In the meantime, just enjoy the awareness and hustle that it took to score this run.
After all that — giving the Indians the lead in the third — Bebo plunged the dagger in the eighth with this two-run shot, his 15th of the season.
Let’s just get it out there — Roberto Pérez is amazing. I can understand why he’s not an All-Star this season, but it’s coming if he keeps this up. So are the Gold Gloves that he covets.
When you come down from the high of Roberto Pérez turning on the wheels and mashing big dongs, take a moment to enjoy Mike Clevinger finally getting back on track. After going full Sonic the Hedgehog with his spray chart last week, Clevinger owned the outer edge of the plate this time around with a fastball that touched 98.7 mph (!!!) and a curve that kept Royals batters off balance all night.
Probably not coincidentally, he hit that high mark right after Matt Underwood and Rick Manning spent several minutes talking about how Clevinger needs to learn to contain his emotions and not be so amped up every time he pitches.
It was undoubtedly Clevinger’s best start since his return from the disabled list, and he showed signs of his pre-back injury self in the outing. His final line on the night was zero earned runs off four hits with nine strikeouts and no walks in six innings of work.
Following up Clevinger’s performance was Nick Goody, who has started to solidify himself as the next dependable reliever at Tito’s disposal. I’ve grown to never trust these types for long, but if he can keep playing the way he has for a full season or so — ala Dan Otero 2016 — then sign me the hell up.
Tonight, Goody pitched two perfect innings — meaning he thankfully didn’t walk any of the six batters he faced. That’s a great sign for a guy that couldn’t stop walking guys for a solid month upon his own return from the injured list.
For whatever inexplicable reason, Terry Francona decided to use Brand Hand for the second game in a row tonight. Despite the Indians being up by four with no reason to continue to burn out his best relievers arm, Brad Hand was thrust out there yet again and allowed two of the first three batters to reach base before shutting the door on the win 4-0 win. Baffling that he was out there to begin with, especially considering the nine-man bullpen the Indians are carrying — but hey, what do I know?
As of the final out of this contest, the Twins are losing to the Athletics, 3-1. Minnesota is on the verge of dropping their third straight, and the Indians are about to close the AL Central gap to six games. I don’t want to fire up the hype train too soon, but the Tribe face the Royals again tomorrow, the Reds over the weekend, then wrap up the fist half of the season with a three-game set against the Twins next week. It’s in range, folks.