Unfortunately, the Tribe can’t score a billion runs every night. Tonight saw the Indians drop the second game of the series to the Yankees by a score of 3-2. Where offense was plentiful just a day ago, it was hard to come by on Friday night.
José Ramírez has completely turned his season around after a putrid beginning. Pitches that would have fooled him a few months ago are now getting punished and leaving the yard with regularity. Tonight was no exception. In the second inning, he sent a moonshot over the glove of Aaron Judge and put the Tribe on the board:
Since July 4th, José Ramírez has driven in 43 runs, which is the most in baseball.— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) August 16, 2019
Think he’s hot? pic.twitter.com/895TN4wT5w
MLB Stats also notes in the tweet above that Ramírez has been driving in a lot of runs recently. There have been calls to move him up in the order, but at this point he seems to have settled in just fine and I don’t see any reason to fix what clearly isn’t broken. He also picked up two more hits on the evening, including a double to right field in the seventh inning (pay no attention to the fact that Aaron Judge unleashed a missile of his own and almost threw Ramírez out at second).
Speaking of not broken, Yasiel Puig. Many on this site have heaped praise upon praise on the new heavy hitter in the Tribe lineup, and there’s a good reason for it. Observe:
The man barely flicks his wrist and the ball flies off the bat at 100 mph like a cannonball into the seats in right field. It’s just incredible the amount of power that he produces. And he does it in the field, too:
He goes from standing still to gunning a runner out at home from the middle of right field. His defense is almost as good* as his offense. I’m glad he’s with us for the stretch run (and hopefully more).
Lastly, Aaron Civale continues to dazzle in his rookie campaign. So far this season, he’s faced two potent offenses in Minnesota and the New York and he has handled both of them. He only gave up 3 runs (2 earned) tonight across 6.0 innings, which is fantastic given the team he was facing. His sinker just about touched 95 mph tonight, and he got 9 total swinging strikes in his outing. Things didn’t start out great, however. The first inning saw him give up four hits and there was a worry that this could turn into a short outing. But for the rest of the night, Civale stayed mainly out of trouble until the fifth inning when LGFT Gio Urshela singled to right field and brought Aaron Judge home thanks to a fielding error by Puig. The control started to go for Civale in the sixth inning when he walked Gary Sanchez and Cameron Maybin (the latter on four pitches) and a wild pitch had resulted in both runners being in scoring position. But a flyout by Mike Ford ended the threat and the night for Civale.
The rest of the offense was falling all over themselves for the entire evening. Tanaka wasn’t necessarily fantastic, either. He only got seven swinging strikes all night and only two strikeouts, but the Tribe couldn’t break through against him. Outside of Ramírez’s three hits and Puig’s home run, no one else got on base all night except Tyler Naquin thanks to an error at first base and a walk by Carlos Santana in the ninth. The Tribe stranded ten men on base, which isn’t nearly as bad as twenty, but it’s hard to win when you can’t have anyone do anything noteworthy at the plate outside of two hitters.
Believe it or not, Adam Cimber has had a good year. This is surprising to me because it seems like every other outing he has, he’s in trouble pretty much from the get-go. Tonight, for example. Cimber entered the seventh inning and immediately gave up a double, a walk, and a single to load the bases. Nine pitches and his night was over. But again, if you look at his numbers, this is statistically his best season to date (per ERA+). Baseball is weird.
Aroldis Chapman. I don’t have anything to add other than he’s an awful person. And sure, I could stop bringing it up every time I am obligated to write about him, but I’d rather folks not forget that he’s a terrible, terrible human being who is getting millions of dollars because he throws a ball hard.
A lot of folks were hoping for a split in this series, and that is still very much possible. Zach Plesac goes against James Paxton tomorrow in days baseball to try and nab a split.