Victory. Victory, I say.
Yes, the bat of Franmil Reyes delivered the decisive blow this evening, but many Cleveland Indians enjoyed productive nights. Perhaps the only black mark on this evening is the wrist discomfort experience by José Ramírez, but we will discuss that more shortly.
Four runs, one inning
Oscar Mercado led the inning off with a delightful double. Carlos Santana struck out, Yasiel Puig struck out, but Mercado managed to advance to third due to a wild pitch during the at-bat. Mike Freeman stepped up, took a mighty hack, and absolutely destroyed his bat. The ball nubbed its way across the infield grass, allowing Mercado to score and Freeman to reach first.
Jason Kipnis drew a walk, putting two runners on for Franmil Reyes. He watched a high fastball go by for a strike — yes, he watched it — then locked eyes with a slider hanging over the middle of the plate. He pulled it down the line into the night sky, deep onto the home run porch to give the Indians a four-to-nothing lead.
The other three times that the Indians came to bat with runners in scoring position, they failed to bring them in. Fortunately, they had all of the runs that they would need.
Quite a nice game by Mike Clevinger
The Indians’ starting pitcher allowed a single run in 5.2 innings pitched. That run wasn’t particularly egregious, as he allowed a walk to Cheslor Cuthbert who scored from first when the next hitter doubled. Despite the somewhat-limited number of innings Clevinger still struck out eight and kept Royals hitters off-balance all night. Would it be nicer to seem him finish the sixth or get into the seventh inning before topping 100 pitches? Sure, but I’d rather see him pitch five nearly dominant innings than toss a generic brand, six-inning-three-runs “quality start”.
Oliver Pérez finished up the sixth, then started the seventh by hitting a guy and giving up a hit. Adam Cimber came in and induced a grounder that turned into a fielder’s choice. He then did it one more time, though by this time Arteaga was able to scamper home and score the inherited run. While he walked the next hitter, Cimber, uh, induced a lineout from Alex Gordon to end the inning.
Tyler Clippard pitched an uneventful and perfect eighth, and then handed the ball over to Official Cleveland Indians Closer Brad Hand.
But isn’t he the worst person in the history of the world as objectively proven by his performance in several consecutive appearances?
There are some who might try to convince you of this. It appears more likely that Hand was working through a rough patch. Tonight, he gave up a single hit but worked the inning with ease from there. He needed only thirteen pitches to record the three outs; only four of those pitches were balls. Add that performance to last night’s—fifteen pitches, one hit allowed, no drama—and it looks like Hand may be on the other side of that patch, picking the last bits of thistle and burrs out of his uniform.
Yes, he felt some discomfort in his wrist after a swing, and left the game. Subsequently, Yu Chang was pulled from his game for the Clippers. Reports indicate that Ramírez received an MRI, though it’s unlikely that the team will provide an update tonight. The wrist issues may not be new, either:
Jose Ramirez has undergone some imaging on his wrist, and the Indians are waiting on the results. Terry Francona relayed that while Ramirez has been dealing with some wrist discomfort for a while, he wasn't sure this was in the same place, which worried them a bit.— Ryan Lewis (@ByRyanLewis) August 25, 2019
It seems likely based on what we know tonight that Chang is coming up and either he or Freeman will start at third base while Ramírez recuperates. We will likely know a lot more tomorrow.
If Chang is on the way, though, he’d better damn well stop at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn.
The Pennant Race
The Minnesota Twins won tonight, so the Indians remain 2.5 games back in the AL Central. At the time of publishing they led the Wild Card by half a game, with the A’s either set to tie or fall a full game back pending the results of their game against San Francisco.