Here’s a series of depressing statistical notes for you:
Indians have scored no runs in their last 11 innings, one run in their last 15 innings and two in their last 18 innings.— Jim Ingraham (@Jim_Ingraham) August 31, 2019
Contrast that with the AL Central-leading Twins, who have roughly 6.2 million runs in their last seven games, and things are looking downright bleak. Everything comes down the six games the Indians play against the Twins in September, make no mistake. But they aren’t doing themselves any favors by losing a game like this to the Rays, and they can’t afford to do it many more times in their two series leading up to the pivotal matchup against Minnesota.
Tonight, while the Twins racked up 13 runs as of this writing in their game against the Tigers, the Indians were blanked by the Rays and they didn’t put up much of a fight. Only two balls hit by Indians batters were harder than 100 mph: Franmil Reyes with a 109 mph lineout and Roberto Pérez with a 104.4 mph single. In total, five Indians batters had hits on the night, and only Tyler Naquin had an extra-base hit with a double.
Unfortunately, Naquin’s contributions were cut short when he was running out a fly ball in foul territory and came down awkwardly on his right leg. It sure looks like something buckled in slow-mo, but I always try to stay in the mindset of “everything looks worse on camera” until something is confirmed. But still, it doesn’t look good. Naquin went down in pain immediately and Oscar Mercado waved over the medical staff with the urgency of one flagging a medic on the beaches of Normandy.
This could have — should have — been another night of celebration for the rapid ascension of Shane Bieber to ace status. It was another dominant night for him, with nine strikeouts and six hits over 6.1 innings. He’ll always have three earned runs in the record books tonight, but two of them came because his manager decided to put Adam Cimber in the game in yet another high-leverage situation. Cimber then preceded to give up a home run immediately and the depleted Indians offense couldn’t respond in the final two innings.