This was not a fun baseball game. It started off pretty fun, but it quickly nosedived into a flaming crater of despair.
The fun part(s)
Carlos Santana demands your attention. He added two more hits on the year, including his 31st home run in the first inning. That would be all the offense that the Indians could muster for the majority of the game, but Santana at least gave us all the illusion that this would be a fun day of baseball. His other hit was a double in the third inning that would’ve tacked on another run had it not been for Francisco Lindor getting thrown out at the plate.
Speaking of Francisco Lindor, he also gave the team a glimmer of hope in the eighth with a two-run homer to right center. Prior to the home run, the Indians were down 9-2, so it wasn’t a monumental home run, but it was nice at any rate.
The final bit of offense came in the ninth when Greg Allen split the gap in center field to drive in 2 runs. This brought the Tribe total to 6, which normally would be enough to get the win. Unfortunately, this was not the case today because of...
The no-good pitching
Zach Plesac is having a phenomenal rookie campaign, and today’s game doesn’t change that narrative too much. But he did throw out a clunker today, highlighted by home runs by Ji-Man Choi and Tommy Pham. He wasn’t missing many bats today as evidenced by the six swinging strikes. He was pulled after just 84 pitches in an effort to minimize his workload in his first season after Tommy John surgery. In hindsight, it may have been better to ride Plesac’s arm until it fell off because the bullpen was putrid today.
Plesac started the sixth inning and walked Travis d’Arnaud to start the inning. Tyler Clippard came in to replace him and got Choi to strike out. He then gave up a home run to Avisail Garcia, which tacked another run onto Plesac’s count for the day. After a strikeout of Kevin Kiermaier, Matt Duffy was walked and Joey Wendle was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with two outs. Tito had seen enough and replaced Clippard with Hunter Wood, who promptly gave up an RBI single to Eric Sogard. A Tommy Pham walk then loaded the bases, but Wood was able to get Austin Meadows to fly out to end the inning. A four-run deficit isn’t ideal, but it’s not insurmountable.
The insurmountable seventh inning
With Hunter Wood still on the mound to start the seventh, three straight hits (a home run and two singles) brought the score to 7-2 with two runners on and no outs. Wood clearly had nothing going on (he induced one swinging strike in the inning), so Tito yanked him in favor of Phil Maton. Maton responded with a walk to Kevin Kiermaier. With the bases loaded, Matt Duffy hit a sharp grounder to first that Carlos Santana made a fantastic grab on. The fantastic portion of the play ended there. After stomping on first to get the force, Santana fired home and, instead of finding the glove of Roberto Perez, found the netting behind home plate with an errant throw. All of these events led to Choi and Garcia scoring, bringing the Rays run total to 9, which proved to be too much for the Cleveland Indians.
- Mike Freeman replaced Jason Kipnis in the bottom of the seventh. It was reported that Kipnis was dealing with wrist discomfort, so I assume that his hand will be amputated within the next 24 hours.
- The Indians got TOOTBLAN’d a couple of times today. The culprits were Lindor (thrown out at home, although this one is on Sarbaugh for waving him home) and Reyes (hitting the ball so hard into the outfield that he didn’t have time to make it to second base before being thrown out).
- Yu Chang blistered a ball two balls (108.8 mph, 96.5 mph), both of which resulted in lineouts. He finally got a single on an 89.3 mph hit. Go figure.
- Puig also blistered a ball up the middle at 107.8 mph that ended up being a groundout thanks to some nifty fielding by Eric Sogard.
- Of course, on the day that the Indians score six runs and can’t win, the Tigers drop a 10-spot on the Twins to take them down. So no ground lost, but nothing gained either.
Rosters expand tomorrow and Adam Plutko takes on Charlie Morton in day baseball to try and avoid the sweep. If anything, look forward to Carlos Carrasco’s return to the mound in tomorrow’s game.