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Pitching falters late again, Indians drop important game to Twins

That creeping feeling of inevitability is looming large.

Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Things continue to go wrong for the Cleveland Indians as one bad inning tonight cost them a much needed victory against the Minnesota Twins.

Aaron Civale has a weird night

Weird may not be the right adjective. It may be more accurate to say that Civale had a short but effective night. But only kind of effective. He only went 5.0 innings and threw 80 pitches, but he only allowed the one run. On the other hand, he allowed an uncharacteristic 3 walks, something he’s only done twice in his short career. Couple that with only inducing 5 swinging strikes all night, it was clear that Civale wasn’t on his “A” game tonight. But regardless, he held one of the most potent lineups in baseball to just three hits and one run (a monster dinger off the bat of Mitch Garver). He reminds some viewers of a younger Corey Kluber, which is good since Corey Kluber is fantastic (at least, he has been historically). Civale looks to be a mainstay in the Cleveland rotation for years to come, so it’s good to see him being able to work and be effective even in games when his “stuff” isn’t working as well as he would like.

The offense is silent for the most part

Jake Odorizzi has had a good year. It’s the first time in his career that he’s made the All-Star team, and there’s every argument to be made that this is a career year for Odorizzi. And it showed. Cleveland hitters were baffled all night by Odorizzi, as evidenced by his 20 swinging strikes, or just over 30% of the 66 strikes thrown in total. His fourseam was the main culprit, getting 12 swinging strikes on its own. The Indians started to figure him out in the sixth inning when they finally started to take some pitches. Oscar Mercado and Carlos Santana drew back to back walks (Odorizzi’s only walks of the evening), which set up Yasiel Puig to rope a double to center field and bring Mercado home to tie the game. Tyler Duffey replaced Odorizzi and promptly uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Santana to score and give the Indians the lead. The two runs were charged to Odorizzi, but don’t let that fool you; the man pitched extremely well against the Indians tonight. He notched ten strikeouts in 5.1 innings. That’s pretty legit.

The final Tribe run came in the eighth inning thanks to another double by Puig and a single by Jason Kipnis. But it was too little, too late by that point because...

The bullpen continues to embrace regression

Adam Cimber replaced Tyler Clippard to finish out the sixth inning, and he did so on a strikeout of C.J. Cron on three straight pitches. Pretty neat, right? Well, the Monstars must’ve zapped Cimber’s good pitching juice between innings because things were bad immediately in the bottom of the seventh. Willians Astudillo singled on the first pitch of the inning and was immediately brought home thanks to a triple by Jonathan Schoop. Oscar Mercado misplayed a high fly ball off the tall center field wall, and by the time Puig raced over to get the ricochet, the game was already tied. Tito had seen enough and swapped Cimber for Oliver Perez, who walked Max Kepler and then gave way to Nick Goody. Nick was not Goody tonight. The first hitter to face him, Mitch Garver, launched his second home run of the game to right field, this time a 3-run shot. This allowed the Twins to regain the lead and keep it until the end of the game. Nick Goody, in response, chucked a water cooler.

Tids of Bit

  • Yasiel Puig hit the ball to the pitcher and decided to not waste vital energy running to first and just turned around to go back to the dugout instead. Carlos Santana took a long time explaining to him in the dugout why you shouldn’t do that.
  • Cron made a fantastic diving stop to turn a double play that ended the seventh inning. A hit there would’ve turned the lineup over and potentially changed the complexion of the game. Alas, we will never know.
  • Lindor had a pretty heads up play in the fourth inning and was able to throw out Miguel Sano at home plate. Please sign this man forever.
  • Michael Pineda got suspended after losing last night, so that’s something.

Things feel pretty bleak right now in the world of the Cleveland Indians. Tonight’s loss to the Minnesota Twins put them 6.5 games back with just 19 games remaining in the 2019 season. What little hope you may have been holding out for in terms of a division championship are probably all but extinguished at this point. The good news (if you can call it that) is that the Tribe is only 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, trailing the Athletics and the Rays. The Wild Card is still in play, but the Indians need to stop losing games if they want to continue playing this October. They’ll try to win one tomorrow against the Twins in day baseball.