Please consider the next few days as “Summer Camp” for the Let’s Go Tribe masthead.
The only force more powerful than the Indians’ bats tonight: The fireworks that blasted off after Indians homers. The Tribe muscled past the Pirates 11-7 in tonight’s exhibition game as contributions came from starters, journeyman, and youngsters, too.
This is the pitching portion of the recap and I can’t remember how to title these things so please replace this with whatever, I don’t know, Lyons do something about this
Clevinger started out a little wild. In the first inning, he walked a batter but escaped trouble thanks to weak contact from the other three hitters. Struggles compounded in the second. He misplaced two breaking balls against Phillip Evans and came back with a fastball on a 2-2 count. It landed in the bleachers to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. He nearly airmailed a toss to first to end the third, but Santana speared it and hopped back on the bag.
Clevinger settled in after this and started to place his curveball. He gave up one more solo homer, but finished his five innings with 5 SO while allowing only 5 H. Maybe more important than the numbers: his velocity appeared to be back on track after some difficulty during his last start.
After Clev departed, Brad Hand game in and coughed up a solo shot to Josh Bell. His velocity sat around 88-89 (peaking at 91), which will be worth keeping an eye on as he gets tuned up for the season.
Nick Wittgren and Adam Cimber struggled as well. While Wittgren flashed a nice new changeup against lefties he walked in a run. Cimber came in after this and inexplicably struck out Josh Bell to end the inning. He started the seventh but failed to record an out while surrendering two more runs.
Fortunately for the Tribe, Hunter Wood and James Karinchak dominated the hitters that they faced. They struck out five in two innings of work, the only blemish a hit allowed by Wood. The final shape of the bullpen isn’t yet in focus, but performances like that will help to sharpen it as Friday approaches.
This is the hitting portion of the recap and I know sometimes these have a much better flow but there’s time between now and Sunday when I have to find my talent and do this for real
César Hernández opened up the game with a single after a 12-pitch at-bat. That set the tone for the Tribe throughout the night as they punished Pirates pitchers’ mistakes to score in all but the first two innings.
Jose Ramirez opened it up in the third with a double down the right field line, which scored Bradey Zimmer. Well… it should have been a double. Ramirez almost fell down after driving the pitch and he held up at first. Alas, his helmet stayed on throughout.
BUT NOT FOR LONG. Francisco Lindor barreled one up to the opposite field, and it caromed off the 19-foot wall after a misplay by Bryan Reynolds. Ramirez lost his helmet somewhere on the way to home, tying the game at two.
Zimmer added another run for the Tribe in the fourth with an RBI single. The inning might have been massive, except for a sac bunt and baserunning outs at home and third.
The Indians went ahead for good in the fifth. Lindor waited on a breaking ball low and in, blasting it into the seats in right to drive in three. Luplow piled on with a solo homer later, driving the lead to 7-3.
The scoring just kind of snowballed from there as follows:
- Mike Freeman solo shot
- Jake Elmore RBI double
- Greg Allen RBI single
- Jake Bauers solo shot
The bullpen won’t be able to rely on eleven runs of support every night, but it sure was fun to see the bats back in action.
- Zimmer nearly earned a second double on a deep drive to left center, but Cole Tucker (allegedly an infielder) ranged to his right and snared the ball before tumbling up against the wall. To me, Zimmer looks like an entirely different hitter than I’ve seen previously.
- Tidbit: Wittgren barehanded a chopper in front of the mound and fired it home for the first out in the top of the seventh. I don’t really know if he needed to barehand it. If he’d flubbed it, there would have been no outs and bases loaded with the Pirates trailing by three. Either way - it was awesome.
- Eleven Indians contributed to a total of fifteen hits tonight. A couple of those, including Allen’s RBI, came on broken-bat contact. If the ball finds grass I’m not going to complain about how it got there.
The Tribe play the Pirates again on Wednesday, and I swear to god I’m going to remember how to do this by Sunday.