A lot of offense happened in tonight’s 10-3 win over the Tigers and Shane Bieber had a great outing (that lasted an inning longer than it should have), but make no mistake about it: Snapping the Indians dreadful losing streak was José Ramírez’s doing.
While the rest of the Indians struggled over the last two weeks to play the game they have played their whole lives, Ramírez was putting up MVP numbers and making old columnists who bemoaned his salary look like fools. Tonight he cashed all that in for a four-hit, two-homer game. He knocked in the first three runs of the game by himself and later on doubled and came around to score on a Franmil Reyes single.
Ramírez was stupendous tonight and if there was any justice in this world he would be recognized day in and day out for the greatness that he brings to the Cleveland Indians. But he was not the only contributor to the victory, of course.
César Hernández had three hits, including a double, in his return from the paternity list.
Franmil Reyes had a hit for the second night in a row and his first RBI since Sept. 13. He’s still a ways away from his last extra-base hit, but the journey to dingerville starts with a single step, and maybe tonight he took it with a 90.3 mph single off Jordan Zimmerman.
The offense was so good that you probably forgot Francisco Lindor started this game off with a failed bunt attempt.
Josh Naylor continued his trend of hitting the ball hard in an Indians uniform, but for only the second time in the last two weeks, he actually got a result out of it. He barreled up a Casey Mize fastball that caught too much of the plate and turned it back at 102 mph for a single.
The Indians made quick work of the Tigers’ rookie pitcher Mize, chasing him after 3.2 innings with five hits and José’s two homers. Conversely, Shane Bieber threw 118 pitches over 7.2 innings — roughly 18 pitches and 0.2 innings more than he should have pitched.
I wanted to save this for last because this is a huge win for the Indians and cause for celebration. But Sandy Alomar leaving Bieber out to pitch the eighth was annoying. Leaving him after he put two men on base and eclipsed 110 pitches was borderline negligence. It doesn’t matter if Shane wanted to go back out there — of course he did. It was up to the manager, in this case, to know that it was a bad decision to leave your best pitcher out in a 10-run game with the playoffs looming and a spot all but guaranteed. His manager didn’t know, apparently, and it cost a blemish on his ERA and his seventh home run given up in 11 starts.
Bieber was brilliant, though, and his velocity on the 118th pitch (94.1 mph) was just as fast as his first (94.5 mph). So at the very least, his arm wasn’t torched, but it was just so wildly unnecessary to let him pitch the eighth. He worked his four-seamer 46 times tonight, inducing six whiffs and eight called strikes. His knuckle-curve was offered at 14 times and missed seven.
A seven-run laugher against a division opponent might just be the springboard the Indians need to get back on track and look like a real baseball team in October. We won’t know for a few weeks, but no matter what happens we know that José Ramírez is amazing.