Sometimes, a pitcher gets flustered when his usual magic falters. He may float a curveball that screams back into the night.
Because he is an ace, Shane Bieber managed his inconsistency and avoided such catastrophes. He left the game with the bases loaded but thanks to the bullpen’s assistance he allowed only three runs in 4.1 innings pitched. With the game in such good hands, it felt like a good time for a comeback bet.
Cleveland’s offense did not get the job done. Three different hitters doubled, two sneaky bunts pushed the team closer equalizing, but no one player came through when it mattered.
We are ultimately looking at another game in which Cleveland scored on an error and a groundout. Some people may call that gritty. Other people may call it sad. I really don’t know what to think about it. There is nothing wrong with driving in a run. Like getting on base, I’m not sure it matters that much how any one happened — they all count the same, and it is good when it happens more.
I’m much more worried about the team going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position while stranding nine on the bases overall. Half of my brain wants to chalk this loss up to “sequencing”, and the other half is certain that Eddie Rosario clears the bases if he swings away.
I do not want to think about this game in late September. I am probably going to.
There are good things to talk about
Let’s talk about the bullpen, which is now the best in baseball. I see nothing from today to change that evaluation. Phil Maton, Bryan Shaw, and Emmanuel Clase pitched 3.1 innings of relief. They shared five walks, but they also shared zero runs, zero hits, and five strikeouts.
There are going to be very few nights, perhaps, where games grow out of reach. Cleveland will win some of those. They will win a lot more if they find a way to hit the ball consistently. Free agency was one way to achieve this. Trades are another.
Hoping for somebody we already know to suddenly figure something out is a third option that the organization appears to cherish for various reasons. It seems to be the one with which the team is moving forward. For now.
I hope it works! That will be fun, but there may be a lot of games like this one instead.