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Cleveland encourages fans to get good night’s sleep with early-inning implosion

A bad night for Sam Hentges

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Recognizing the toll that this West Coast road trip has likely taken on the sleeping habits of their fans watching from home back in Ohio, Cleveland decided to give back to their dedicated following by surrendering six runs to the Los Angeles Angels in the first two innings, allowing fans to go to bed at a decent hour with the knowledge that a fourth straight loss was all but assured.

Cleveland led from the first pitch of the game after Cesar Hernandez took Patrick Sandoval’s first offering and deposited it into the bullpen beyond left field, where James Karinchak tried and failed to catch the home run ball with his cap. Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Sam Hentges struggled with command issues. He threw 28 pitches in the first inning and only 13 of them went for strikes. Back-to-back walks to Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout and a wild pitch gave the Angels an early scoring opportunity and they capitalized, evening the score with an RBI groundout. Then the Los Angeles lineup went to work in the second inning, teeing off on Hentges with a pair of doubles — both with an identical exit velocity of 108.7 mph — and a single sandwiched in between to plate two runs.

But the worst was yet to come (and in the same inning). Hentges walked his third batter of the game, putting runners on first and third with one out. Ohtani then took a shoulder-high fastball and muscled it into a three-run homer, extending the Angels’ lead to 6-1 and effectively putting the game out of reach for Cleveland in the second inning. Hentges nearly gave up another home run to Anthony Rendon before manager Terry Francona finally gave him the hook. His final line was horrid: 1.2 innings pitched, 5 hits, 3 walks, 6 earned runs, and 1 strikeout.

Cleveland’s mop-up crew fared better than Hentges. Trevor Stephan entered with two outs in the second inning and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out three and only giving up a couple hits and a single walk. Nick Sandlin took over in the fifth and proceeded to steamroll the Angels, pitching two scoreless innings without allowing a baserunner and recording four strikeouts.

Cal Quantrill failed to hold serve in the seventh inning, giving up back-to-back singles before Jared Walsh lined an RBI double into right field to make it a 7-3 lead for Los Angeles. But Nick Wittgren pitched a scoreless eighth to put the Angels’ bats back to sleep.

At the plate, Cleveland had a handful of opportunities over the final seven frames to cut into the Angels’ early 6-1 lead. In the second inning, Cesar Hernandez scored from second on a two-out RBI single from Jose Ramirez. In the fifth inning, trailing 6-2, Cleveland had runners on first and second with no outs before Tony Watson entered the game in relief of Sandoval and proceeded to record three straight strikeouts to slam the door on that potential rally.

Franmil Reyes tattooed a hanging slider from Hunter Strickland in the sixth inning to reduce the deficit to three runs. Cleveland had a chance to add more with one out and runners on first and second, but Amed Rosario and Rene Rivera squandered the opportunity.

Harold Ramirez added a solo home run in the eighth to give us a final score of 7-4.

Injury Notes

Mike Trout was pulled from the game at the end of the first inning after suffering a calf strain while running from second to third base on an inning-ending popout. Jordan Luplow departed shortly after him with a left ankle sprain that apparently occurred while he was running out a groundout.