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Cleveland drops first game to Toronto, 4-1

Aaron Civale and Josh Naylor tried, at least

Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Indians - Game One Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

The final box score will say that Aaron Civale allowed four earned runs today, but in reality, the defense was to blame for one of them.

Two were undoubtedly the fault of Civale — Teoscar Hernández and Rowdy Tellez each homered in the top of the fourth. But before that, in the third, a circus of defensive miscues helped the Blue Jays get on the board to start the doubleheader.

First, Joe Panik got on base with a single that should have been caught by Harold Ramirez charging in from center field. Amed Rosario called him off, lost the ball in the sun, and sat down in the fetal position to avoid getting hit by the tiny white ball of death. In the next at-bat, Civale was tabbed with a wild pitch that allowed Panik to reach second. It probably should have been a passed ball, though, seeing as it hit Austin Hedges’ glove before careening away.

And finally, as the coup de grace, Owen Miller’s throw to first base on an attempted double play went just out of Jake Bauers’ reach and a run scored.

Considering Cleveland lost by more than one, it wasn’t a huge difference, but still an ugly inning regardless. The 109.6 mph and 108.6 mph homers that Civale gave up to Tellez and Hernández were much more damaging in the end.

Civale wasn’t able to finish the “complete game” over seven innings, being pulled after allowing back-to-back hits to start the final frame. He finished the day having thrown his cutter 23 times, four-seamer 18 times, slider 15 times, splitter 14 times, and his curveball and sinker a combined 17 times to round out his 87 pitches. The splitter was whiffed on 50% of the time. He threw each of his six pitches at least once as first pitches and turned primarily to his cutter and splitter the few times he fell behind in counts.

It all added up to a final line of 10 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2 HR. The fourth run of the afternoon would come on a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh with Phil Maton on the mound.

Maton, who only pitched in the seventh inning, struck out two batters and walked one, in addition to giving up the long out that resulted in a sac fly.

Offensively, only Josh Naylor appeared to be awake on a lazy Sunday afternoon at the ballpark. The Canadian-born outfielder was 3-for-3 on the day, with his homer as the only Cleveland run to cross the plate. It was his fifth of the season and first since May 18. It was also the hardest-hit ball of the day at 112.3 mph. In case you’re wondering, that’s not even his hardest hit of the season, but it’s close.

Cleveland will hit the locker room, hopefully regroup, and come out with bats in their hands for Game 2 this evening.

Corner Pieces

  • This was Josh Naylor’s third three-hit game of the season, and he did it in just seven innings.
  • The wind wasn’t Friday levels of insane but clearly messed with a couple of fly balls. Harold Ramirez’s spirit was tested out there.
  • Jake Bauers has three hits in the last 10 days. All three came on May 24 against the Tigers.

Wait, what?

Jordan Romano’s warm-up routine is bizarre to watch. That’s my #analysis.

What’s next

The Blue Jays, again.