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Cleveland capitalizes on bullpen meltdown, walks off on Blue Jays, 6-5

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Scoring two runs without a hit still counts!

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

Runs, runs, pitching, pitching, blah blah LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT BOTTOM OF THE SEVENTH.

Few things in baseball are worse when they are happening to your team yet amazing when it benefits your team than a pitcher losing every bit of feel for his pitches on the mound. Today that Tyler Chatwood putting out an ABP on any pitch that could find the zone. He found none, ended up walking in four straight batters — including the tying run — to set up the game-winning sacrifice fly.

In the end, Cleveland won, 6-5, without registering a single hit in the bottom of the seventh.

I feel bad for Chatwood on a human level, absolutely, but in a competition, nothing is better than seeing this chart from the opposing pitcher.

Chatwood got Josh Naylor to swing on a 1-0 sinker for an out before it was clear that his arm and prefrontal cortex were no longer connected and he was unable to will his limbs into doing what he wanted. After that, though, it was four straight walks then José Ramírez taking a 2-0 pitch just deep enough to get Bradley Zimmer home.

Because of the doubleheader rules — those beautiful, wonderful doubleheader rules — Cleveland walks away with a split by quite literally the narrowest of margins.

OK, fine the rest of the game. Cleveland’s offense looked a lot like did in Game 1 throughout most of the second match. Their only baserunners through the first five innings were Harold Ramirez being hit by a pitch, followed by Eddie Rosario reaching on a fielder’s choice, and finally, Yu Chang singling in the third (Cesar Hernandez ended that with a double play two batters later).

They finally woke up in the sixth, however. Chang led off the frame getting on base via an error, then four straight hits put Cleveland within one. With no outs on the board, Harold Ramirez hit into a double play that plated a run but led to a shorter inning than they probably would have liked. Toronto would score one in the top of the seventh to make it a tie it at five before the wonderfully weird bottom half happened.

Nobody on the offense had more than one hit today, but obviously, no at-bats were bigger than José Ramírez hitting a sac fly for the walk-off win.

Sam Hentges wasn’t able to replicate the brilliance of Aaron Civale’s Game 1 start, but that is to be expected. The Blue Jays are thumpers up and down the lineup, a lot of them right-handed. The lefty rookie Hentges allowed four earned runs through his 2.1 innings of work, before Jean Carlos Mejia, held them scoreless over the next 1.2, and Nick Wittgren, Trevor Stephan, and Emmanuel Clase combined to close out the game over the final three frames.

Hentges’ touch-and-go changeup was nowhere to be seen, and he instead relied on his four-seamer 22 times, his curveball 20 times, and his slider a dozen. His average four-seam velocity was down a bit, mostly due to inconsistency than a startling drop.

Corner Pieces

  • Despite getting hit hard, Sam Hentges induced a game-high nine swings and misses, mostly with his slider.
  • The cover photo of this recap is of Yu Chang being tagged out by Bo Bichette at second. It makes very little sense for the recap but there are no other good photos at the time of publication please accept my deepest apologies.

Wait, what?

Tyler Chatwood threw 32 pitches before being pulled from the game — Cleveland only swung three times.

What’s next

Two more baseball games Monday against the White Sox. The first is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET with Triston McKenzie (their 27th man for the game) starting.