The most important race in baseball this season is the Rosario/Ramirez Primacy Race.
Cleveland called up Harold Ramirez today. They already spotted two Rosarios. They’ve declared their intentions explicitly via actions and I have no choice but to assume Bo Naylor is on the way to the show just to add to the fun. What is service time in the face of trivial nonsense?
To get the most important things out of the way, here is where we stand as of tonight:
RAMIREZ: José is the leader and it is hard to imagine Harold Ramirez edging him out. However, not a bad performance! He is far from being demoted to Ramirez #3. There is no third Ramirez. It would be a PR disaster for Harold and he surely knows this.
ROSARIO: Eddie is my leader. Amed shows some GUMPTION, and he shows some FIGHT and occasional CHUTZPAH but does he have the CHOPS, I dunno. Northeast Ohio Infielders and Outfielders, what can they hit, can they hit things, let’s find out!
Now that we’ve established Rosarios no. 1 and 2 and Ramirezes no. 1 and 2, we can proceed with the recap.
Civale the First
Aaron Civale didn’t do anything awful today. It’s also the least impressive I’ve seen him in a little while. Also, he was fine.
The reality is that he nearly finished six innings while allowing three runs. I rail against the quality start because it’s somewhat arbitrary, but the reality is that it remains a decent barometer. This is actually great news — Civale’s ERA is still a healthy 3.20. All after this, a “bad game.”
I could sit here and complain that he threw 39 balls against 61 strikes tonight. But, I dunno. We won. And we did it despite some weird plays. We’re spoiled as Cleveland Baseball Extended Universe fans when it comes to pitching and it is good to remember this on occasion.
Rosario #2 booted a grounder up the middle in the second. If handled it should have ended the inning via double play. Despite the initial mistake, Rosario #2 snagged the ball mid-carom and tossed it to second, eliminating the lead runner.
This proved crucial, as Civale loaded the bases before inducing a groundout from Whit Merrifield. Rosario #2 should have turned two, but if any little leaguers are reading this: Well, I have so many other questions, but that it is why you always finish a play.
Rosario #1 found a way to keep things interesting in the top of the fourth. After Franmil Reyes doubled, Rosario laid down an excellent bunt. He nearly beat it for a single but advanced Reyes to third nonetheless.
I recognize that this bunt is less endearing when viewed after Josh Naylor doubled in Reyes to tie the game. Whether acting on his own or not, I still like it. He forced the defense to make a great play and he moved the runner to third. This team isn't perfect, so maybe we just need to celebrate when Something Neat happens.
WHIT COULD BE BRIEFER
The good feelings continued until Whit Merrifield homered. This appears to be his job when playing against Cleveland: killing the vibe. Franmil Reyes perked things back up by singling home two to tie the game.
Rosario #1 solidified his claim as such with a three-run home run off of Jacob Junis in the 7th. Junis responded by allowing a two-run shot to Josh Naylor after Ramirez #2 reached. Bryan Shaw came back in the bottom of the seventh and didn’t look very good. He gave up a run but did get two outs before James Karinchak came in. Karinchak allowed a dinger to Hunter Dozier, but this brought the score to its final total of 8-6. Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth and gave up a hit but nothing else.
He still hasn’t allowed an earned run this season. Neat.
- Ramírez #1 and Cesar Hernandez combined for five walks. In between them, Rosario #2 managed to score twice without recording a walk or a hit. That’ll do for your top three in the order.
- Franmil Reyes is now hitting 300/.333/.644
- Five of nine starters today are still below the Mendoza Line. This does not include Ramirez #2, nor did it at any point. He started his Cleveland career with a base hit.
- The artist currently named Naylor #1 shows signs of life. He homered again tonight and added a double en-route to three RBIs.
.152/.188/.196. This is the current batting line for Yu Chang.
We had such hopes.
Cleveland takes on the Royals again tomorrow night. Sam Hentges makes his first MLB start. It might be weird. It might involve bunts. There could even be a hobbit again. No matter what I’m glad we’ll get to see this get to command a game from the start.