In another close contest with the Kansas City Royals, Harold Ramirez came up big for Cleveland, plating both the game-tying and go-ahead runs in a 7-3 victory over the AL Central leaders.
The mystery of Mike Minor
I don’t know what it is about Mike Minor that flummoxes anyone wearing a Cleveland uniform, but he continued his mastery for most of the night. Cleveland didn’t have a hit against him until Josh Naylor’s single up the middle in the fifth inning, with was promptly followed by back-to-back strikeouts from Amed Rosario and Yu Chang. Amed Rosario, in particular, seems to have lost all discipline at the plate, striking out four times in one night.
But the club finally managed to break through against Minor in the sixth inning. Cesar Hernandez doubled down the third-base line, Jordan Luplow walked, and then José Ramírez reached on an infield single — more on that later — to load the bases with one out. Kansas City manager Mike Matheny gave Minor the hook and brought in Greg Holland to face Franmil Reyes. Reyes plated two runs thanks to a sharp grounder that took a fortunate hop over the head and glove of shortstop Nicky Lopez, cutting the Royals’ lead to 3-2. Harold Ramirez came to the plate next and completed the comeback with an RBI single to left to even the score.
Not only did Ramirez tie the game, but he also delivered the go-ahead run. With the game still knotted at 3-3 in the eighth inning, Reyes drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ramirez followed with an RBI double down the first-base line to bring in Reyes and give Cleveland their first lead of the game. Josh Naylor proceeded to add an insurance run with an opposite-field RBI single to score Ramirez from second.
Jake Bauers(!) blasted a two-run homer in the same inning to extend Cleveland’s lead to 7-3, capping another late-game offensive burst to sink the Royals.
The bullpen of Cleveland
Because the club has traded away all of their starting pitching depth, the demotion of Logan Allen meant a bullpen game for Cleveland with Phil Maton serving as the “opener.” Maton pitched a scoreless first inning but ran into trouble in the second, surrendering a run before giving way to Sam Hentges. Hentges was the scheduled starter but was only stretched out to 55-75 pitches, so Cleveland opted to tap Maton to unroll the welcome mat to start the game.
Hentges’ outing was something of a mixed bag. He had a near-disastrous third inning — more on that later — but managed to limit the damage to one run before Salvador Perez took him deep in the fifth inning to extend the Royals’ lead to 3-0. Hentges lasted 3.1 innings, allowing six hits, two runs, and two walks and recording two strikeouts. His curveball looked good, but he relied heavily on his four-seam fastball, which didn’t draw a single swing-and-miss.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the night by a Cleveland pitcher was from Nick Sandlin. Making his second big league appearance, Sandlin pitched a clean 1.1 innings, notching a strikeout and preventing any of the hitters he faced from reaching base.
Cal Quantrill pitched the final two frames to close it out.
The incompetence of Ángel Hernández
Death, taxes, and Ángel Hernández failing to perform the minimum duties and responsibilities expected of an umpire. The worst umpire in Major League Baseball added yet another chapter to his storybook career of staggering incompetence Tuesday night.
Allow me to set the scene: Third inning. One out. Salvador Perez is at the plate. Andrew Benintendi is on second base and Whit Merrifield is on third. Perez sends a fly ball to the warning track in right-center, where Harold Ramirez and Josh Naylor have converged. Ramirez fails to make the catch and Naylor picks it up off the bounce, throwing it in to Amed Rosario at second. Merrifield has scored, but Benintendi looks confused. He starts to run to third before having second thoughts and returning to second, where he is tagged out by Rosario.
It seemed that Benintendi was confused as to whether or not the ball was caught and if he needed to tag up before heading to third. He evidently pled his case to the umpires, who gathered for a conference to talk it over. Inexplicably, Ángel Hernández awarded Benintendi third base.
If you’re confused, welcome to the club. Evidently, because the play occurred in front of the scoreboard in right-center field, no one on the field saw the play cleanly, and that included the entire umpiring crew. The umpires’ solution was to reward the Royals. There has been speculation that Hernández, the first base umpire, mistakenly signaled catch and was atoning for his error by awarding Benintendi third base, which still doesn’t make much sense.
Noted bad umpire, Ángel Hernández blows a couple easy ones, a breakdown pic.twitter.com/3KSAEUu3jM— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) May 5, 2021
Then in the sixth inning, José Ramírez hit an infield chopper and beat the throw to first but was called out by Hernández. Thankfully the call was overturned by the replay crew.
Just another day at the ballpark for Ángel Hernández.