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Bullpen implosion spoils Cal Quantrill’s solid start

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Walks and three-run homers were a recipe for disaster today

Cleveland Indians v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Cal Quantrill pitched well and he got a hit — the only thing he couldn’t do was close out his own game.

That’s not entirely his own fault. Cleveland is slowly stretching him out to be a starter, and he’s pitching on short rest as it is. He held the Pirates scoreless over his five innings of work, with two walks and two strikeouts and a heavy dose of sinkers and sliders. And yes, in top of the fifth he even managed a hit, hustling out a ground ball to the shortstop that was close enough to be initially called out but reversed upon video review.

At the time, Cleveland was enjoying a slim 2-0 lead thanks to Quantrill’s efforts and homers from Harold Ramirez and René Rivera in the second and third innings, respectively.

But now we need to talk about the bullpen. Specifically how Blake Parker is a warlock who siphoned the youth out of Bryan Shaw’s arm. His mystical abilities may have hit James Karinchak with splash damage, too.

While Parker worked a clean sixth inning, he cursed the mound upon his exit and caused Shaw to walk three of the four batters he faced. Only three of them because the fourth, Michael Perez, hit a three-run bomb. Karinchak suffered similar issues in the four batters he faced, with three walks and a three-run homer, and even Nick Sandlin walked someone before he got things under control and induced a groundball out to mercifully end the inning.

It wasn’t much, and a four-run lead shouldn’t be insurmountable, but it was all Pittsburgh needed. The attempted ninth-inning comeback started and stopped with Harold Ramirez hitting his second home run of the game. Richard Rodriguez made quick work of Yu Chang and Bradley Zimmer to end the game and that was that.

All in all, this just was kind of a dud of a forgettable game. Ramirez hitting a ball 109.3 mph was fun at least, and Cal Quantrill forming some kind of decent starting pitcher would be a godsend for this team right now. It was against a Pirates lineup that should be really bad, though, so we’ll see if he gets some more pitches and trust from his coaching staff down the road.

In the meantime, Cleveland is in danger of being swept by one of the worst teams in baseball. They’ll turn to Sam Hentges and his 7.47 ERA to help prevent that tomorrow.