Everyone who watched this night will remember where they were when Hall of Famer Ernie Clement began his ascension. Even Miguel Cabrera stepped aside to let the youngster have his time in the spotlight. Could he have cranked a couple of the meatballs that Zach Plesac left him over the plate for his 500th home run? Maybe, but he knew he was in the presence of real history tonight.
Slight exaggeration aside, Ernie Clement did have a very good game tonight, going 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs that also happened to be the first and second of his MLB career.
Neither of Clement’s homers were even hit that hard, relatively. His third-inning solo shot was hit at 99.6 mph — the 17th hardest hit of the game — and his lead-off home run in the seventh was hit only slightly harder at 100.8 mph. I’m not saying I could hit a ball that hard, or hit a ball at all, but Eric Haase crushed a 113.1 mph lineout at one point in this game.
Barrels are important and it’s cool that he managed to drop these dingers over the wall is what I guess I’m getting at here.
✅ Ernie Clement's first big league homer! @Indians | #OurCLE pic.twitter.com/HbFFdS1cy3— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) August 13, 2021
The recently recalled Yu Chang had a day for himself as well, going 2-for-4 with a triple and a home run. Coincidentally, he also had a triple in his last game in the majors (against the White Sox on July 31). This was his first multi-extra base hit game, though, and his home run was scorched at 105.2 mph off Joe Jiménez.
If you didn’t watch this game because the Cavs were playing or you just had better things to do, don’t panic about Franmil Reyes. He only had two plate appearances before being, ahem, removed from the game.
He took umbrage with a call sinker on the outer edge of the zone and yelled about it on the way back to the dugout, but apparently dragged it out a hair too long as the umpire tossed him before he made it all the way back. Reyes turned around quickly to plead his case, and I would assume the ump saw his life flash before his eyes as Kyle Hudson does his best to hold Franmil back.
Franmil Reyes was thrown out of the game after arguing with the home plate umpire over a called strike. pic.twitter.com/IxaJbpj2Mc— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) August 14, 2021
Zach Plesac soaked up some of Ernie’s brilliance and turned in his own great performance — 7.2 innings, nine strikeouts, no walks, and two earned runs off five hits. It was Plesac’s longest outing since coming off the injured list, and his highest strikeout total of the season.
It was against the Tigers, sure, but last time out they shelled him for four earned runs over four innings. He’s clearly improving something. He located his four-seamer well, inducing 15 called strikes with maybe a wee bit of help from the home plate umpire.
Here are all of his called strikes and balls on four-seamers. I see nothing wrong here whatsoever.
Bryan Shaw did his job out of the bullpen — albeit with his usual moment of terror when he allowed a single before having to face Cabrera with two outs. He worked ahead, nearly fell behind, and eventually got the big man to fly out and put history off for another day at least.
Conversely, James Karinchak seems to look worse every outing. His lead-off walk in the bottom of the ninth was Cleveland’s first and only of the night and he followed it up by giving up a solo home run. Tigers batters had no issue tracking his pitches — they swung at 12 of them and whiffed just twice with four balls put in play. Even though he did manage to get the final three outs after the two-run homer, two of three were hard hits and even the ground out could have found its way to the outfield with a misaligned shift.
The silver lining of Karinchak’s outing is that he was brought in with a huge lead and couldn’t blow it. Right now, that appears to be what he needs.
Anyway, don’t let Karinchak’s struggles distract you from the fact that Cleveland won a 7-4 ball game in Detroit and snapped their losing streak. They’ll go for tomorrow at 6:10 p.m. ET.