The Tribe’s series with the Blue Jays definitely gave us a lot of reasons for hope. We were able to get a glimpse of what the team was capable of doing when things were clicking on all cylinders. However, tonight’s game against the Rays unfortunately exposed a few of our deficiencies.
Zach McAllister pitched an okay game for us, but he still struggled in a lot of the same areas as he did last season. Now that does not automatically mean he has not matured since last season, but I’m just saying he didn’t show it tonight. He started off alright but allowed two runs in both the 4th and 5th innings. My main problem with McAllister’s outing tonight was that he gave up some key hits at crucial times when he was ahead in the count. In both the 4th and 5th inning rallies by the Rays, McAllister had the count in his favor multiple times, but would end up missing his location badly and leaving the ball in the heart of the plate. Additionally, he was not able to pick up his defense in the 5th inning after Mike Aviles made an error at 3rd base. There were already two outs in the inning when Aviles booted a ball hit by the speedy Desmond Jennings. However, McAllister couldn’t limit the damage as he yielded a two-run double to Ben Zobrist later in the inning. This is something we saw often last year in terms of McAllister not being able to pick up his defense.
Before I comment on the offense I have to give credit to Matt Moore for a stellar performance for the Rays. Sometimes there are nights when hitters get themselves out by swinging at bad pitches and having a bad approach at the plate. Then there are other nights when the starting pitcher is just on top of his game that day and you just have to tip your cap to him. I think that this was one of those games for Tribe, and you have to give Moore some props.
That being said, tonight’s game exposed an area of the offense that everyone knew was eventually going to be exposed: strikeouts. The Tribe struck out 11 times on the night, which makes it hard to start and/or maintain rallies. Though tonight any sort of rally was pretty much nonexistent after the 3rd inning when Michael Bourn got his 2nd hit (the only two hits of the night for the Tribe).
Over the course of a 162 game season though, every team is bound to run into a game like this now and then. It’s important that the Tribe bounces back tomorrow and puts tonight’s loss behind them. Speaking of tomorrow, I must say that I am quite looking forward to watching Trevor Bauer’s Tribe debut. I believe Bauer has sky-high potential, and even though it’s just going to be a spot start for him, I’m excited to see firsthand what our top pitching prospect has in store for us.