After an offensive burst during yesterday’s game, it looked like the Indians were going to pick up where they left off during the first inning this afternoon. Unfortunately after they jumped out to a 2-0 lead, the offense decided to take the rest of the day off for the most part. They managed just five hits, all singles; two of which came during the first inning outburst. I can’t even say that they didn’t take advantage of opportunities in this one, because really the only opportunities they had came in the first inning. David Murphy led of the fifth inning with a single, but was quickly erased while trying to steal second (on a play that looked more like missed communication by someone on a hit and run). Outside of a handful of walks, it was a pretty quiet afternoon for the Indians’ bats.
Francona had a re-tooled lineup for today’s game that seemed to pay off during the first. Michael Bourn led off the game with a single, and Carlos Santana followed him with a walk. As I mentioned in the open thread, I like someone with Santana’s OBP hitting higher in the lineup. Since he’s not hitting, it makes more sense for him to get on via a walk, and then let someone else hit him in. After a Michael Brantley single to load the bases with nobody out, Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Swisher both hit sacrifice flies. Swisher’s narrowly missed being a home run…off the bat I thought it was gone. So while I commend them for at least managing to hit sacrifice flies (some games, they can’t even do that with a runner on third and fewer than two outs) they still wasted a prime opportunity to break this game open early. I think if I would have known that would be their only opportunity all day, I would have been much more frustrated than I was.
It wasn’t just Miguel Gonzalez that shut the Indians down; after he left the game, the Orioles’ bullpen was nearly perfect in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, allowing just one walk and one hit. Even former Indians prospect Preston Guilmet shut the Tribe down, striking out two of the three batters he faced. The Orioles’ bullpen has been mentioned as one of the worst in baseball so far this season, although the Indians didn’t face any of the major culprits.
While it wasn’t Trevor Bauer’s best outing, I don’t think it was quite as bad as the box score shows. He labored a bit today, but also fell victim to several bloop hits into no-man’s land. Chisenhall had an error, which means the Indians keep their streak of “games with errors” alive. There’s really not much else to say about this one – after the first inning it was all Orioles. The Indians basically just sat by as Baltimore chipped away at their lead and eventually went up 4-2.
The Indians head straight to Chicago to play the White Sox, where Josh Tomlin will take on Jose Quintana.