One of the comments in the open thread during today’s game noted that Bauer grew up during the 3rd inning. Indeed he did. Now I know that giving up a walk and two runs and being faced with two men on and only one out isn’t as great a test of character as, say, a genuine life-threatening situation, but it can tell you a lot about a pitcher. Does he get flustered? Does the pitcher try too hard, throwing wild pitches and passed balls? Or does the pitcher keep his head in the game, put the mistakes behind him, and stay cool? Watching Trevor Bauer a year ago, I would have pegged him for losing his cool. Instead, during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Colorado Rockies, Bauer got himself into a tough situation and then got himself out of it. He did indeed start the 3rd inning with a walk, then gave up two runs in rapid succession. With one out and two men on, he proceeded to strike out Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki to end the inning. Bauer’s line for the day: 6 innings pitched, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts. Perhaps not Corey Kluber in training, but a darn fine start.
While Bauer had a quality start and kept the Indians in the game, the big heroes of the day were Mike Aviles and Lonnie Chisenhall, who accounted for all of the Indians runs with 4 and 3 RBI, respectively. Chisenhall started the scoring with an RBI single in the 2nd, followed by a 3-run homer by Aviles. Chisenhall smacked a two-run dinger in the 6th inning to make the score 6-2. Things looked good, and then Scott Atchison came in and gave up a home run to Corey Dickerson and Josh Outman gave up a home run to Charlie Blackmon and suddenly the score was tied at 6 and the bird stopped singing and it looked like Bauer’s fine outing would be for naught.
Then a funny thing happened: the Indians played ball. Smart, small ball. In the bottom of the 8th, Jason Kipnis walked. Lonnie Chisenhall came up and laid down a textbook bunt to move Kipnis to 2nd and into scoring position. Aviles came to bat and decided 3 RBI on the day wasn’t enough and he needed to make it 4. One single to right field later, the score was 7-6 and that’s where it stayed.
The Indians “only” committed one error today, this time a throwing error by David Murphy. He hadn’t committed an error in 127 games so apparently it was his turn or something. Perhaps the only downsides to today’s game are that Bauer got a no decision instead of a win and Michael Brantley’s 19-game home hitting streak and 15-game hitting streak ended. But a win is still a win. And the Indians haven’t won a series since sweeping the Tigers couple weeks ago. Overall, it was a fine day at the ballpark. The Indians go for the sweep of the Rockies tomorrow at 1:05.