This was not a particularly enjoyable game to watch.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some very nice and enjoyable things that happened on the baseball diamond today, but those moments were dominated by a frustrating offensive showing and effective pitching that fell short of dominating. In many respects, this game was a microcosm of the Indians season and it leaves us quite a bit to reflect on as we head into the All-Star Break.
First, though, let’s talk about Trevor Bauer, who is definitively establishing himself as a Major League pitcher. While rarely dominant in his starts this season, he has managed to make incremental improvements on his game every time he toes the rubber. This afternoon, Bauer went 6.2 scoreless innings, managing to pitch around 8 hits and 2 walks with a career-high 10 strikeouts. He was definitely effective, but he was probably a little bit lucky to escape all afternoon unscathed. Either way, it was a career day for the young pitcher and it’s incredibly fun to watch him put his game together piece by piece this season.
An example of Bauer’s good fortune on the afternoon: in the second inning Connor Gillaspie led off the inning with a single, but was erased on a 7-3 double play when he lackadaisically sauntered back to first after a fly out to Mike Aviles in left. Aviles did have to range a bit towards the stands on the play, but getting doubled up there was absolutely inexcusable. The White Sox would then collect two straight hits, but couldn’t capitalize due to Gillaspie’s gaffe.
The Indians offense that sleepwalked through Saturday’s game again hit snooze one too many times on Sunday. Through seven innings the Tribe had managed to turn 10 baserunners (7 H, 2 BB, 1 E) into only a precarious one run lead. The bullpen (which seems to consist only of Scrabble, Shaw, and Allen most days) has been fantastic recently, but Shaw surrendered two runs in the top of the 8th to essentially put the game out of reach…. or so it seemed.
Nick Swisher led off the bottom of the 8th with a single to left, and Yan Gomes (who had the sole RBI in the game to that point), served a pitch over the wall down the right field line to give the Indians the lead again.
Cody “Automatic” Allen quickly retired the heart of the White Sox order in the top of the 9th inning. I really can’t say enough about the dominant closer he has turned out to be.
It was a win we didn’t really deserve (but kind of did), and it was rarely pretty, but it was a win that we got. The victory sends the Indians into the All Star Break right at .500. The questions about the defense and the lineup and the rotation remain unanswered, but the Indians will come back after the break and try to go on a run to launch themselves back into the playoff picture.