The Indians were two outs away from ending a 34-year no-hitter drought. It wasn’t the prettiest no-hitter you could dream of; combined no-hitters always carry a whiff of inferiority. But there’s something intoxicating about the zero in the H column. For a guy like me, I have yet to actually watch a no-hitter outside of, say, a 14 year-old Danny Almonte with random strands of facial hair overpowering 10 year-olds at Williamsport. That doesn’t really count. I guess I could’ve stuck around to watch Ervin Santana finish his gem against the Indians while still with the Angels. But I’m a sore loser, and it was making me very cranky, so I found something else to do.
The fact that it actually became a thing was a bit of a surprise in itself. After being a strike-throwing machine in Goodyear, Trevor Bauer’s (6 INN/11 SO/5 BB) control deserted him early on as he was over the 50-pitch mark in just two innings. If it weren’t for the Astros being, well, genuinely offensively hapless, Bauer likely would not have been able to make it as far as he did. As it were, the Astros were more than happy to make Bauer’s rocky day feel a lot better than it actually was.
It is way too early in the season for Terry Francona to even consider pushing Bauer’s pitch-count, so Kyle Crockett worked the seventh. The ageless Scott Atchison got some work in the eighth, but Nick Hagadone gave up the lone hit and shutout in one fell swoop as Jed Lowrie sent one into orbit before Hagadone could even get his head around to access the damage. And so it goes, the 12,382 days since Len Barker’s perfecto against the Blue Jays counts on.
(That was May 15, 1981. Exactly one week before my second birthday.)
Disappointment aside, this was a highly encouraging start to the season. Both Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis look healthy. Jose Ramirez, for now, has quieted the Francisco Lindor Brigade, by driving in two and launching his first homer of the season. J-Ram also showed off some quick feet as he scored on a swinging bunt. Backup catcher Roberto Perez also drove in two, including using the short left-field for his first homer on the year.
The Indians ruined Astros’ starter Asher Wojciechowski’s (4 INN/8 H/4 ER/2 SO/2 BB) Major League debut as they did more than enough considering Houston’s futility with the bats. The Astros struck out 16 times today alone, running the three-game total to an astounding 36 punchouts.
Bottom line? Two outta three ain’t bad. That’s the goal. And now with the rest of the month of April being effectively all within the division, the guys could get a good idea where they stack up early on. Time to go home, boys. Bring on the Tigers.
W: Trevor Bauer (1-0); L: Asher Wojciechowski (0-1)