If you would’ve told me this morning that Cody Anderson would pitch a one-run, six-hit, complete game, while striking out four and walking none, I would’ve been pleased. But since this is the Indians we’re talking about, a phenomenal start like that just wasn’t enough. That’s because the Indians managed just three hits against the Pirates, thanks to soft-tossing lefty Jeff Locke.
As I mentioned during the open thread, Locke has had his share of struggles this year (as well as moments of success…it hasn’t been all bad). Even on their worst day, a pitcher like Locke befuddles the Indians offense. When he’s having a good day, like today, turn out the lights and shut the door. I was at today’s game, and half of my section actually got up and left after the eighth inning, confident that the Indians hitters would not awake from their slumber. They were mostly correct.
That’s because the Indians actually did cause a bit of a threat in the top of the ninth. Locke was only at 89 pitches, but was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth. That meant the Pirates would send closer Mark Melancon to the mound. Terry Francona pinch hit Michael Bourn and David Murphy for Mike Aviles and Cody Anderson to lead off the inning. Despite Bourn’s struggles this year, his hot night at the plate last night led me to agree with this move. Alas, Bourn struck out and Murphy grounded out. With two outs, Melancon walked Jason Kipnis, and gave up a single to Francisco Lindor. Michael Brantley had a chance to play the hero – a single would probably tie the game. Unfortunately he grounded out to end the game.
Anderson has now learned what it’s like to be an Indians pitcher during the 2015 season – you can turn in a stunning performance and still lose the game, thanks to the often-sputtering offense.