This morning we wondered whether the Indians would continue their slow climb towards .500 in their first home game since the All-Star Break, or if the White Sox would knock them down a peg. The answer was most definitely the latter, as the team that entered the game with the worst offense in the American League hit three home runs of Trevor Bauer and routed the Indians 8-1.
Bauer started off the game fairly well with three scoreless innings to match those pitched by White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija. However in the fourth inning the wheels came off quickly and the game spiraled out of control for Bauer and the Indians. Melky Cabrera started the damage with a solo home run to right center to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. Later in that same inning Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia singled, and Alexei Ramirez hit what looked like a monster shot over the center field wall to make it 4-0. Bauer returned in the fifth inning and Adam Eaton added another solo shot to make it 5-0.
The Indians scored their only run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Michael Bourn singled, moved to second on a Jason Kipnis ground out, and scored on a single to center by Francisco Lindor. White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija was tremendous in allowing just four hits and one run over eight innings. If this was his final start with Chicago, he’s going out on top.
Bauer actually pitched into the seventh inning, likely to save the bullpen with the game already out of hand, but was quickly relieved by Kyle Crockett after walking Geovany Soto. Crockett was arguably worse than Bauer, allowing a sacrifice fly to Tyler Saladino and giving up a two-run home run to Cabrera to make it 8-1.
There isn’t really much to say here. The Indians were embarrassed at home yet again. One of the many reasons the Tribe doesn’t draw well at Progressive Field is the fact that they are just 19-27 at home vs 26-22 on the road. Like it or not, the Indians simply don’t have the same rope the Browns do with the fans, and they’re not nearly as a good a team as the Cavs. If they want to get more people down to Progressive Field, they need to win more often there. Fans don’t hate the Tribe, they feel apathy for them, and that might be even worse.
Speaking of worse, Bauer has been much worse in his two starts since the All-Star Break, allowing eleven runs in just ten innings pitched. A big problem for him throughout the season has been the long ball. After giving up just sixteen home runs all of last year, Bauer has already allowed seventeen this year. If the Indians do wind up trading a pitcher such as Carlos Carrasco for another bat, they’ll need Bauer to pitch much better to keep things from really falling apart.
It’s July 24, and at this point in the season you have to figure that this is simply who the Indians are, a team that doesn’t have enough offense to climb above .500. Yet there’s still 68 games left, and one hot streak could put the Tribe back into serious contention for a Wild Card berth. Keep your fingers crossed Tribe fans, and we’ll see what happens.