Despite the struggles of CC Sabathia and Trevor Bauer this season, this game did not turn into a blowout. Sabathia left early due to a knee issue, but he managed to hold the damage to a minimum while in the game. Bauer battled throughout the afternoon, and ended up pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing just 1 ER on 2 hits. Even though he’s struggled to keep the ball in the park at times this season, he gave up no home runs to a team that is third in all of baseball in homers. The Indians still stranded 11 on base and went just 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, but managed to make the most of the runs they scored. After allowing the Yankees to come back and tie the game in the bottom of the 7th, Francisco Lindor hit the go-ahead (and eventually game winning) home run off of Dellin Betances in the top of the 8th. It was just the third home run, and tenth earned run that Betances has allowed all season.
Lindor had an incredible series against the Yankees – he went 7 for 17, including 6 for 9 in the final two games. Lindor’s season line is up to .298/.332/.424 with 6 home runs, which is even more impressive when you consider that projections had him at .256/.302/.371 with 2 home runs (ZiPS) or .244/.291/.342 with 2 home runs (Steamer). I figured that someone who is just 21-years-old , who is known more for his defense than his offense, would be close in line with the projections. So far, Lindor has greatly surpassed offensive expectations. He’s been an exciting player to watch this year, even before he hit the go-ahead home run today.
Carlos Santana put the Indians on the board in the first inning with a 2-run home run; the first he’s hit from the right side of the plate this season. Even though Santana has hit 14 home runs from the left side of the plate, his average is a bit lower – .216/.352/.435 than it is from the right side of the plate – .239/.345/.282. You almost have to wonder why they didn’t opt to just have him stick to batting left handed this year, but perhaps they were trying to work with him to improve his numbers from the right side. The Indians got their other run in the top of the fifth inning, when Yankees reliever Branden Pinder walked Abraham Almonte with the bases loaded.
As for Bauer, he managed to get the job done, but it wasn’t always pretty. As evidenced from the heat map of today’s start, he was still a bit all over the place (you can click here if you want to reference heat maps from a few other starts):
Bauer definitely gave his team a chance to win; without the throwing error by Yan Gomes in the bottom of the 3rd inning he would’ve held the Yankees scoreless until their rally in the bottom of the 7th. Bauer walked Stephen Drew to lead off the inning, but managed to strike out Alex Rodriguez for the first out. Terry Francona went to the bullpen, and reliever Kyle Crockett gave up a double to Jacoby Ellsbury, which left runners at second and third with just one out. It looked like the Indians may be able to get out of it – Crockett struck out the next batter, Brett Gardner, for the second out. Francona again went to the bullpen, and Bryan Shaw gave up a ground-rule double to Carlos Beltran that plated both Drew and Ellsbury (with Drew credited to Bauer). He got Brian McCann to ground out to end the inning. Shaw came back out for the 8th, and with 2 out and 1 on, Francona went to closer Cody Allen who managed to get the final four outs without incident (striking out 3 of the 4).
The Indians now head to Chicago for their one-game makeup against the Chicago Cubs, then it’s back to Cleveland for a homestand. Even though the Indians put up a disappointing performance against the Red Sox, they did a nice job against a tough Yankees team on their home turf.