That hissing sound you hear is the final remnants of any postseason possibility leaking out of Cleveland.
In a game where the Tribe needed Corey Kluber to be sharp, he simply wasn’t. The 4-2 loss for the Indians followed an all-too familiar pattern this season. The opposing team came out swinging aggressively against Kluber early (because it’s no secret he tends to throw strikes). After Corey retired the first two batters in the first inning, the Twins followed with back-to-back doubles by Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano. Then Trevor Plouffe belted a homer into the left field bleachers. Just like that, it was 3-0, Twins.
And the Tribe turned in a typical lack of run support with Kluber on the mound. Francisco Lindor offered some early spark with a solo homer in the first to cut the Twins’ lead to 3-1. Lindor also had the Indians’ only other RBI on a grounder that scored Jason Kipnis from third in the sixth. Again, Lindor added to his case as a serious contender for American League Rookie of the Year.
The Twins tacked on another run off Kluber in the fourth, when a lead-off double by Eddie Rosario was furthered by a hit batter and a walk, setting up a sac fly to get Rosario across the plate.
Kluber did notch six more strikeouts this game, including an impressive 700th K for his career. And the Indians’ bullpen combo of Zach McAllister, Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw (yes, in that unusual order) did a fine job of allowing no additional runs to give the Tribe a chance to claw back into the game.
Strangely for such an important contest, the Tribe seemed flat all night. In fact, when Kipnis hit a lead-off triple in the sixth, he pointedly looked into the dugout from third base and tried to fire up his teammates (see photo above).
They didn’t respond with any meaningful action on the field. And instead of being fired up, they appeared to watch as their dwindling season smoldered into ash.