Yan Gomes and Marlon Byrd had good nights at the plate for the Indians.
I try not to get too worked up about umpires when I watch games. They’re human beings and mistakes are possible…usually for every bad call you could point to 3 or 4 missed opportunities by the team. And while you can definitely look at a number of missed opportunities for the Indians in Monday night’s game, I keep coming back to the two plays that were under review at first base in the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth innings. The combination of these two review plays led to the Twins scoring three runs, and kept the Indians from scoring an additional run. And left me upset enough that I had to close my windows so my neighbors didn’t call the police on my stream of screamed profanities.
I’ll start with the two review plays and move on to the other issues in this game. There were two outs in the bottom of the fifth when Danny Santana singled on a ball to Francisco Lindor. It’s the kind of play he’d usually make, but he couldn’t get a handle on the ball and Santana was safe. (Add a tally to the “non-umpire issues column”) Santana was leaning a bit too far off of first base, and when he dove back in, Napoli got the tag on him before his hand got to the base. He was called safe and the Indians challenged the play. I understand that when it’s inconclusive, New York tends to uphold the call on the field. But this didn’t look all that inconclusive to me; on a slow-motion replay, it seemed obvious that Napoli got the tag down on Santana’s arm in time. I was annoyed, but that alone didn’t infuriate me…yet. Santana went to second on a balk from Danny Salazar, and he and Eduardo Nunez eventually scored on a Brian Dozier double. Miguel Sano singled home Dozier to make it 3-2 Twins at that point.
In the top of the 6th inning, Yan Gomes grounded to shortstop, and first baseman Byung Ho Park wasn’t able to hold onto the throw. The call on the field was safe…but the Twins challenged. The play was overturned and Yan Gomes was called out at first. The next batter, Marlon Byrd, doubled. Gomes likely would’ve scored on that point, but now the bases were empty. I think when you have two similar situations (the original call probably should’ve been overturned in both cases) you have to be consistent with the decisions. You can’t cherry pick which teams get to benefit from an overturned call, and which get burned by it. I think that’s when shoddy umpiring ends up making me the most angry; when it’s not consistent for both teams on the field. Because let’s face it – sometimes calls are terrible for both teams, but at least there’s some consistency. Neither pitcher gets the low strike call, or perhaps all of the hitters seem to have a gigantic strike zone. But these review calls weren’t even something made in the spur of the moment, they were carefully considered by the entire crew and the review staff in New York. I expect better from them, or I at least expect more uniformity.
The Indians managed to tie the game in the top of the eighth on a Yan Gomes home run, but Zach McAllister surrendered a lead-off home run to Oswaldo Arcia in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Twins the walk-off victory.
Salazar wasn’t at his sharpest tonight. Not bad by any means, but he just didn’t seem to have the command that he’s had in his other starts so far this year. The bullpen (other than that one bad pitch from McAllister) was pretty solid. The offense was a bit more frustrating – the Indians managed to out-hit the Twins 12-5 but still only managed three runs. They had a lot of singles, and left 10 people on base. Mike Napoli had a really rough night at the plate, and was obviously frustrated by some of the umpire’s inconsistent ball/strike calls. It looked like he was so baffled by the strike zone by the end of the night, he had no idea what he was doing…he ended up going 0 for 5 with three strikeouts. Carlos Santana, Marlon Byrd, Juan Uribe, Jose Ramirez, and Rajai Davis all went 2 for 4, but still couldn’t manage to put together any big innings at the plate.
It’s a letdown to go into Minnesota and lose a winnable game after the weekend the Indians had in Detroit (and it looks like they just missed a Miguel Cabrera break-out, he went 4 for 4 with 2 home runs and a double against Oakland on Monday night). I’m not optimistic about Tuesday night’s game, with Cody Anderson starting against Ricky Nolasco (who has been solid for the Twins so far) so I hoped the Indians could start the series with a win. We just have to hope that Anderson steps up and improves upon his past two outings. Not just for the sake of Tuesday’s game, but because with Carlos Carrasco’s injury the Indians need him now more than ever.