The Indians and San Diego Padres played the second of a three-game series on Wednesday night. You probably already know the Tribe lost the series opener 1-0, despite Corey Kluber striking out 10. Going into Wednesday’s game, the Padres had a 35-48 record with a Pythagorean W-L record of 29-54. They had scored 297 runs and allowed 416. The Padres are last in batting average and runs scored in the National League. So you’d think the 44-38 Indians, who had scored 390 runs and allowed only 332, should be able to get a few easy wins. However, the Tribe is at home, where they are 18-22 (whoops, I mean 18-23). Inter-league play is also giving Cleveland problems this season, all of which gave San Diego an abstract yet distinct advantage. They used it.
Trevor Bauer started on the mound for Cleveland. He got six of his seven strikeouts on the night in the first three innings. For his part, Padres starting pitcher Luis Perdomo gave up a few hits but also induced a lot of ground balls. The Indians managed a run in the 3rd inning and actually led the game for one brief shining moment. For a while there, things looked pretty good. Bauer even pulled some crazy dark magic mojo in the second inning, getting out of a bases-loaded-with-one-out situation with no harm done. Again, given the way the Padres don’t score runs, he damn well better get out of that situation.
In the top of the 5th, Luis Torrens singled to right field. Jose Pirela hit a fly ball to deep right-center. Bradley Zimmer took a noble, missed-it-by-that-much leap at the wall and came up with a sore shoulder but no ball, giving Pirela his first triple of the year and the Padres a 2-1 lead. And the inning wasn’t over yet. Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe hit a cruise missile line drive directly to Francisco Lindor, who raised his glove to make the catch. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t read the script and ricocheted off Lindor’s glove (reportedly at 109 mph) and into left field, putting the Indians in the hole 3-1. To add insult to injury, Lindor was also charged with an error on the play.
On the plus side, Lindor drove in both of the Tribe’s runs, one courtesy of a favorable ricochet. Erik Gonzalez, in at second for the sore-necked Jason Kipnis, led off the Indians’ half of the 5th with a double. Lindor hit a line drive up the middle that bounced off Padres pitcher Luis Perdomo and into right field for a double, scoring Gonzelez. Ricochet redemption.
The Padres scored one run in the 6th and two in the 7th (on a two-run homer by Cory Spangenberg). They ended up with 6 runs on 13 hits. That doesn’t seem all that efficient until you compare it to Cleveland’s 2 runs on 14 flipping hits.
These are the kinds of series that the Indians have no business losing. Here’s hoping they can avoid the sweep.