Terry Francona congratulates Edwin Encarnacion for hitting a two-run homer in the fourth inning in Oakland on Saturday night.
The Indians and the Athletics enjoyed a back and forth volley when it came to runs scored throughout Saturday night’s game. Unfortunately when you’re not the home team, that type of game typically doesn’t end well for you. So when the Indians took a 3-3 tie into the bottom of the ninth, it meant that one swing of the bat could end the game. Tonight, that swing came from Khris Davis, off of Bryan Shaw.
Even though Davis hit the game-winning shot, the night really belonged to Matt Chapman. The A’s third baseman went 3-for-3, hit two solo home runs, and scored the third run. I’m not entirely sure why they didn’t pitch around him in the eighth inning, when he hit his second solo shot off of Corey Kluber to tie the game at three. Kluber pitched to one more batter (he got Rajai Davis to line out) before he was pulled in favor of Andrew Miller.
Miller finished the eighth inning without incident, and came out to start the ninth. He walked the leadoff hitter, Yonder Alonso, which led Terry Francona to pull Miller and go to Bryan Shaw. Davis took Shaw to a full count before he hit a two-run homer to end the game in walk-off.
I don’t think there are many players more polarizing than Bryan Shaw. I always joke that whenever he pitches I try to avoid social media at all costs, because there are three groups of people. People who hate Shaw and complain endlessly about him, people who love Shaw and complain about the complainers, and people like me who just want to avoid the entire discussion. Because let’s face it – Shaw has had some bad moments with the team. However, I think that it’s kind of a law-of-averages thing. Francona tends to use Shaw a lot; in fact a lot of seasons it seems like Indians fans are afraid that *this* is the season where his arm finally falls off. Whenever someone is used a lot, of course they’re going to have bad moments and good moments…again, the law of averages. I will just say that I avoided social media after that walk-off home run, and my night was better for that.
Kluber did not have a terrible night, he gave up the two solo shots to Chapman and surrendered just 5 hits overall. Even though the Indians managed three runs tonight, they got just five hits…only one more than Friday night, when they were shut out. The folks in the middle of the lineup each got one hit – Michael Brantley, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Ramirez, and Carlos Santana, with the fifth hit coming from Tyler Naquin. Encarnacion hit a two-run shot to give the Indians a 2-1 lead in the fourth, however it was not enough to hold up for the duration of the game. The Indians got their third run in the top of the sixth, when Encarnacion scored on a Santana ground-out.
My dog has mastered the art of the parrot arm
While it’s frustrating that Shaw gave up the walk-off home run, the Indians aren’t going to win many games with just five hits. I know that I’m a broken record continually complaining about the offense, but they’re lucky they had three runs in this game. They simply have to do better as a lineup, or they’re going to continue to lose these close games. How many low scoring games have we seen Kluber drop over the past several weeks? You almost feel like an Indians pitcher has to pitch a shutout every day, or they’re backing themselves into a corner.
The Tribe will try to salvage the final game of the series on Sunday, as Trevor Bauer takes on Sean Manaea. They need to find a way to score some runs, and take a bit of the pressure off of Bauer.