After a convincing 9-3 victory in Game 1 of a day-night double header in the Twin Cities, the Tribe didn’t have quite enough in the nightcap, as Minnesota pulled off a 4-2 victory. Let’s take a look at some key notes from Game 2, along with storylines which highlighted a long day of baseball.
- Jose…You Scared Us: Despite the split of a doubleheader on Thursday, the biggest news of the day will be the fact that X-rays came back negative on Jose Ramirez’s wrist…thank goodness. After getting nailed in the wrist in Game 1, the Indians management, players, and fan base breathed a collective sigh of relief, as J-Ram will seemingly avoid a DL stint.
- Merritt Magic? Ryan Merritt will forever hold a special place in Indians History and in the hearts of many Tribe fans, following his gritty outing against the Toronto Blue Jays in the game-clinching victory which sent Cleveland to the World Series in 2016a. Thursday night, the magic fell somewhat short, albeit in a much less strenuous setting. In 3.2 inning pitches, Merritt yielded two runs on six hits in a spot start. All is well, Ryan Merritt–we still love the fact you came through against Jose Bautista when it mattered most.
- Bruce Almighty: After a scorching start in the first week of his Cleveland Indians career, Jay Bruce hit his first home run in a Tribe uniform, a solo shot, to temporarily tie the game 1-1 in the 4th inning.
- Doubleheader Depth: The doubleheader put Tito Francona’s bullpen usage to the test. Game 2 featured the aforementioned spot start by Merritt, Dan Otero as the long man, and relief outings by starting pithcers Mike Clevinger and Trevor Bauer as well! This is what happens when a team goes three weeks in August without an off day.
- Struggling with the Unknown: I remember the great Indians ball clubs of the mid-to-late 1990s would rock great All-Star pitching, and then struggling against players they’d never seen. Fast forward to 2017 and enter Aaron Slegers. In making his Major League debut, Slegers was far from dominant, but did a superb job of baffling Tribe hitters, giving up just two runs on two hits in 6.1 innings to earn the victory in his rookie start.
- Streak Snapped: While the Tribe took two of three in the series against the Twins, they snapped their nine-game winning streak in Minnesota with the Thursday night loss.
- Royal Match-up on Deck: The Indians now head to KC for a key weekend series against the Royals. Cy Young Candidate Corey Kluber (11-3, 2.71) toes the rubber for the Wahoos on Friday night.