Tribe Victory Falls Out of Reach; Twins 3, Indians 2
Mike B. | On 18, Apr 2015
Did the Tribe Win Last Night? No! After controlling the game for the first five innings, the Indians defense fell apart in the bottom of the sixth, allowing the Minnesota Twins back into the game. The poor defense was enough to allow Minnesota to score a pair of runs and tie the game before Trevor Plouffe hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning for a 3-2 Twins victory.
Corey Kluber was in complete control, retiring the first 15 hitters he faced, over the first five innings. The never reliable Tribe offense had managed to scratch a run in the fifth inning when Roberto Perez was able to advance from first to third base on a flawless hit-and-run from Jose Ramirez and then hustle home on a wild pitch. Cleveland tacked on another run in the top of the sixth when Brandon Moss hit an opposite field home run to left center field. The solo shot made it 2-0, and despite just a two run lead, it looked to be enough for Kluber.
But the Indians defense fell apart in the sixth and Kluber’s eight solid innings were squandered and Bryan Shaw coughed up the 11th inning homer to send the Tribe to defeat in the first game of their nine game road trip.
WP: Blaine Boyer (1-1) LP: Bryan Shaw (0-1)
Key Inning: Bottom of the sixth inning. After scratching runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings, the Indians led 2-0 when their defense again let them down.
Kluber allowed his first hit of the game when Oswaldo Arcia started the frame with a single to right field. He quickly moved to second base on a wild pitch and scored on Chris Hermann’s single to right field.
Brandon Moss threw wildly home, missing the cutoff man, and allowed Hermann to advance to second base on the throw. Moss was charged with an error for the throw, but the mistake was in the decision to throw home as it allowed the tying run to advance to scoring position and take the double play out play. Instead of minimizing the damage, the Indians instead fanned the flames.
The next hitter, Jordan Schafer, grounded to shortstop Jose Ramirez who threw to third base to cut down the lead runner. However, Lonnie Chisenhall was in front of the bag, playing the bunt possibility, and out of position to receive the throw and make the tag. Schafer slid under the tag and everyone was safe on the fielder’s choice. Danny Santana bunted into a safety squeeze and Kluber threw home to protect the run from scoring, but in turn allowed the bases to be loaded.
Eduardo Escobar struck out, but strike three went wild and everyone moved up a base as the Twins tied the game at two. After Joe Mauer was intentionally walked to again load the bases, Brian Dozier grounded into a double play to end the inning.
This inning should be saved for every fan who judges defense by errors and fielding percentage. The poor decisions made by Indian defenders allowed the inning to escalate and for the Twins to use their two hits to score two runs and tie the game. Being poor defensively is disappointing, but a poor defensive team can’t make poor decisions with the baseball, too.
Without those two runs, the Indians and Kluber coast to a 2-0 win.
Player of the Game: Kluber. He deserved a much better fate than he received, and sadly, this isn’t the first time. Kluber pitched eight solid innings, allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out eight and only walking one. After five innings, Kluber looked to have the Twins in total lockdown and the idea of a no-hitter or perfect game was in play. His breaking ball was snapping and the Twins had no answer.
However, Cleveland’s anemic offense couldn’t give him more than just two runs and his defense let him down. Both have happened before. A year ago Cleveland scored three runs or less in 81 games. They’re on a similar pace this year and their defense is not improved. Because of both, Kluber has made three quality starts, yet does not have a victory to show for it.
They Said It: “It was only one bad inning, but what a bad inning it was.” Rick Manning in reference to the bottom of the sixth inning and the Indians’ defense.
Standings: The Detroit Tigers won 2-1 at home against the Chicago White Sox this afternoon and Kansas City bested Oakland 6-4. Detroit is now 9-1 on the season and Kansas City is 8-2. In what was thought to be a four-team race in the American League Central Division could become a two-horse race quickly as the two teams at the top seem to be running away quickly. Cleveland is now tied for last place with Chicago, already 5.5 games back. Minnesota is already five games back.
Etc.: FoxSports Ohio reporter, Andre Knott, revealed during the game that Nick Swisher ran well in Arizona today and could be on his way to a rehab assignment soon. While Knott did not have any specifics of when the rehab assignment could begin, it sounded like it could happen in the next week. Swisher, who has not played since mid-August of last season, would probably use the full 15 days of rehab before the Indians would put him back on the active, 25-man roster.
Michael Brantley returned to the lineup on Friday night as the designated hitter. After missing six of the first eight games, his back and playing time will be something to monitor. Considering Brantley was just the designated hitter, it seems fair to think he is still not 100%. Don’t be surprised to see an additional day off or two than he normally receives.
Analysis: Kluber has done everything he can to erase any doubters of his ability or anyone who thinks Kluber may have had just a career year. His three starts this season have picked up, right where he left off. Kluber has now dominated two young, offenses in Houston and Minnesota, while only allowing a pair of runs to the vaunted Detroit Tiger offense. He’s done everything he can, so far, to prove that 2014 was not a career year, but the start of a fine career.
Tonight Kluber was charged with two wild pitches, but you have to wonder if Yan Gomes—and the rapport they have—would have been able to keep those pitches in play.
Up Next: Cleveland will try to keep things going in a positive direction on Saturday afternoon. Danny Salazar will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to make a spot start. Indians manager Terry Francona has moved all starters back one day in light of Carlos Carrasco’s line drive of the head. Salazar will be making his first start of the season for Cleveland after a solid six-inning win at Columbus to start the season. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Phil Hughes (0-2, 5.25). Hughes allowed three runs over six innings on April 12 in a loss to the Chicago White Sox. Saturday’s game is scheduled to begin at 2:10 p.m.
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