Raburn, Bauer Slay Another Cy; Indians 6, Phillies 0
Craig Gifford | On 01, May 2013
On Wednesday night the Tribe’s rookie phenom showed he does have a bit of a ways to go before he is winning hardware. However, he was good enough to out-duel the lefty. The Indians got the better of their former ace, sweeping the two-game series with a 6-0 victory at Progressive Field.
Bauer, in just his sixth Major League start, earned the second of what the Tribe and their fans hope will be many career wins. It was his first win in his second start with Cleveland. It was not pretty, at times, but Bauer was able to pitch himself out of several tight spots in helping the Indians (12-13) win their fourth straight game and improve to 4-2 against former Cy Young recipients.
Much as he was in his first Tribe start last month, the 22-year-old rightie was wild, issuing six walks. He walked seven against Tampa Bay in his April outing. However, Bauer negated that by surrendering just one hit and striking out five Phillies hitters.
“Tonight (Bauer) walked the leadoff hitter in four innings,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “When he got into some traffic, he made some unbelievable pitches. He attacked hitters when he had to with really good stuff.”
Bauer was able to work out of bad starts to innings thanks to some good defense, as well as a solid breaking pitch that kept Phillies hitters from making good contact.
“What goes under the radar a little bit is how much he competes,” Francona said of his young starter. “That really shows with runners on base.”
Bauer said he would like to not have to deal with those base runners as he works to improve on his biggest weakness of allowing the free pass to first.
“The biggest thing is for a starting pitcher to go out there and keep their team in the game,” Bauer said. “It is what it is. I know I walked six people. I know I need to get better at that. (At) times my mechanics get a little out of synch because they are so new. Sometimes I just lose it for three, four or five pitches and then realize ‘oh, this what I’m doing wrong.'”
As for the veteran on the other side, Lee did fair better against the Tribe lineup that rotation mate Roy Halladay did in Cleveland’s 14-2 mauling of Philadelphia on Tuesday evening. However, it was still a rough go as the Indians bats remained red hot as they have been throughout the four-game stretch.
Unlike Tuesday, when Cleveland hammered seven home runs en route to victory, the Indians did things more conventionally on Wednesday. They were kept in the park by Lee and the following relievers, but did have two doubles as part of a 14-hit barrage.
The Indians got things going in the bottom of the second against Lee. With one out, Carlos Santana walked. Ryan Raburn, who had four hits and is swinging a scorching bat, followed with a single to send Santana to third. Mike Aviles hit a sacrifice fly for the 1-0 edge.
That lone tally would really have been enough, but Cleveland’s bats are on a roll and could not be stopped, even by a former Cy Young winner. The Tribe plated three runs in the third. A two-run double for the hot-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera was the key moment of the frame. Raburn added the first of his two RBI on the night to make it a 4-0 advantage for the home team.
Raburn collected his second RBI on a double in the fifth inning. A Drew Stubbs infield single in the seventh plated Santana and closed out the game’s scoring.
Lee gave up five of those runs, four of them earned. He allowed nine hits. His control was solid as he walked just two, while striking out four. He threw 72 of 103 pitches for strikes. It was Cleveland’s ability to turn those strikes into hits instead of strikeouts that was the big difference for the Tribe offense.
Raburn led the charge with his four hits, while Michael Brantley added three. Santana and Stubbs had two-hit games.
For Raburn, the four-hit night comes on the heels of back-to-back two-homer games. He has hits in 12 of his last 14 at bats. This from a guy who is supposed to be a utility player and only getting regular playing time because of injuries to Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. It will be tough to keep him out of the lineup when the Indians are a full health.
“When you plug a guy in and he gets this hot, it’s an added bonus,” Francona said of Raburn’s torrid hitting. “He’s been so hot. He’s played well defensively. He’s been huge for us.”
The Tribe will have to wait a day before seeing if their bats can continue their scoring ways. During the four-game win streak, Cleveland has scored 39 runs. The Indians will be off Thursday before welcoming Central Division rival Minnesota into town for a three-game series beginning Friday. Cleveland will send its ace Justin Masterson to the mound for the first game of the set. Masterson will face the Twins’ Pedro Hernanez, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images