Trevor Bauer’s Indians debut could’ve been worse. It sure could’ve been better. But all things considered, it could’ve been much worse.
Bauer battled through five innings, giving up three runs on two hits and seven walks. It wasn’t pretty, but Bauer worked himself out of some (self inflicted) jams and gave the Tribe a chance to stay in the game. Bauer began his evening by walking the bases loaded and forcing himself to deal with Evan Longoria. After getting ahead of Longoria 1-2, the Tampa slugger worked the rookie, fouling off numerous pitches and eventually earning the walk and forcing home a run. Bauer got James Loney to foul out and then Yunel Escobar lined one to Ryan Raburn, who gunned down Matt Joyce at home. Bauer escaped heavy trouble, but the damage was done. Tampa Bay and Alex Cobb had all the run support they’d need.
This was the second night in a row that the Rays’ pitchers have baffled the Indians’ bats. Cobb followed up Matt Moore’s 6.0 inning, two hit performance on Friday with a 7.1 inning, four hit gem of his own. The Tribe just couldn’t get anything going and have now managed just seven hits over the last 18 innings.
The bullpen did no one any favors. Matt Albers relieved Bauer to start the 6th and immediately gave up a hit to Yunel Escobar, who stretched the single into a double. Sure, Jason Kipnis applied the tag directly to Escobar’s foot a good three feet or so before he hit the bag, but it’s not like 2B umpire CB Bucknor was in position to see it. Albers proceeded to give up a hit to former Indian Shelley Duncan, plating the runner. Cody Allen worked the 7th and 8th innings and gave up four hits and two runs.
After winning their first two games of the season, the Tribe’s record now stands at 2-3. It would be a real shame if they came back home from this early road trip at 2-4. But unfortunately that’s a realistic scenario as the Tribe faces David Price (only the reigning AL Cy Young award winner) on Sunday. I’m sure seeing him will get them out of their funk.
It was a weird game. Bauer walked his first four batters. There were two throw outs at home during the first three innings and the second one knocking catcher Lou Marson out of the game. This forced manager Terry Francona to move Carlos Santana from DH to C, forcing the Tribe’s pitchers to bat (Bauer struck out on bunts).
Plus, the umps were not at their best on Saturday night. Home plate umpire Dale Scott’s strike zone fluctuated as the game went on, angering both teams (though in my totally unbiased view, I think the Indians got hosed more often). And 2B umpire Bucknor missed call on the Kipnis tag was just abysmal. Not that it really mattered, since the Tribe hasn’t made solid contact in two days, but still. It bears pointing out.
Clearly Bauer isn’t quite ready for the majors. Sure, the walking of the four batter wasn’t good. But he also let Desmond Jennings steal two bases with nary a look back (Jennings reached base from a walk, of course). Bauer showed nice composer by working himself out his jams, but it looks like he still needs some more AAA seasoning.
We’re not gonna do this every time, are we? Trevor Bauer likes to warm up by throwing long toss. It’s abnormal. I get it. But hopefully it doesn’t have to get mentioned every other breath. I know it has to be the story because Saturday was his first start as an Indian. But hopefully the novelty of a guy warming up differently will wear off after he’s up here for a couple weeks.
Francona used a sacrifice bunt in the third inning. After Rayburn singled and Marson walked to start the third, Michael Bourn laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over, but unfortunately, Marson got tossed out at second. I’m not totally opposed to the idea of manufacturing runs, but that seems a bit early to be giving away an out, no? The third inning? The game was still 1-0 at the time, so maybe they were just trying to manufacture a run to give some support to his young starter.
Another Cy Young. After facing RA Dickey on opening day, the Tribe will see their second reigning Cy Young winner of the season on Sunday afternoon when they face David Price. Justin Masterson will take the hill for the Tribe. First pitch is 1:40 PM.
(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)