Covering the Bases: Game 40
Some notes and quotes from Saturday’s 9-1 loss.
FIRST: Joe Kelly didn’t give the Indians many chances on Saturday evening.
The Boston right-hander had been on the disabled list for the past month with a right shoulder issue, which appeared to be just fine against Cleveland. Kelly held the Tribe to an 0-for-21 showing before Juan Uribe ended the no-hit bid, and the pitcher’s day, with a no-doubt double in the seventh.
Beyond that hit, the Indians’ only real chance at breaking through came in the fifth inning. Carlos Santana and Marlon Byrd drew back-to-back one-out walks, and Lonnie Chisenhall later worked a free pass to load the bases with two away. That set things up for Chris Gimenez, batting ninth in this one.
One thing to know about Gimenez is that he has been victimized by high fastballs over the course of his career. With the exception of an up-and-in heater in the strike zone, the catcher has clearly had troubles with elevated fastballs.
Kelly would eventually get to that approach, but the righty first tried to entice Gimenez to chase. He fired a first-pitch slider way outside for ball one. Kelly then came back with a 97-mph heater into the dirt. From there, Kelly worked up.
“He threw me a breaking ball down and away — ball one,” Gimenez said. “I thought he was trying to overthrow a little bit and I got to a 2-0 count. I was sitting dead-red fastball middle away.”
The third pitch was a 96-mph fastball over the middle, but high in the zone, and Gimenez fouled if off for strike one. Kelly came back with another fastball (this one at 97 mph) and went high and outside. The catcher fouled it off again, pulling the count even, 2-2.
“I put two really good swings on those fastballs,” Gimenez said. “It just didn’t work out.”
“Gimenez took a couple really good swings,” Indians manager Terry Francona agreed.
For the final pitch, Kelly came back with an 89-mph slider, which he sent up and in. As Gimenez watched the pitch spinning towards the strike zone, he weighed his options.
“It’s a borderline pitch,” Gimenez said. “If I take it, it gets called a strike. If I swing, I can’t do much with it. I just tried to put the best swing I could on it.”
Gimenez chopped the pitch to the left of the mound and Kelly made a great play to snag the ball. The pitcher then fired it to catcher Ryan Hanigan, who got his foot on the plate just ahead of Carlos Santana scoring.
“Today was one of those days when not much went our way,” Gimenez said. “Especially on offense. Kelly was good today. He had his curveball working early.”
SECOND: The Red Sox carried a four-run lead into the seventh inning. It was a solid advantage in light of how Kelly was pitching, but it was hardly a hole too deep to overcome for the Tribe.
On Friday, the Indians were down 2-0 early and won 4-2. On Wednesday, Cleveland was down 6-4 and came back to win 8-7 against the Reds. Cincinnati had a 4-0 lead on Monday and then watched the Tribe pull off a 15-6 win. Those comebacks have fueled confidence among Cleveland’s hitters.
But, a mistake by Uribe in the seventh turned a 4-0 hole into a 9-0 cavern.
With one out and the bases loaded, Joba Chamberlain induced a grounder off the bat of Christian Vazquez. Uribe scooped up the ball, but hesitated after initially take a step towards third base. Had he kept going, he may have been able to step on the bag to start a potential inning-ending double play.
“It’s bases loaded and we get a doubleplay ball,” Francona said. “He ends up going home and it turned into [a situation where] we just couldn’t stop it after that. It’s unfortunate.”
Uribe tossed the baseball home and Gimenez stepped on the plate for the inning’s second out. Then, Chamberlain issued a bases-loaded walk and allowed a grand slam.
1. Where Uribe was when the ball was hit:
2. Where Uribe was when he fielded the ball:
What’s funny is Uribe had a similar play earlier in the game and tried to turn two when turning two wasn’t necessary. With the bags full and two outs in the third, Uribe fielded a grorunder from Hanigan, stepped on third and then flipped it to Gimenez at the plate as David Ortiz jogged home.
“He threw to me and is yelling at me to tag him,” Gimenez said with a laugh. “I’m like, ‘We play three outs in this league.’ I just walked up to Papi and tagged him and said, ‘You’re out.’ He said, ‘What are you doing?'”
“Yeah, I thought there was one out,” said Uribe, shaking his head.
The veteran didn’t make any excuses after the loss, either.
“I was thinking of going to third base, and I moved a little bit over there,” Uirbe said. “I talked to a couple guys and they told me I could’ve [tried for a double play]. This is my fault. It’s my fault. I could go to third base and go to first. When I saw I was a little bit late, I wanted to make one out, so I went to home plate. This is my fault.”
THIRD: Trevor Bauer was hung with a loss in this one, but he didn’t pitch as poorly as his line might suggest.
The righty went five innings, in which he was charged with four runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out none. It’s the first time in Bauer’s career as a starter that he ended an outing with no punchouts (with at least one inning logged).
“I threw the ball really well,” Bauer said. “They blooped a lot of balls in. They didn’t hit them hard. It was one of those days.”
Three of the runs allowed by Bauer came in the third, when he gave up five straight hits. One of those — a two-run single by Hanley Ramirez — nicked off Jason Kipnis’ glove and dropped into shallow right field.
“What did Hanley’s go, a foot on the outfield grass?” Bauer said. “Two runs or whatever happened on that. It’s an unfair game.”
Francona added: “Early on, they were squaring some balls up. We got the bullpen up early — I think in the third inning — and he found a way to kind of wiggle out of it. To his credit, he kind of reeled it in and stayed out there until he started the sixth.”
HOME: Let’s wrap up today with another episode of Francisco Lindor Theater.
In the sixth inning, Blake Swihart lofted a pitch down the left-field line. Lindor tracked it down on a sprint between Uribe and left fielder Marlon Byrd. Per Statcast, the shortstop hit a top speed of 17.8 mph and traveled 101 feet to make the catch with a 97.1-percent route efficiency.
One game earlier, Lindor made a running, over-the-shoulder catch in center field between Rajai Davis and Kipnis. After the game, we talked to him about his preparation and communication for those types of plays.
“I usually tell my center fielder and my left fielder every time, every day, ‘I’m going until you call me off,'” Lindor said. “That’s kind of like letting you know that I’m going. I’ll be there. If I can get to it, I’ll be there. But, as soon as you call me off, that’s your territory. I’m not going to invade it.”
Stay tuned for more…