Last Night's Game
Let's face it: the Indians haven't been pitching all that well over the first two days of this series, but they're still managing to win games. Cleveland starters have totaled 11.2 innings pitched over the first three games, with Carlos Carrasco's 6 innings the longest outing of the series. That means that the bullpen has had to throw 15.1 innings, some of it really good (Matt Albers, Joe Martinez, Vinnie Pestano, Chris Perez), others not so good (Brian Shaw, Cody Allen, Matt Langwell). Thankfully they're playing a team that seems to be getting reading for a rebuild, so they haven't had to be at the top of their game.
Today, though, should be a different story. Chris Sale, who at this point is in the tier just behind Max Scherzer in the AL's best pitcher pecking order, is going today, and with several key cogs likely to be out of the lineup (including white-hot Jason Kipnis), getting the four-game sweep isn't going to be easy.
That title is an understatement. Francona said all the right things after the game, but you'd have to think he was fuming inside. If you don't remember what the deal was with Bauer's delivery, that's perfectly understandable since he didn't last an inning. Bauer pitched out of the stretch in the first inning, the first time he's done it anywhere, whether in the minors or the majors. Perhaps it has to take an disaster of epic proportions like this for Bauer to realize that perhaps the coaching staff knows more than he does about pitching mechanics. Trevor is only 22 years old, and still has plenty of time to become a quality starting pitcher, but as today indicated, there's a lot of work to be done.
Pluto notes that the Indians are rated the third-best base-running team in the AL by Baseball Prospectus, which includes with steals and taking extra bases. The Indians have added elite base-stealing threats in Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs, and you can even throw in Mike Aviles as someone who opposing clubs have to pay attention to. In addition, there aren't that many plodders in the lineup, as not as many as there have been in the past. Jason Giambi is as slow as anyone in the league, but he's not really a regular, and when you have to choose between Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds as the slowest members of the everyday lineup, you're a ways from the days of Ryan Garko, Victor Martinez, and Travis Hafner.
AL Central News
As alluded to above, the White Sox seem on the cusp of blowing up their current roster. Simon Castro, one of the better arms in the system, was called up yesterday to give the White Sox another arm. Castro isn't a finished product, just having recently been moved from the rotation to the bullpen, but it seems that the White Sox are willing to deal with some ups and downs. Many of Chicago's best trading chips (Jess Crain, Matt Thornton, Matt Lindstrom) are relievers, so we could see Castro pitching meaningful innings for the White Sox down the stretch.
Speaking of young relievers, the Tigers have brought Bruce Rondon back up to the majors. I think it's a given that the Tigers are going to acquire at least one reliever before the July 31st trade deadline, but before that, Rondon may get some save opportunities.
It is a happy in Royalsland. Jeff Francouer has been the bane of many Kansas City fans, not only for his play on the field, but for being at least a contributing cause in Wil Myers being dealt to Tampa Bay this past winter. NEO native David Lough and Jarrod Dyson had been getting most of the playing time in right field recently, so it was only a matter of time until Fancouer was shown the door.
Minnesota's best pitching prospect is now in the major league rotation. Obviously there's no one blocking him, so any innings limitations will have to do with his arm and not other pitchers.
Today's Classic Clip
Mark McGwire connects with a Randy Johnson fastball (1997)