The Indians won yesterday's game twice, so to speak. The first win (6-2) came because of Trevor Bauer's very nice six innings of work, along with home runs from Mike Aviles and Lonnie Chisenhall. But then the Tribe bullpen, which has normally been very reliable, gave up four very quick runs. Josh Outman, who to that point in the season had not given up an inherited run, came into the game with two on and gave up a three-run homer to Charlie Blackmon. The Indians then won the game a second time when Mike Aviles singled home the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
One takeaway has to be Trevor Bauer's performance. The Colorado Rockies are not a team that swings and misses a lot (coming into the series they had the fewest strikeouts in the NL), but Bauer struck out eight in six innings. Especially effective was his curve, which froze Troy Tulowitzki to end a Colorado rally in the third. But unlike last year, Bauer is throwing more of his mid-90s fastball, and that's setting up his offspeed pitches. When he's ahead in the count it's almost impossible for a batter to be sitting fastball and be able to get a piece of the curve. And Bauer got ahead in the count quite a bit yesterday.
The other takeaway is the maturation of Lonnie Chisenhall as a hitter. Prior to this year most of Chisenhall's offense seemed to come from him pulling the baseball to right field against right-handed pitching. When you were as one-dimensional as that, it was easy for opposing hitters to exploit that. But now Chisenhall is at home smacking an outside fastball down the left field line as pulling an inside fastball to right field. And (small sample size) he's hitting left-handed pitching now, As of today he's second only to Michael Brantley in bWAR by a position player, and that coming despite having only 147 Plate Appearances on the season.
Not really news, but a heads-up. We're coming up on the 40th anniversary of 10-cent Beer Night, which has evolved from an embarrassing event in team history to something that Cleveland fans laugh at, or even remember fondly. Anyway, on ESPN's SportsCenter this morning (10 AM local time), a feature will be shown about the infamous incident. Here's a preview:
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It looks like (knock on wood) the rotation has stabilized, and when Zach McAllister is ready to come off the DL in about a week the Indians actually might have a bit of depth. Danny Salazar is in Columbus working on his off-speed pitches, with an undetermined timetable, so right now I'd consider there are just 5 starters on the depth chart that are on the 40-man roster.
Until Carlos Santana returns from Concussion DL Lonnie Chisenhall will be manning third base, with Mike Aviles playing somewhere just about every day. I wouldn't be shocked if Aviles is starting at shortstop today given that Asdrubal Cabrera fouled a pitch off the top of his foot yesterday, adding another ailment to his lower body.
AL Central News
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