Huge four-run fourth inning sends Twins over Indians, 4-3
Bauer logs eight innings as Tribe offense scampers for just three runs
CLEVELAND—They say baseball is a game of inches.
Instead, the farther into September it gets, the farther it seems the Indians are fading out of contention.
Opening up a three-game series with the last place Minnesota Twins, Cleveland was handed a tough 4-3 loss Tuesday night, thanks to a game changing fourth inning.
“It’s real frustrating because we know what’s at stake,” Michael Bourn said. “We need to win games like that to stay in the standings. The more we lose the more we fall behind and put ourselves in a deeper hole.”
Despite their offensive woes, Cleveland jumped for two runs against Minnesota starter Trevor May (2-4, 8.38 ERA) early in the second. An RBI groundout by Lonnie Chisenhall gave the club their first run before Yan Gomes quickly put the Tribe up two on a sacrifice fly to right field.
“Second inning we score a couple, but it looked like May started making some adjustments coming in a little more aggressive,” manager Terry Francona said.
Having not allowed a hit through the first 3 2/3 innings, Bauer ran into trouble with two outs in the fourth. A bloop double by first baseman Joe Mauer gave the Twins their first hit of the contest, coming inches shy of Brantley’s outstretched glove.
Designated hitter Kennys Vargas took advantage of it, raking an RBI double to the gap in right-center to cut the Wahoos lead to one.
“I made mistakes all night,” Bauer said. “I was trying to do the same thing, get ahead trying to throw strikes and get guys out. I didn’t really feel too well today. I went out there and gave it all I had, and it didn’t turn out in my favor.”
It was the only four runs the right-hander allowed, getting handed the loss even after working a full eight innings and striking out eight.
“He pitched really well,” Francona said. “He had that one four-hitter sequence where he gave up the bloop double and then three straight pitches. All the damage was done and they made it hold up.”
May lasted five innings for the Twins, giving up just the two runs on five hits against the continued sluggish Indians offense.
Tribe bats battled, cutting the deficit to one on another RBI from Gomes. This time the catcher cashed in on an RBI single in the eighth against Minnesota reliever Casey Fien, but the team wasn't able to make it over the dreaded three run mark.
“We out-hit them, but they outscored us,” Bourn said. “We weren’t able to get to them tonight. They got all their runs in one inning and we were able to tack on one late, but came up short.”
Offensively, the Tribe has now scored three runs or fewer in five straight and in 14 of their last 18 ballgames.
“Runs have been hard to come by more than a couple days, we’ve played so many close games,” Francona said. “We got base runners, but we didn’t do anything with runners in scoring position. That’s pretty much the outcome.”
Cleveland finished the night 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, hitting just .174 (4-for-23) in that category over their last three games.
“We haven’t been doing it,” Bourn said. “Our pitching has been lights out, we just haven’t been able to do it all collectively. Both of them not doing it at the same time is almost worthless.”
With only 19 games left, it’s do or die time for the fading Tribe.
“We’re not going to give up,” Bourn said. “We almost have to not win out, but close to it to make it to the playoffs. Either we do or we don’t, there’s no hiding from it.”
With a record of 74-69, the Indians fall to five games in back of first place in the American League Central.
“We’re going to keep our heads high and try out to come out tomorrow and get a W,” Bourn said. “That’s all we can do is take care of one game at a time and can’t look too far ahead.”
Up next for Indians: The Wahoos looks to even up the series with Minnesota on Wednesday night. Southpaw T.J. House (2-3, 3.71 ERA) gets the start for Cleveland opposite of Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson (11-10, 4.27 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Kipnis is hitting .250-.260 but getting on base at a better clip and more importantly his power stroke returns, he's a more valuable hitter in the lineup than Ramirez. As a defender, obviously he isn't. Will make for an interesting dilemma if it comes to pass midseason next year where Kipnis struggles but Ramirez continues to play well (and Lindor is promoted to play SS).
you would sit the .300 hitter in favor of the .250 hitter?? What in the world!!!
As for Giovanny Urshela, he has zero chance to open the season in Cleveland next year. He will be an option later in the year. Chang and Bradley have a very good chance to open next season at Lake County......in fact, I expect it.
Is Giovanny Urshela a legit option to start with the Indians next year?? Also, do you think Yu-Cheng Chang and Bobby Bradley start in Mahoning Valley next year??
the point you're not seeing is that the guys that I mentioned along with the vets that are no longer here didn't get them to this point because they haven't produced all year. So going with vets who haven't produced all year isn't the same with going with vets who got you to the dance in the first place.
IMO Tito will stay with the girls he brought to the dance until the dance ends. Look for changes after we are out of contention or the season ends.
I disagree and think that Giambi, Swisher, Kipnis and Raburn for example have all done this team alot more harm than good. i would put Dickerson in that group too because Tito stuck with him much too long. I would've taken the Matheny approach in giving the vets the benefit of the doubt but at a certain point you must be willing to make a change instead of being too stubborn to give others a chance and the Indians are going to find that out the hard way .
Carrasco, Chisenhall, Rzepczynski, Shaw and Tomlin.
Expect Carrasco, Chisenhall and Shaw to receive hefty raises.
What I see with the new players is an initial surge followed by big time disappointment as opposing pitchers figure a guy out.
if you had to make the call right now would you bring back Aviles??
if you can't develop pitching to be ready 3-4 years from now then you as a GM, organizaton have failed. Might as well go back to the John Hart and Mark Shapiro era in drafting. Pitching is essential to any MLB teams and sooner than later these SP's are going to need to be replaced, you should know this and have the succession in place when the time comes
Just not sure that difference making bat is out there like you think it is. Teams aren't looking to part with what you're looking for and if so I can't think of any names. Indians are going to get busy because for what they need I see no excuse for why it shouldn't be filled unless teams are simply saying they won't part with it which I think is the case.
Play every young guy now. We are not making playoffs this yr. hitting has stunk all year, batting Gomes 6 continues to baffle me?
We need a leadoff hitter and a 4 guy. Jram could be leadoff if bat continues to develop. Bourn is terrible at leadoff. Low avg and a ton of Ks and few walks. Bad combo. Maybe naquin. Shame he got hurt.
We have no cleanup guy. Santana is 5 or 6 guy. Walks are great but a 4 guy who can't hit his weight.
We have to be creative and retool the offense in offseason.
Really like potential of Frazier and Zimmer. Zimmer should be in Akron next year to start.
Get young and athletic. Like Aviles but someone making min can do what he does. Raburn gone. Swish to dh. Can't run and untradeable. Murphy and Bourn. Move both if possible. Eat some contract if needed. Would rather say pay 4 of Bourns 14 and save 10. Heck I would eat 7 to dump another 7!
Do some work antonetti!
I love Ramirez, Lindor and Gonzalez at shortstop....but what good is having three guys at short when you can only play one? And while you have significant needs elsewhere? I'm reaching for bigger deals, so note that, as I don't want to part with a Lindor or top flight guy for a mid-tier ML player. They need a difference maker in this lineup.
Part of the problem is the batters having poor approach when they come up to bat. Example is the 9th inning where the Twins used another pitcher to close not Perkins. Indians batters did not work the counts, and not trying to get on base in order for Brantley to come up to drive in the tying or winning runs. Walters had 2-0 count hit weak ground ball on the next pitch. Bourn flies out on the second pitch. Ramirez makes the last out by swinging on the first pitch. Not smart baseball.
I don't buy the 3-4 year window stuff. The reason is because if they keep drafting and developing they will be able to sustain themselves with or without the current starters on the team. Think about it. The Indians were able to stay in the race because they have drafted and developed and see no reason for this not to go on. Masterson gave nothing, Axford was a waste, McAllister, Tomlin, Outman did very little. Lost Ubaldo, Kazmir, Albers and Smith. When these guys are ready to move on then have some other guys waiting in the wings to take there place. No law that says you can't have other guys ready to be good later, if not now
I would look to get rid of the non essential guys like Kipnis, Murphy, Raburn, maybe a bullpen guy or two to get what I need and /or to restock my farm system and get what I need at the major league level. I'm not opposed to trading from the farm system but would rather use that as a last resort. Further, I would sign a decent free agent at 3B to buy time for Urshela. Don't forget the Indians don't need a ton at the major league level
Yes Tito has held this team back with him stubbornness and in game decisions. I would kindly talk to him about it this offseason because UNLIKE Matheny with his ability to bench vets when they produce Tito has been way too reluctant to do it and it's part of the reason we're in this position today
The Indians have depth, they have multiple options at various positions, with the pitching performance they have gotten this season, they have pieces in place to make a run at the pennant, but they have to make a couple bold and decisive moves this offseason.
I can feel your passion for the team. I agree, Francona has held this team back by sticking with vets...I'm surprised they've stuck with Jose Ramirez at SS. But it seems like they were forced to it, by trading ACab, Murphy going down, Aviles replacing him and then going down. I trust Jesus Aguilar and Zach Walters in the lineup over Jason Giambi and Ryan Raburn. I hope Giambi retires this offseason, otherwise, Francona will keep him as the designated out. I like Giambi, no doubt he has helped the team in some fashion, but it's time to hang up the cleats.
Why is so hard to find right handed hitting when the vast majority of the population is right handed?
I better not hear anyone say that pitching is 75% of the game because it's a DAMN LIE!!! You need defense and putting some runs on the board to give pitching a chance to work. Scoring three runs and then doing nothing is a recipe for failure. So pissed with this team, Tito because I think he has held this team back with his stubbornness