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Huge four-run fourth inning sends Twins over Indians, 4-3

Bauer logs eight innings as Tribe offense scampers for just three runs

Huge four-run fourth inning sends Twins over Indians, 4-3
September 10, 2014
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CLEVELAND—They say baseball is a game of inches.

Give Michael Brantley an extra inch on a sliding defensive play, and Trevor Bauer (5-8, 4.12 ERA) may have had himself a shutout Tuesday.

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.

Two pitches later, the Twins had a 4-2 lead. An RBI single by Trevor Plouffe followed by a 2-run homer off the bat of Oswaldo Arcia resulted for the two biggest hits of the game.

“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 jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Tony
September 11, 2014 - 8:45 AM EDT
I don't think you can just look at if a guy hits .300 or .250. Batting average is such a limiting stat. It only covers what happened in 70-80% of the at bats. What if that .300 hitter only has a .335 on-base percentage while that .250 hitter has a .380 on-base percentage because he walks a lot while the .300 hitter doesn't? I play the .250 every day and twice on Sunday. Especially in this case since Ramirez or Kipnis would be 1-2 hole hitters so getting on base is their main objective.

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).
Hiram
September 11, 2014 - 7:57 AM EDT
Robert,

sorry Misread.
Hiram
September 11, 2014 - 7:56 AM EDT
Robert,

you would sit the .300 hitter in favor of the .250 hitter?? What in the world!!!
Robert
September 11, 2014 - 7:02 AM EDT
Tony, If mid next year J Ram is hitting .300 and Kip is hitting .250 I would not see J Ram going to the utility role.

Bob
Tony
September 10, 2014 - 11:35 PM EDT
Hiram, right now I pick up Aviles' option for next season. He is a tradeable asset and would be of interest to some teams in the offseason or spring as they look to find a utility player. I do believe that Jose Ramirez is all but set to open the season as the team's regular shortstop until Francisco Lindor is up by mid-season. While Ramirez is around they will want a veteran shortstop off the bench they can rely on and that will be Aviles. They may also look for a minor league deal for a utility guy to bring into spring training and keep that guy while trading Aviles, but bottom line is they will want a veteran backing up Aviles and serving as the utility man. Then, if Lindor comes up say in June and Kipnis is not hurt and remains at second base, the Indians dump the utility player/Avilies in a trade or release and then slide Ramirez to a utility role.

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.
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 6:09 PM EDT
Tony,

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??
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 5:22 PM EDT
Robert,

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.
Robert
September 10, 2014 - 5:09 PM EDT
Hiram,

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.

Bob
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 4:47 PM EDT
Robert,

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 .
Walter
September 10, 2014 - 4:43 PM EDT
Arb eligible for 15

Carrasco, Chisenhall, Rzepczynski, Shaw and Tomlin.

Expect Carrasco, Chisenhall and Shaw to receive hefty raises.

Homer
September 10, 2014 - 4:34 PM EDT
I'd bring Aviles back, at least pickup his option and wait to ST to trade him - when injuries happen. We can't lose sight that they control him, and he positional versatility and decent one yr contract. That has value, and it is at least worth picking up the option and trading him, IMHO.
Robert
September 10, 2014 - 4:28 PM EDT
Hiram, In a stretch run you go with the girl that brung you. Once we are out of it we need to see the young guys.

What I see with the new players is an initial surge followed by big time disappointment as opposing pitchers figure a guy out.

Bob
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 4:18 PM EDT
Tony,

if you had to make the call right now would you bring back Aviles??
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 4:16 PM EDT
Tony,

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
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 4:10 PM EDT
For me the biggest issue facing the Indians is Tito's stubbornness. The refusal to give young guys a chance and the insistence on sticking with veterans that aren't getting the job done.
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 4:06 PM EDT
Sure Tony I can parlay some of my assets and prospects for a bigger deal and have no issue with doing. I think the Indians will look at all options. We all want Stanton but not sure he'll be available. Like anything else once the deal is on the table you weigh it. The good news is that the Indians have these options and they aren't hard up for MLB pitching. Tony, I do think the Indians need better options in AAA than Tomlin and McAllister though

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.
yourtribe
September 10, 2014 - 3:22 PM EDT
Lindor at ss and jram at 2d. Kipnis outfield or pkg him with someone else for a bat.

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!
Tony
September 10, 2014 - 12:42 PM EDT
Hiram, I don't disagree because if the Indians draft and develop as hoped then there is no "window" so to speak. What I am talking about with the 3-4 year window is with this current starting rotation. There is no guarantee anyone shakes out behind them. They can't essentially have two rookies in the middle infield to start next season and expect to win. The time has come to make a strong push for a big trade using some of these players. The 40-man can only protect so many of them and if you are not going to use them and let them sit in Triple-A, then it is time to parlay some of that depth into a need elsewhere.

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.
Walter
September 10, 2014 - 12:42 PM EDT
Too get a bat this off season thru trade or FA will be at a premium cost. The reason is offensive scoring through out baseball is down big time. The Indians are not the only time having hard time scoring runs.

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.





Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 11:49 AM EDT
Tony,

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
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 11:46 AM EDT
The presence of Gonzalez allows me to start Lindor at SS next season at some point and allows me to deal Kipnis because I can move Ramirez to 2B and alos talkes Kipnis' salary of cap I would be looking to move Kipnis to SFGfor Crick and two other prospects and then sell low on Swisher because I can get Aguilar to take his spot.
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 11:42 AM EDT
Tony,

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


Homer,

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
shy
September 10, 2014 - 11:30 AM EDT
The Indians have had every chance to climb back in the race w Detroit and Kansas City beating one another up but they are not taking advantage of the opps. They're probably not good enough. I'd like to blame Francona for gratuitous and inneffective platooning but he is playing w a damaged deck- you got guys on the bench like Raburn, Walters, Giambi that are all under .200. I think he's grasping at straws at his point. No question he loves playing the old guys, but then he does something like pinch hit Tyler Holt for David Murphy. I mean who is going to give you a better at bat in a clutch situation? Holt took 3 balls and then 3 strikes and sat down. The RISP numbers are horrible for the Indians, been bad all year. My guess is Ty Van Burkleo will not be back next year. All of the damage done to Bauer was inflicted after 2 outs, I would be surprised if he's back next year given the sniping thru the media w him and the manager, his reluctance to take criticism/coaching and his wanting to continue to do everything his way even when it's not working.
Tony
September 10, 2014 - 11:06 AM EDT
Disagree Hiram....now is the time to use some of this prospect depth to get the ML needs to win now. Right now there is a 3-4 year window with this pitching staff.
Homer
September 10, 2014 - 9:19 AM EDT
Since August 1st, 35 games, 23 (twenty-three) games scoring 3 runs or less. They have had fantastic pitching performances, but no run production. Something has to change, banking on these guys to return to career norms is not going to cut it. They have to add a bat somewhere to the lineup this offseason. I'm not talking some platoon player, it has to be an everyday bat that will extend this lineup and produce runs, it is that simple. Improving the defense will help too, but if they cannot score more than three runs, they will have a very difficult time qualifying for the playoffs this season or next.

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.
Homer
September 10, 2014 - 8:45 AM EDT
Hiram,

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.
Tondo
September 10, 2014 - 8:13 AM EDT
Another dumb loss. Too many of those to reach the postseason in the AL
Robert
September 10, 2014 - 8:00 AM EDT
And someone needs to help Walters with high pitches. The formula for getting him out is easy. Keep it low - then with 2 strikes come in high in the zone. He is then helpless.
Robert
September 10, 2014 - 7:53 AM EDT
This team desperately needs two right handed bats. Rayburn failed in that role and I guess Aviles has as well. We need to find a way to exchange left handed talent for right handed talent.

Why is so hard to find right handed hitting when the vast majority of the population is right handed?

Bob
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 6:54 AM EDT
I wouldn't touch my farm system... I would sign a vet 3B, trade the likes of Murphy, Raburn, Swisher and put Aguilar in as DH/1B then I would Chiz to RF and then listen to trade offers for Kipnis. Let teams know he won't be at a discount because of the down, injured year . Kips contract should help his value too. The presence of Gonzalez, Castillo and Chang allows me to start Lindor next year at SS to go along with Ramirez at 2B. I would look to add quality starting pitching depth in AAA with the trades I make for sure.
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 6:51 AM EDT
BTW, that was a lazy effort by Michal Brantley on the Mauer Double to extend the inning. In saying that too. bauer has to get out of that with Minimal damage. This team can be so good but they just not playing right and sure not hitting at all or the way we know they can. Very frustrating team because this rotation is as good as anyone in MLB


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
Hiram
September 10, 2014 - 6:47 AM EDT
Why does Tito keep insisting on batting Kipnis 5th?? Why not give Aguilar a chance every single day in the lineup to see if he can be that guy that knocks in some runs. I mean, Tito's loyalty to vets who aren't producing is killing this team.
Steve
September 10, 2014 - 5:48 AM EDT
Seems like the tribe is just spinning its wheels but not moving an inch.
troy
September 10, 2014 - 4:57 AM EDT
This offense is abysmal, mediocre pitchers have shut us down all season long. All this good pitching going to waste. Have to get this addresed in off season. We have alot of prospects to offer in a package.
David
September 10, 2014 - 3:49 AM EDT
What a bizzare game. Trevor seemed to be dominant except for that 4-batter spurt. Talk about a game of inches!

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