Second Thoughts Game #113: Reds 9, Indians 2
The Cleveland Indians lost to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night by a score of 9-2. Much like the Indians enjoyed the previous game, the Reds had their ace, Johnny Cueto, on the hill. Cueto did not disappoint as he threw a complete game while only yielding two runs. Of course, the Indians could (and likely would) have scored quite a few more if not for one of the more bizarre plays I’ve seen in a baseball game.
- With the Indians down 6-1 and basically out of the game,Lonnie Chisenhall walked and David Murphy singled to start off the 7th inning.
- Yan Gomes then doubled off the fence in right, scoring Lonnie Chisenhall.
- The throw from Reds right-fielder, Jay Bruce, came in to second basemen Kris Negron for what looked like a routine cutoff.
- Normally, the Indians would have a run scored and men on second and third and a rally would be started.
- Instead, David Murphy strayed too far off third and the throw came in behind him for the first out of the inning.
- Murphy left third because he saw a ball rolling around in the middle of the outfield.
- That ball was from an errant throw from the Reds bullpen that had sailed over the catcher’s head, over the wall and toward the infield.
The play was bizarre, sure, but the outcome was devastating to the Indians chances. The run-expectancy with runners on second and third with no outs is a little more than two runs. The run-expectancy with a runner on second and one-out is just 0.7 runs. The errant ball cost an expected 1.3 runs.
In the real flow of the game, the subsequent groundout by Chris Dickerson would have scored Murphy from third and likely knocked Cueto out: he was at 100 pitches and would have just given up his second and third runs. Who knows what would have happened after that? Or if Chris Dickerson and Jose Ramirez at-bats to follow would have unfolded differently? The what-if’s are endless, but the play was a memorable one.
More to the point, the Reds piled on nine runs and Josh Tomlin’s struggles continued. He got through just 4.1 innings while yielding eight hits, including a double, triple and home run, plus a walk. He has continued his strong K:BB tendencies: five strikeouts against just one walk, but he gets really hit hard while pitching in the zone so often. His stuff just isn’t powerful enough to get by with frequently pitching in the zone without perfectly locating his pitches. Command is typically recovered much later than velocity following Tommy John surgery and the hope is that Tomlin will be able to re-discover his former (and necessary) command of the strike zone.
The Indians will look to rebound as the Ohio Cup moves to Cincinnati and Danny Salazar takes on Mat Latos as the two Ohio teams are dead-locked at 57-56 and look to stay above .500 and remain in the Wild Card hunt.
I know that Tomlin didn't last long and gave up a lot of runs, but if you look back at how the runs scored, he really didn't pitch horrible. As mentioned, the horrible error by Chisenhall allowed the first run to score (even though the throw at the plate beat the runner the runner slid around the tag), a HBP put a runner on for Santiago's homer adding another run, a run scored on a ball that was a single because it was hit so softly in the infield that JRam couldn't make a play to throw out the "speedy" Jay Bruce, and a run scored on a double-steal.