The club is .500 after winning this weekend’s series in Chicago
Q: It is early May in Cleveland. Terry Francona is the baseball coach and the team is .500. Of what year do I speak?
Here in the present, Zach Plesac pitched a fine game this afternoon and led a quartet including Bryan Shaw, James Karinchak, and Emmanuel Clase (sequentially) to a four-hit shutout of the Chicago White Sox.
Plesac walked four while striking out six. Efficiency is the only nit to be picked with his pitching today. I ask myself, though, am I upset that our starter only gave us five-plus innings if they are clean?
I don’t think I am — not with this bullpen. I claim absolutely no responsibility for the Return of Shaw. I thought he was toast, and I wasn’t happy about it. I really do enjoy him as a player and he seems to be about as harmless a person as I can imagine. I mean that as a compliment; I know it can be taken otherwise; I just don’t know how else to say it. It confuses me that people get so worked up over This Man Who Throws A Ball and so yes, that’s where the Shaw Redemption came from.
I just don’t understand how something very real and much cooler is happening in reality. Bryan Shaw used 13 pitches to dispatch four hitters in order. His ERA sits at 0.79 on the season. He is throwing 97 mph and I think he stole 2017 Kluber’s curveball.
Karinchak struck out the side in order during the eighth. Austin Hedges dug out the final third strike and threw it to first to finish the out; Karinchak hugged him for the effort.
Clase gave up one single but otherwise had no difficulty retiring his assigned hitters. While touching 102.
One consequence of a pitching staff this thoroughly dominant is that stretches of the game can become a little bit boring. I love it. I honestly do.
But our offense wasn’t boring today
Tribe bats plated five runs on nine hits, though all this production came from another group of four. Cesar Hernandez, José Ramírez, Eddie Rosario, and Amed Rosario contributed with everything the offense did today (variously).
Jake Bauers also walked and reached on an error that led to a run (the imaginary RBI Error), so he deserves credit for that.
Back to the fun: Cesar Hernandez opened up the scoring with a solo blast to right-center in the third inning. He tagged this one and knew it — it was nice to see. Hernandez is still batting just .188 on the season and hopefully two hits, two runs, and an RBI are all signs of good to come.
José Ramírez reached base all five times he batted this afternoon. He broke the game open for good in the seventh inning with a two-run home run. That’s the headline, but add two walks, a double, and an HBP to the pile and you have an excellent day at work.
Eddie Rosario DH’d today, hitting a pair of singles and scoring once. Yes, I will take that every time.
Finally, Amed Rosario played capably enough in center field while going 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI single, and a run scored. While I am sad that Jordan Luplow did not play today, I am pleased that his usual position was covered.
Hey, where else does Luplow usually play? How did that guy do?
- Daniel Johnson struck out five times today. Five.
- More on Jake Bauers — how can someone so patient at the plate struggle this much figuring it out? Does he need to start swinging at pitches that he doesn’t think that he likes? And if that’s the case, why on Earth can’t Cleveland get him that information?
It would be easy for me to assume that Bauers is the problem here, but the development of a player isn’t solely dependent on the attitude of that player. It is the most important thing, but how many Good Dudes have departed from Cleveland and immediately contributed elsewhere? Between “several” and “many” by my accounting. That’s quite a few.
- José Ramírez is the only starter from today’s Cleveland lineup with an on-base percentage greater than .300 (.367)
- Amed Rosario stole second base today, earning his first Thief Token of 2021. Cleveland is now 15-16 when attempting Base Thievery.
Austin Hedges let another ball scoot between his legs today. Score it a wild pitch, give the runner a bag, it still didn’t matter. I’m also not angry at Hedges — PB and WP are the acronymic risks of the split-leg setup. The advantage is that it is much easier to frame pitches. It throws into starker relief what an absolute god Roberto Pérez is back there.
Cleveland duels Kansas City in another AL Central Showdown. I will be your Recap Captain. Recaptain. No, actually, I take that one back entirely. I will be doing the recap.
I’m trying to treat this as a little more like a real guide to the game and a little less like the old JAWS ride at Universal Studios. It’s a process and I thank you again for reading, seriously.