Indians 6, Phillies 0: Bauer & The Raburn Show Help Tribe to Fourth Straight Win

Trevor BauerOver the last three games heading into last night, the talk of Cleveland sports has been the awakening of the Tribe offense. The 33-run, 48- hit explosion was just what the doctor ordered to heal the wounded psyche of the Wahoo Warriors. And while the bats have been rightfully praised, there has been a dirty little secret side story going on beside it – shhhhhhh don’t jinx it – the starting pitching has actually been solid!

Corey Kluber got things started Sunday when he pitched seven strong innings of two-run baseball. He struck out six without walking a single batter. A night later in Kansas City, with a winning road trip on the line, the much maligned Ubaldo Jimenez gave his signature performance in a Tribe uniform, completely shutting out the Royals for seven innings on just three hits. As the Indians returned home after an 11-day trip, Zach McAllister followed suit with seven innings of his own against the Phillies. Like Kluber, The Zach Attack allowed just two runs – both on solo homers. With the doubleheader played last Sunday, the Indians needed a spot starter to keep the line moving. 22-year old phenom Trevor Bauer would be summoned from Columbus.

During the wacky first week of the season, it was Bauer who was called upon to make one start in Tampa Bay, thanks to the injury to Scott Kazmir and Carlos Carrasco stuck in suspension. He opened that game full of nerves and walked the first four batters he faced. He managed to guy through five innings, throwing 105 pitches. He walked seven, yet only gave up three runs on three hits. You could see the electric stuff he had, but Bauer was (and is) still a work in progress.

Last night he would get another shot and looked like he had made some strides since we last saw him close to a month ago. Bauer again started a little shaky, walking two in the first inning, but with the help of  Yan Gomes, was able to wiggle free without any damage. Philadelphia leadoff man Jimmy Rollins made the mistake of trying to run on The Yanimal and he failed. Gomes through a perfect strike to second to nail Rollins for the first out of the inning. With two out and Chase Utley at first, Bauer threw a knee-buckling breaking ball that Ryan Howard stared at for strike three. It was the kind of tantalizing pitch that has the organization so excited about him.

To open the third, Bauer issued his third walk to Laynce Nix, then erased him on an athletic, yet risky play. Ben Revere laid down a bunt in front of home plate. Bauer came charging hard and fired an off-balance bullet to second base, narrowly forcing Nix. He would end the inning by again striking out a Phillie looking, this time Michael Young.

Meanwhile, the offense had the task of getting after old friend Cliff Lee, making his first start at Progressive Field since being dealt by the Tribe to Philadelphia in 2009. Lee, now in his second stint with the Phillies, is as nasty as ever. But in the third, the Indians got to him.

Instead of the long ball that had served them so well during the three-game winning streak, it was small ball that did the job in this one. With a 1-0 lead in the third and one out, Michael Brantley put down a beautiful bunt for a single that nobody saw coming. Jason Kipnis worked a walk, something not easily done against Lee with his pinpoint control. Up stepped Asdrubal Cabrera who continued to show Tribe fans that he is breaking out of his April slump. Hitting right-handed, Cabrera roped a doubled down the left field line that plated both Brantley and Kipnis. Mark Reynolds, known for his power, reached base on an infield single to short which moved Cabrera to third.

That’s where the Ryan Raburn show continued.

With a second inning single in his pocket, Raburn hit a dribbler down the third base line drawing no throw for a two-out, RBI single. When you are hot, you are hot. The Tribe’s lead was now 4-0.

Back to Bauer. As he had done in the first and third, Trevor opened both the fourth and the fifth innings with walks. In the fourth he struck out Carlos Ruiz to end a two-on, two-out threat. The highlight came on a great, extra-base hit saving catch at the wall by, you guessed it, Raburn. An inning later, the first two Phillies reached via the free pass. However, the kid from UCLA retired Rollins, Young, and Utley to close out the frame, and his night.

“Everything was working at points, but not everything all at the same time. For whatever reason, I lock in more when there’s guys on base. I’m a really competitive guy. I don’t like giving up runs. I need to do a better job of doing that when no one is on,” Bauer said.

At 93 pitches and a day off looming, it was easy for Terry Francona to turn to his bullpen. Yes, Bauer walked six and had some command issues, but if I told you that your starting pitcher would go five scoreless innings of one hit, five K ball, would you take it? I know I would. A great stat from our friend Jordan Bastian from Indians.com: Bauer has 13 walks in 10 innings, but only one of baserunners have scored.

“When he got into some traffic out there, he made unbelievable pitches. He attacked hitters when he had to with really good stuff,” said Francona.

The Tribe rotation is now on a four-game run where they have given up just four runs in 26 innings (1.38 ERA) while recording four wins. Not too shabby.

As for that offense, they would add another run in the fifth off of Lee. Reynolds hit a sharp one out grounder to Rollins at short, who booted it between his legs. Reynolds was running hard all the way and thanks to a great slide, advanced to second. With two out, that man did it again. Ryan Freaking Raburn, folks. He smashed a double to right field bringing home Reynolds, giving the Tribe a 5-0 lead.

In the seventh, it was another Raburn one out single that was the catalyst for the final run of the game. It was sandwiched between three more infield hits by Carlos Santana, Gomes, and Drew Stubbs (who got the two-out RBI).

Raburn’s ninth inning strikeout ended an incredible 12-13 run with four homers and nine RBIs.

“When you can plug a guy into your lineup like Raburn and he gets this hot, it’s such an added bonus,” said Francona. “He’s been so hot. We’ve been able to hit him all over the order. The catch he made in the fourth inning; the game was still close and that kind of changed things. He’s been huge for us.”

Relievers Bryan Shaw, Rich Hill, Joe Smith, and Cody Allen pitched four scoreless innings to close out the 6-0 shutout win, giving Bauer his first win as an Indian.

The Tribe now gets a much deserved day off before welcoming the Minnesota Twins to town for a three-game set over the weekend.

(photo via Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)

  • Harv 21

    Those walks can give you a heart attack, but here’s last night’s quote from the great Michael Young that makes you think that if/when Bauer figures it out …

    “We had some walks, but it was kind of tough to really get locked in on
    one certain pitch. He had good velocity, good breaking ball, threw his
    off-speed stuff over. Any count, really, there were no patterns.”

  • mgbode

    watched this game on my laptop with the Nats v. Braves game on the TV. Zimmerman/Maholm both near-perfect pitching performances may have tainted my view, but Bauer/Lee looked terrible by comparison.

    I’m really hoping Bauer can fool hitters more often into swinging at those crazy pitches.

  • ThatAlex

    “Terrible” is really over-stretching it.
    Cliff Lee didn’t pitch all that badly, and Bauer just needs to focus on keeping his fastball down.

  • boomhauertjs

    I was at the game last night and was disappointed in the attendance. Great weather, Bauer Outage, and hot offense and still fans don’t show up. Time to “Fan Up” Cleveland!

  • left out

    i never thought i’d say santana is leading all of baseball in hitting. and 1st in onbase and 2nd in slugging. and probably the best 3 gm stretch rayburn has ever had. how ya like that, detroit?

  • mgbode

    relative to Zimmerman/Maholm’s performances

  • Kildawg

    Bauer was optioned back down to Columbus but I firmly believe he will be recalled to start one of the doubleheader games on the 13th. As it stands, the other pitcher slated there is Masterson. Since Bourn isn’t ready yet I think we see Fedroff called up. Other choices are Phelps and Santos, but I see the OF needing a boost which gives Fedroff the nod.

  • mgbode

    Reminds me of a couple fun threads:

    Praising Santana after his call-up:
    http://waitingfornextyear.com/2010/07/sabr-toothed-triber-why-not-carlos/

    And the one that instigated the positive karmic balance:
    http://waitingfornextyear.com/2010/06/cleveland-twitter-users-blamebranyan/

  • mgbode

    also, since that 2nd thread, we have not seen a season in any sport where a Cleveland team finished above .500 #BlameBranyan

  • nj0

    I don’t see him maintaining his .455 BABIP, but I’m not complaining.

  • nj0

    I’m still worried about Bauer. With the caveat that he’s only 22, his lack of control is unsettling. You may be able to get AAA players out with that stuff, but MLB hitters are quickly going to learn to stop swinging and take the free base (or at least force you to throw 25+ pitches an inning).

  • nj0

    I was watching on MLB game tracker. Bauer has a lot of different pitches. If he can put it together, he’s going to be really good. If he can’t, he’s going to be Jimenez.

  • Harv 21

    and I think that’s below his floor. Because he strikes me as a competitive SOB, a mean streak guy in the best way. Jiminez seems devoid of that.

  • Natedawg86

    Can we just bring him back and forth when we want, or is there some sort of limit?

  • nj0

    I agree, but there’s plenty of competitive pitchers who can’t locate their pitches. Hope it works out for him. It’d be nice to win a trade not involving Austin Kearns or Eduardo Perez.

  • nj0

    How about that Luis Valbuena?

  • http://twitter.com/GreatestHurley Jason Hurley

    To be fair, 13 walks in 10 innings – he’s really lucky he doesn’t have an ERA upwards of 10 at this point.
    That said, I haven’t seen his starts – is he missing by a lot or just getting stung for trying to nibble?

  • mgbode

    yeah, if you are a relief pitcher, you can get away with those types of pitch counts / inning, but not as a SP. we’ll see what adjustments he makes to MLB hitters.

  • Steve

    Actually MLB hitters aren’t swinging at his stuff outside the zone, just 18.6% of the time, which is lower than any qualified pitcher currently in the majors. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a positive. Guys already know how to lay off his stuff out of the zone, and his swinging strike percentage (6.1 this year, 6.5 last year) is incredibly low, even if it is just a small sample size. If guys are able to lay off pitches, make you work, and still put the bat on the ball, hits are going to start falling in, and you’re not going to be able to get by walking 6 guys a night.

  • Hypno_Toad

    Classic Indians. Trade bench players and get superstars. Trade superstars and get bench players.

  • mgbode

    he has about 100 pitches (slight hyperbole) and most of them move off the plate pretty good. he’s trying to just fool batters right now and get them to swing pretty well out of the zone and it ends up upping his pitch count pretty easy.

    I think it’s more philosophical than control, to be honest.

  • Steve

    They’ve gone this long without the extra OF. Unless Swisher is banged up, I’ll say Barnes so that they can have a second lefty again until Hagadone can come back up.

  • BIKI024

    he’s going to be Jimenez? how exactly? they are completely different type of pitchers, different delivery, different type of pitches, i mean if you mean unpredictable then that’s 65% of SP’s in MLB, not unique to Jiminez.

  • nj0

    I mean he’s got a lot of good pitches that will be worthless because of lack of control. Like Jimenez.

  • BIKI024

    i think he needs more cowbell

  • Garry_Owen

    He did have a bunch of pitches really high in the zone last night. I chalk this up to “over pitching,” probably because of who he was facing – but this is encouraging because it’s completely fixable.

  • Kildawg

    Barnes was 26th man, not sure if he is exempt from the 10-day wait for recall (injury the only exception I know of). McDade DFA to clear room for Carrera now on 25-man.