Trevor Bauer is a beast. I know the stats might not say so, but my man is one heck of a pitcher. We may look back at the trade of Shin-Soo Choo for Bauer and reliever Bryan Shaw (among others) in the same vain as Bartolo Colon trade. I know that is crazy talk, but at age 23, you can see Bauer getting better and better each start while Shaw is a rock as the set up man in the pen.
One had a great day on Sunday, the other, not so much. But the two more Indians who came over in a trade together, Catcher Yan Gomes and super utility man Mike Aviles, played a major hand in the Tribe’s 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.
For six and two-thirds innings, the California kid with the quirky personality dominated the South Siders. As we have seen time and time again, Bauer kept getting better as the game went on. You better get to him early, because if you don’t, Trevor is going to shut you down.
The one big early chance the White Sox had was snuffed out by the arm of The Handsome One. Connor Gillaspie led off the second inning with a single. Gordon Beckham then sent a fly ball to left field. Aviles, playing left because of the left-handed John Danks on the mound for Chicago, made a long run to make the catch in foul territory. Gillaspie was caught halfway off and jogged back to bag. Except Aviles, a shortstop by trade, fired an absolute seed to first. Carlos Santana never made a move until the throw was within reached, completely faking Gillaspie out. He was beaten by a half step.
Said Gomes of the Aviles DP: “That was pretty impressive. It’s a pretty crazy play, because he makes a throw like that and throws it away, everybody’s like, ‘Why is he throwing it?'”
It turned out to be a huge play because the next two batters, Tyler Flowers and Leonys Garcia, both singled. Bauer got out of the jam by getting Alejandro De Aza on a line out to left. After that, it was smooth sailing into the sixth for Bauer.
“When he got himself into a little bit of a bind, he pitched out of it,” Tribe manager Terry Francona said. “I thought he was very good. Early in the game, he’d get a couple outs and then there was a walk or the inning would get extended with a hit, and that probably cost him a bunch of pitches. But he didn’t let them score. As the game progressed, like he does, he got stronger.”
The Tribe’s only run to this point came in the second. With one out, Ryan Raburn walked. Nick Swisher, who is starting to come alive, singled up the middle. Up next was Gomes, the Tribe catcher who was heisted two winters ago with Aviles for the forgettable Esmil Rogers. Yan sent a single to center which scored Raburn and put the Tribe on the board. The 1-0 lead stayed this was until much later in the game.
In the sixth, The Sox opened the frame with a single and a walk. The uber-competitive Bauer fired back with a strikeout of Beckham. Flowers then tapped a dribbler in front of Gomes. He jumped out and chucked one to third to nail the lead runner Dayan Viciedo. With two on and now two out, Bauer got ahead of Garcia and K’d him to end the sixth. It was the biggest of his 10 K’s on the day. The normally stone-faced Bauer let out a mini-roar and fist pump as Garcia waved at strike three. Justin Masterson, Bauer certainly is not.
“I think I had eight (strikeouts) on curveballs, one on a slider, one on a fastball,” Bauer said. “Curveball felt pretty good today.”
Bauer departed with two out in the seventh, giving way to lefty Marc Rzepcyznski, who came on to face the left-handed hitting Adam Dunn, who lined out to short. The 1-0 lead stood, but should have been much bigger. However, Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera spent their afternoons leaving runners on base. After two more fail chances, stranding five total runners, Asdrubal is now a pitiful 2-41 with two outs and runners in scoring position this season.
Things were all set up perfectly for the Tribe. Bryan Shaw would take the eighth and hopefully turn things over to closer Cody Allen for a save opportunity. Ah, but the best laid plans…..
Gillaspie knocked a one out single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Beckham followed with a sharp single to center and all of a sudden the game was tied at one. After Flowers grounded out and moved Beckham to second, Garcia sent a roller up the middle that Kipnis should have easily gotten to. Instead of knocking it down at a minimum, Jason let the ball get past him and a game the Indians had in hand was suddenly in jeopardy.
It was another game to forget in a bad first half for the Tribe’s second baseman. He was 0-4 with two Ks and his weak attempt on the Garcia nearly cost the Tribe the game. Luckily for Kipnis, he was about to be bailed out by The Yanimal, with an assist from Chicago skipper Robin Ventura.
Everyone in baseball knows the Indians weakness is left-handed pitching. They spent most of the afternoon flailing away at Danks. Yet Ventura turned to the right-handed Javy Guerra in the eighth. Swisher poked a single to left with the shift on to put the tying run on base with nobody out. In these spots all season long, Francona has called for the bunt. I was BEGGING for him not to and this time around, he didn’t. And boy did it pay off.
Gomes nearly got Guerra but his deep fly ball to right went just foul into the seats in right. On the very next pitch, Yan straighten it out and sent one into the Sox bullpen for a game-breaking two-run blast.
That’s why I’m thankful this is a team game and got guys like @Yan_AGomes to pick me up! Big win going into the break!
Allen made it stand by striking out the side for his 12th save on the season. Think the move to Cody as the closer was the right move? I’d say so.
Ballgame!! Allen w/2 #whiff & the @Indians win it 3-2! Allen’s last 14 gms: 0.63ERA, 6 saves, 21 #whiff — converted 11 straight SV opps. — Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 13, 2014
This one though, was all about Bauer and the big bomb from The Yanimal.
“He’s really good,” Francona said of Gomes. “You almost want your catcher to be indispensable. I think he’s rapidly becoming that.”
The Tribe now heads into the All-Star break right at .500, 47-47. They come back Friday with a brutal 11-game road trip in front of them, starting with four games in three days against the first place Detroit Tigers. This team has been so inconsistent and will have to get better if they have any shot at getting back to the playoffs.
“I wish our record was better,” said Francona. “I do think, the way we’ve played, now the next couple of months, if we play good baseball, it’ll be very exciting. For everything that’s happened and some of the inconsistencies in our play, it’s in front of us now. But we do need to do some things better.”