The Indians continue to respond to adversity, resilience is their best quality

They have responded to adversity all season long

James Rapien
July 14, 2019 - 6:50 pm
Jul 14, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Adam Cimber (90) reacts after getting the final out during the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Indians found themselves in a tough spot on Sunday afternoon.

All-Star Shane Bieber was poised to have one of his best starts of the season and his team was cruising, but it wouldn’t be all sunshine for the Tribe. Things unraveled quickly in the seventh inning.

Bieber walked Luis Arraez and then Mitch Garver was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch. The Indians challenged the call, but it was upheld. Later in the inning Jake Cave was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded that cut the Indians lead to 3-2. It was originally called a foul ball, but the Twins used their managerial challenge to overturn the call.

Both decisions by the umpires in New York were questionable, especially the first one that umpires said hit Garver. The Indians thought it hit the knob of the bat.

“Once it goes to New York, it’s up to them and that’s where I was a having a little bit of a problem because the explanation (was) that they have different views than we do,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “That was always told to us in spring training that to make it fair they have the exact same view that we do, ‘cause if not, it’s not fair. I’d like to get that straight because that’s concerning.”

Max Kepler singled to bring the tying run home in the seventh and suddenly the Indians, who were coasting with a three-run lead just moments prior, were in danger of being swept by the Twins.

Instead of panicking or getting mad at the umpires, the Indians kept their composure. Bieber, Francona and plenty of others were frustrated, but they didn’t let it disrupt their focus.

Reliever Adam Cimber came on in the seventh and struck out Nelson Cruz with the bases loaded on three straight pitches. That was a huge moment in the game and helped stabilize things for the Indians.

Then, Carlos Santana, who’s been the Indians’ best hitter this season, delivered another clutch hit, with a 384 foot home run to right field that gave Cleveland a 4-3 lead. It felt like the Indians had gotten past the adversity and were going to avoid being swept by the Twins.

Arraez made sure it wasn’t easy, hitting a double off of Cimber to start the eighth inning. The Indians responded by making two great defensive plays. Jose Ramirez made a diving stop and throw to first base to prevent Arraez from advancing and then outfielder Greg Allen made a diving catch in center field to keep him from scoring. Cimber responded by striking out Miguel Sano to end the inning.

"It’s nice for us to get punched in the stomach and come right back," Francona said. "That was a good ending, too. That would’ve been a tough day.”

The Indians have a way of bouncing back when you doubt them the most. They had two reviews go against them and their 3-0 lead completely evaporated because of it. Minnesota was in position to deliver the knockout blow with the bases loaded, but the Indians didn’t let that happen.

No one knows if they are going to catch the Twins in the American League Central Division. They’re still 6½ games back, which is a pretty significant hole to overcome. Some teams aren’t resilient. Some athletes make excuses and point fingers at others when they face adversity. The 2019 Indians aren’t built that way.

They’ve lost important pieces of their team due to injury. They’re relying on rookies Oscar Mercado and Bobby Bradley on a daily basis. They’ve used 11 starting pitchers this year because of injuries.

These Indians don’t know if they’re going to win the division or earn a playoff spot. The theme entering the 2019 season was winning in the present, while building for the future. This team has done both over the past five weeks and it’s because they’re a resilient group.

Brad Hand didn’t get mad when Jason Kipnis bobbled a ground ball in the ninth inning that put Ehire Adrianza on first base with no outs. Instead, Hand battled back and struck out the next three batters he faced to pick up his 24th save of the season.

The Indians have plenty of fight in them. They’ve responded each and every time people have counted them out this season.

Sunday was just another example of how resilient they are, which is why no one should count them out in the American League Central Division.