Loss of Andrew Miller trickles down in Indians' bullpen

Trevor Bauer has been good, but 122 pitches is a lot

Alex Hooper
April 30, 2018 - 11:38 pm
Apr 30, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (47) makes a put out at first base in the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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Baseball moves at its own pace, at least to this point in time, so let us pace ourselves through nine innings of takeaways from the Indians’ 7-5 win over the Rangers.

Top 1: Trevor Bauer is adamant that he can go deep into games, yet just about everyone was surprised with the right-hander headed out to the mound for the top of the 7th inning. Bauer had thrown 111 pitches to that point, and was set to face the 6-7-8 hitters for Texas, the bottom quarter of the Rangers lineup going 0-for-8 with 7 strikeouts on the night.

Bottom 1: With a 2-1 lead, Bauer threw a 2-1 cutter down and away to Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos, which was smacked over the right field wall to tie the game and end Bauer’s night.

Top 2: “That was a good pitch -- one of the better cutters I threw all night,” Bauer said. “Down and away, and he hit it. So, you tip your cap to him. Sometimes hitters hit good pitches.”

Bottom 2: “Something that's important to me is being able to make it through seven this year. So, I really appreciated (Manager Terry Francona) sending me out,” Bauer added. “Unfortunately, I didn't reward the decision, but I felt like I had good stuff and was competitive with everything in the seventh.”

Top 3: Despite picking up a no-decision, Bauer still tossed his fifth quality start in six starts. The 27-year-old racked up a season-high 11 strikeouts, the 10th double-digit strikeout outing of his career.

Bauer’s 2.45 ERA in April was a big reason the skipper went back to him.

Bottom 3: “It was a high number. He was throwing the ball really well,” Francona said. “What happened, I didn’t want it to happen. That’s kind of stating the obvious. But without Andrew out there, and the way he was throwing the ball, I just thought it was ok. It didn’t work.”

Top 4: The other reason Francona chose to try and stretch out his starter was the lack of energy, and effectiveness, of his bullpen. Since Andrew Miller was placed on the DL, the Indians bullpen has allowed 16 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings.

That includes two by Tyler Olson and another from Cody Allen on Monday. Allen reached 41 pitches in the game, the second-highest single game total in his career.

Bottom 4: “We have some guys pitching maybe in situations they haven’t pitched before,” Francona said. “We may have to win a few games like this. Sometimes that’s the way it is. But I still think we’re going to be ok. I think we have guys who can do it. We made some mistakes. Olson got some pitches up tonight that really hurt. I still think we’re going to be ok.”

Top 5: The man called up to replace Miller, lefty Jeff Beliveau, earned his second career save in his second outing as a member of the Indians. The last came in 2014 while a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Beliveau fell behind all-or-nothing slugger Joey Gallo, 3-0 on all curveballs, before throwing four straight fastballs for strikes. The free swinger watched the final strike cross the plate at his knees, middle of the plate.

Bottom 5: “It's a whole chess game and I guess next time I face him, he's going to be looking for a heater and not get burned on the heater again,” Beliveau said. “Hopefully, I'll have a good breaking ball that night.”

Top 6: The Indians needed help from everybody on Monday, but it was the man with a day off, Yonder Alonso who came through at the most opportune time.

After entering as a defensive replacement for Edwin Encarnacion with a 3-2 lead after the 7th, Alonso swatted a two run single in the 8th to give the Indians a cushion at 7-4. With the Rangers manufacturing a run in the top of the 9th, the insurance paid off.

Bottom 6: “There's no day off,” Alonso said. “Anybody can have a huge impact on the game, whether you're on the bench or in the bullpen or playing. For me, and speaking for everybody, everybody is ready and understands how important it is to go out there and give it your best."

Top 7: Encarnacion did not reach base in the game as his season average dropped to a paltry .160. The full-time DH did flash some leather in the 6th, snaring a 99.4 mph grounder off the bat of Jurickson Profar to keep the speedy Delino DeShields from taking an extra base.

Bottom 7: “He takes a lot of pride in his defensive side, too,” Alonso added. “Earlier today, we were catching ground balls together. Every day, me and him go out there and catch 30, 40, 50 ground balls every single day. We definitely take it on a serious note and we understand how important it is to go out there and win a ballgame on the defensive side."

Top 8: In a game full of snafus, the Indians’ second run almost never happened in the 5th. On a Jason Kipnis double to deep center, speedster Bradley Zimmer tagged up at second base as the ball hung in mid-air with DeShields in pursuit.

When the ball dropped, Zimmer sprinted towards home and slid barely under the relay throw. The play was reviewed and the ‘safe’ decision was upheld with no clear evidence one way or the other. The decision to tag up did draw some ire from fans, and a correction from the manager.

Bottom 8: “We talked to him,” Francona said. “With one out you’ve got to be to a point where you know you can score. If you can tag up if he catches it, ok. But getting to third with two outs. You know, we’re trying to score. We kind of went over it with him a little bit.”

Top 9: Jose Ramirez’s slow start has long been in the rearview window. With a 2-for-5 night, including the go-ahead RBI on an 8th inning double, the silver slugger has registered a hit in 15 of his last 18 games.

In that 18-game span, Ramirez is 26-of-72 (.361) with six home runs, five doubles and 12 RBI.