Tribe 9: Mike Clevinger loses his footing in 4th

Blue Jays score winning run after blown call

Alex Hooper
April 14, 2018 - 12:17 am
Apr 13, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Aledmys Diaz (right) celebrates with third baseman Yangervis Solarte (26) and center fielder Kevin Pillar (11) after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland, OH (92.3 the Fan) – 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’ 8-4 loss to the Blue Jays.

Top 1: Mike Clevinger had been near perfect in 15 2/3 innings to begin the season, including the first three of Friday’s tilt against Toronto. Then the righty lost his footing in the 4th.

Clevinger had thrown 28 strikes in an efficient 43-pitches over the first three innings of the ballgame, then walking Justin Smoak and Yongervis Solarte in the next frame. After a deep flyout from Russell Martin, allowed an RBI single to Kevin Pillar, followed by a three-run shot to Aledmys Diaz to tie the game.

Clevinger's 4th inning pitch chart

Bottom 1: "I just lost it for a little bit and lost it just enough to lose the game," Clevinger said. "You have to take what you did wrong, try to learn from it, try to capitalize from it. I just kind of lost my legs going into that fourth."

Top 2: Clevinger, when successful, works low in the zone while getting ahead in the count. After getting behind in two counts against the first 10 hitters, the 27-year-old got behind the first four in the 4th.

Bottom 2: “He tried to overcompensate, just he was so good early and then we get the four and shoot, the wind is blowing straight in and probably the last thing you want to happen is to walk guys and you know and I’m kicking myself because I left him out there for a long inning, I just didn’t want him to think that the first time he ran into trouble we’d go to the bullpen, but it didn’t end well,” Manager Terry Francona said.

Top 3: With the game tied at four and their starter already to the showers, the Indians almost struck back in the 6th, when Francisco Lindor doubled with one out. With two down, Jose Ramirez put one up the middle to Jays second baseman Devin Travis, who bobbled the ball, but played it barely in front of his body.

Lindor broke home, and was thrown out at home, his hand being tagged on a head-first slide. Francona declined to challenge the play.

Bottom 3: “I thought it was really good,” Francona said of the aggression form Lindor. “They caught a break that that ball stayed, whether you’re (third base coach Mike Sarbaugh) or Frankie, there’s no way to know exactly where that ball is, and it stayed close enough where they had a shot at us. But I thought it was good base-running and coaching.”

Top 4: Andrew Miller was close to putting out yet another fire in the 7th inning. With Randall Grichuk on third, walked by Zach McAllister to start the inning, Miller induced a groundball from Steve Pearce to Yonder Alonso, who fired home to Yan Gomes for the second out.

Bottom 4: With two down, Miller had Teoscar Hernandez – in his season debut – down 0-2. The lefty, Miller, spun a slider back door to the righty that dropped into the zone causing everyone the field to move towards their respective dugout.

Except home plate umpire Gerry Davis, who called the pitch a ball. Hernandez shot a double to left field the next pitch, scoring what wound up to be the winning run in Pearce.

Andrew Miller vs. Teoscar Hernandez, 7th inning, 4-13

Top 5: “For at least a moment, I had moved on,” Miller said. “I was headed to the dugout. My mentality was there with it, too. The next pitch, honestly, I felt like I had the right idea, I just didn't spin the ball very well. I think I wanted to wrap one around him.”

Bottom 5: “We had a runner on third,” he continued. “I felt like he kind of showed me something interesting when he pulled the fastball that far foul behind in the count. I didn't want to throw one for a strike down and in. I wanted to kind of get one wrapped around him. Usually if I execute that, they can't keep the ball fair. I didn't do that. I didn't execute. I think the ball, I have to watch to watch it and think through it more. I think the conviction I had behind the pitch was the right idea. I just didn't execute. I didn't get it to the point I wanted to. Credit him. He had a good swing. I think the ball was in and he kept it fair, did damage and did what he was supposed to do."

Top 6: At 5-4, the Tribe’s last real chance to reclaim the game came in the bottom of the 8th following a Yan Gomes single off of Ryan Tepera. With one on and no outs, the team’s best bunter, Bradley Zimmer struck out before Rajai Davis’ inning-ending double play.

Often one to go to the bunt, Terry Francona said his decision to swing away was mostly because of the state of the bullpen.

Bottom 6: “The problem is it’s hard to play, even though we’re at home, it’s hard to play for a tie when we go to the bullpen that early,” the skipper said. “(Nick) Goody had thrown 27 pitches yesterday and we weren’t going to pitch so we’re starting to run short, so if we get in a tie game and we go to Cody (Allen) all we have is (Tyler) Olson left so I thought let’s try for the win.”

Top 7: The other curious part of the decision making in the 8th was Francona’s decision not to pinch-hit Michael Brantley for Davis. The manager had said days before that on Brantley’s days off, he would not use the outfielder on defense.

With Brandon Guyer on the bench, Francona did not see it as an opportune time to go to his all-star.

Bottom 7: “It’s worth having him, you just gotta have the perfect situation,” Francona said.

Top 8: Righty Matt Belisle relieved Miller in the 8th, retiring the Blue Jays in order. With the bullpen already taxed upon Clevinger’s early exit, Francona remained with Belisle, and the 9th did not go as planned.

Diaz struck a leadoff single and Travis was hit by a pitch before Pearce doubled both home to put the game further out of reach. Hernandez extended the Toronto lead to four with a double a batter later. By the end, Belisle had thrown 33 pitches.

Bottom 8: “Yeah, that’s what happens when you have an early exit,” Francona said. “You know I felt bad because I thought Matt came in and pitched a real good first inning and then he got extended and ran into trouble and you wish you could help out more, but that’s what happens when you have early exits.”

Top 9: As curious as the game was as a whole, the final scoring was as confusing as anything. McAllister was saddled with the loss despite the fact that the winning run in the 7th, Pearce, reached base after the righty had left the game.

The official scorer ruled that because Pearce had reached base on a fielder’s choice that retired Grichuk, who reached against him, McAllister was still responsible.

Bottom 9: Scoring twice in the 1st inning, the Indians moved into a tie with the Los Angeles Angels for the most 1st-inning runs in 2018, 15.