Player of the Game
Nick Swisher won his first Player of the Game as an Indian, but not in the way he would have liked. A walk and a single lead to a score of 0.41 for Swish, giving him one of the lowest POG winning scores ever. Each pitcher finished with a negative score as well as five batters. Second place went to Ryan Raburn in his first game of the year with a score of 0.30 (less than going 1-1 with a single). The overall team score was -3.22, the second straight shut out against the Indians and the second straight negative team POG score.
There was some good in all the strangeness of Trevor Bauer's first start as an Indian. He didn't give up his first hit until the fourth inning when the Rays scored two runs on their only two hits. He was also able to come back and pitch through the fifth inning despite the plethora of pitches he was forced to throw in the first inning. While his start wasn't a total loss, Bauer did prove that he could use a little more time in the minors and this showing should help Indians fans stomach Carlos Carrasco taking his place in the rotation after this turn.
Lou Marson deserves some credit for standing in there and tagging out Desmond Jennings to save a run. He stood beside the plate down the line on his first tag out of the game, but blocked the plate as well as you can the second time.
Trevor Bauer's Indians debut was a less than stellar to say the least. He walked the first four batters he faced, ending with Evan Longoria who walked with the bases loaded. There were a few close pitches of those called balls, but overall he struggled with his command in the first inning. He was saved at the end of the first inning when a great throw from Ryan Rayburn, who was playing right field, caught out Matt Joyce who was trying to tag up from third.
Bauer settled down for the most part for the rest of his time on the field, but did walk a few more. His 1.4 walks/inning currently ranks him second to last all time among Indians pitchers with at least 3 innings pitched. Only Cal Vasbinder, who walked eight in 5 relief innings across two games has him beat. His four consecutive walks to start a game also tied a team record (Bartolo Colon, 2000)
Lou Marson did a great job blocking the plate (for possibly the first time in his career) to tag out Desmond Jennings who had stole his way to third after walking. The rough collision was too much for Marson, however, and he was removed in the fourth inning. This meant that Carlos Santana had to be taken out of the DH role to catch, forcing starting pitcher Trevor Bauer to bat his own place in the lineup. Marson is listed as day-to-day with a neck strain.
A terrible call in the sixth inning cost the Indians a run after Yunel Escobar was called safe at second, despite being tagged out on the foot by Jason Kipnis far in front of the base. He then scored on a Shelley Duncan single to right field. Matt Albers (who was pitching when this happened) was ejected after the inning ended for arguing the call. Overall a strong case was made for robot umpires as the boys in blue were inconsistant all night. High strikes, check swings and tags at second were the most glaring mistakes.
The Indians were shut out by Tampa's fourth and fifth starters. It certainly won't get any easier tomorrow as they face, not just the Rays ace, but possible the best pitcher in the American League, David Price.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 0 – Tampa Bay Rays 6