Roster Update: Trevor Bauer was added as the Indians 26th man for the second game of the double header and was the starter. He will go back to Columbus after the game.
Player of the Game
Trevor Bauer set a career high with eight strike outs and was dominant overall during his six inning start. Bauer allowed just a single earned run and seven base runners, four of which came in his final inning. This was Bauer’s best start as an Indian and the third best start by an Tribe pitcher in 2014 after Zach McAllister this afternoon and Justin Masterson on Opening Day. His final POG score was 3.82.
Trevor Bauer had a rough beginning after a two base error by Asdruba Cabrera lead off the game. The second batter was safe at second after an odd play in right, but Bauer never lost control and was dominant during his first five innings. Bauer allowed just two base runners between the first and sixth innings. In the past a rough start like today was enough to throw Bauer off his game and make him lose control, but there was no sign of that this time. His increased maturity showed that he should be ready to take over a spot in the rotation, should one be vacated.
Nyjer Morgan came in as a pinch runner in the ninth inning and stole second without a throw. It was his second steal of the year, but more importantly, the Indians have stolen their first six bases without being caught once. This may not be the fastest team in the league, but they pick their spots well and don’t make unnecessary outs.
With all the new rules in effect this season, somethings are bound to get lost in the cracks and one such rule showed up today. Elliot Johnson caught a ball at the wall in right field in the first inning, then dropped it when making the transfer. In the past, this would have still been an out, but a new rule requires the player to secure the ball with his free hand first for the out to be complete, only then he can safely drop the ball. The rule was explained in detail just yesterday after a similar situation happened in Texas. Even manager Terry Francona had not heard of the new rule as he challenged the play and the call was upheld.
The Padres didn’t need solid contact to take the lead in the sixth as a single, hit batter and walk loaded the bases. Chase Headley then hit a little blooper behind third to score the Padre’s second run of the game. While this was the hit that scored the run, it was not the most disappointing at bat of the inning. Bauer hit Seth Smith on an inside pitch that barely grazed his jersey with a 1-2 count. Bauer had a great fastball all day and was probably just trying to set up something outside for the K, but the hit batter eventually lead to the run. Bauer did get out of the inning without further damage by getting a pop out to the catcher followed by a strike out of pinch hitter, Yasmandi Grandal.
Batting the 0-5 Elliot Johnson lead-off today was a questionable decision, but not as much as leaving him in to face Joaquin Benoit in the eight inning. After Mike Aviles lead off with an infield single, Johnson bunted foul three times for the strike out. The first problem is that it has been statistically proven that sac bunting with a runner at first and no one out does not increase your chances of scoring a run. Secondly, the only reason Johnson was in instead of David Murphy (who went 6-8 with five RBI in the two games before today) was because the starter was left handed. With a right handed reliever on the mound, Murphy or Lonnie Chisenhall should have been brought in as a pinch hitter. Terry Francona rarely makes mistakes but this one makes no sense.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 1 – San Diego Padres 2
Up Next: The Indians head to Chicago with Danny Salazar going against John Danks in the opening game with an 8:05 PM start time.