Fifteen final thoughts after a fireworks night crowd left Safeco Field happy.
1. Indians’ right-hander Trevor Bauer (2-4, 4.39) has been average at best this season and he knows it. But he’s not looking for the easy way out.
2. In his nine starts this season, Bauer has given up two earned runs or fewer in four of them. In three of his last four outings (including Friday night), he’s allowed three earned runs. But if he’s chastising his teammates’ dormant bats when he’s on the mound, he’s keeping it to himself.
3. Asked about his lack of run support and if it’s affected how he’s pitched this season, Bauer said, “I really don’t think I’ve done that good a job. That’s the most frustrating for me, I feel like I can be a lot better than I am and I’m not doing that right now. That’s what I’m focused on, giving up (fewer) runs and (fewer) hits. We scored enough to win tonight; I didn’t do my job.”
4. His third time through the Mariners’ order, Bauer retired eight of nine batters, getting stronger as he went.
5. “That would be normal for me, to get more comfortable as the game goes along. I thought I did all right,” he said. “I threw better pitches and I tried to execute the same plan the whole night.”
6. Indians manager Terry Francona said Bauer fought his command early and didn’t work ahead in the count very often. “But as he got into the game I thought he got much better,” Francona said. “He really didn’t have a lot of his off-speed working real effectively where he could go to his changeup or his breaking ball, but he still pitched with his fastball and his cutter. He left a cutter over to (Endy) Chavez for the home run.”
7. Going into the ninth inning, the Indians were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners’ bullpen had given up only one earned run in 23 innings of relief. But the Indians made it two in 24 innings when Nick Swisher stroked a one-out single to right, went to second on a groundout and scored on Michael Bourn's single to right.
8. Francona didn’t say much about Swisher’s base-running blunder in the seventh inning on a ground ball booted by Mariners’ first baseman Logan Morrison for an error. Swisher said he assumed Morrison was going to make a play on the batter Bourn, so he kept his head down and ran from second to third. Morrison threw to third to nab Swisher as he slid.
9. Asked if third base coach Mike Sarbaugh told Swisher to run, Francona said, “Not with two outs. Swish was running hard, but had his head down.” Asked if Swisher should have stayed at second, Francona said, “Yeah.”
10. The Indians managed just five hits, four off Chris Young (7-4, 3.15), in losing their fifth in the last six games. Swisher said Young, who is 6-foot-10, is unique.
11. “He’s not your typical guy. His ball comes out on a flat plane, not on a downward angle,” Swisher said. “That’s where you get a lot of swings and misses on those high fastballs. He was getting those calls tonight, which normally he might not. Just throwing mainly fastballs, mixing in a couple sliders and changeups.
12. Francona said of Young, “He’s a big, tall kid and when he does throw down there’s a ton of deception with it.”
13. Francona praised Vinnie Pestano and Nick Hagadone for getting out of an eighth inning jam after Kyle Seager and Morrison hit back-to-back singles off Kyle Crockett. Pestano entered with runners on first and third and none out and got Mike Zunino to pop out to second. Then Hagadone took over and retired Michael Saunders on a foul out to third and Dustin Ackley on a fly ball to right.
14. As for his team’s tendency to keep fighting, Francona said, “We always will. There’s no option. It’s hard against some of the better bullpens like this, but you can’t just quit and go home. You’ve got to try to give it a chance to win. Hags and Vinnie got out of big jam to give us a chance. It was a tough situation and they handled it very well. If you put yourself in that position, you’ll win some of those.”
15. Swisher still left the park optimistic. "We battled back, a huge hit by Bournie in the ninth, just not enough," he said. "But it’s all right, we’re moving in the right direction and everybody seems to be getting their game back a little bit." Was he speaking from personal experience?