1. The Indians managed only five hits and I attribute that more to the exhaustion of a long week, with back-to-back 13-inning games, than I do to the pitching of Orioles’ right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (even if Tribe manager Terry Francona did praise Gonzalez’s performance).
2. The pre-game clubhouse was extremely quiet and deserted until about 30 minutes before the Indians went out for warm-ups. With a day game Sunday in Baltimore, a flight to Chicago and a day game today against the White Sox, they won’t be fully rested until Tuesday night.
3. The most interesting comment from Francona pre-game came from a question about several players saying they decided they needed to run the bases more aggressively before the Tigers’ series. The Indians, seemingly on their way to oblivion this season, swept a three-game series with Detroit and split four games in Baltimore. They've won 5 of 7 since that was brought up. “It may seem small, but to me it’s not,” Francona said. “The way you run the bases generally carries over into the way you play the rest of the game. When you’re aggressive and intelligent on the bases, it carries over to everything else.”
4. I’m sure Francona didn’t want to criticize his players for not playing the game the right way. But he surely likes more aggressiveness in all phases. If only it could carry over to defense.
5. Trevor Bauer said he had his worst fastball command of the year Sunday against the Orioles, when he threw 105 pitches (63 for strikes) in 4.1 innings. I’m still trying to figure out how he struck out eight. That certainly gives credence to Francona’s and Corey Kluber’s belief that Kluber’s 83 strikeouts (second in the American League going into Sunday’s games) mean little.
6. Francona was upbeat about Bauer before the game, saying he’s changed since spring training began. “He was certainly more equipped this year than last year. But halfway through the spring he was having some frustrations,” Francona said. “From about that midpoint on, he’s really taken accountability of what’s asked of him. It’s really all you can ask of guys. He’s got the weapons as a pitcher to be really good. As you start to understand yourself, as he gets to know this league, what guys are trying to do against him, I think you’ll see him start to flourish.”
7. Francona stressed patience with Bauer, especially since he’s only 23. He suggested looking at Kluber, 27, from two years ago, when he was 2-5 with a 5.14 ERA in 12 games for the Indians. Now he’s 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA and probably headed to the All-Star Game.
8. “Guys mature at different ages, different rates,” Francona said. “It’s fun to watch, but you don’t quite know when it’s going to happen. That’s why you try to be patient. If you lose patience, you’re going to lose out on potentially some really good stuff.”
9. Looking for holiday amusement? Check out Nick Swisher on YouTube giving himself a military style “high and tight” haircut. It’s a promotional video for Philips Norelco to support the company’s donation of $25,000 to Operation Homefront, which provides financial assistance, food and home repairs to U.S. military families. I’m torn between two hilarious lines for my favorite. “It feels just like I’m mowing the lawn back in the day,” or “What is my wife going to run her fingers through now?” Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/r2tKc1CxzYc