August Fagerstrom's final thoughts about the Indians 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the visiting Detroit Tigers in the second game of a three-game series at Progressive Field:
1.) The Indians have received some flack for not performing well in front of large crowds. Despite the loss, that argument can't be made for this game, played in front of just the second sellout crowd of the season. When the Tigers scored in the second, the Indians responded in the bottom half. When the Tigers scored in the fourth, the Tribe answered two innings later. When the Tigers tacked on two in the seventh, the Indians battled for runs in both the eighth and ninth innings. Unfortunately, the Tigers just got the last laugh.
2.) When you face a lineup as potent as Detroit's, a manager is going to have to make some tough decisions. So was the case when Miguel Cabrera came to the plate in the 10th inning with one out, the go-ahead run on second in a speedy Ian Kinsler and the red-hot Victor Martinez on deck.
My initial feeling was they should walk Cabrera. With a guy on second and one out, Miggy wasn't going to hit into a double play, so Victor was going to come to the plate either way. Better to face just one of them than both. In addition, Martinez and Cabrera are both slow, so a ground ball from Victor would almost surely be an inning-ending double play.
On the other hand, a manager has to have faith in his best reliever, Cody Allen. If Allen, a righty, would have retired the right-handed Cabrera, the Indians could have walked switch-hitting Victor to face right-handed J.D. Martinez with two outs. Francona took a risk and it backfired. Hindsight is 20/20.
"The one guy, if you're going to take a shot with, is Cody with his stuff," Francona said. "He just misfired. He was trying to go up and in and it went down, middle. He missed his spot by a lot and that's what Cabrera does with it."
3.) Though Trevor Bauer's stat line may not look too pretty, what with the three home runs allowed, he looked great until the back-to-back homers in the seventh did him in. Up until Rajai Davis' homer, Bauer had struck out five through 6 1/3, allowing just two earned runs on six hits and two walks. Bauer admittedly made a bad pitch to Davis and then Kinsler proved he was a good hitter by parking a 96mph fastball.
"Obviously I missed with some pitches but I don't think my location was any better or worse than I usually am," Bauer said. "I made a bad pitch to Rajai Davis, I tried to bounce a curveball and I hung it. They're a good team, they hit well, but the only pitch I'm really upset about is Rajai."
4.) Carlos Santana continues to be the most productive sub-.200 hitter in MLB history with another home run and a single late in the game, which actually raised his average to .201. The combination of elite plate discipline and good power can go a long way, just ask Adam Dunn. Despite Santana's scary batting average, he has actually been one of the team's more productive hitters and is really starting to look like his old self again.
5.) Though the Indians are the most patient team in the MLB in terms of walk rate, it seems they get overly aggressive at inopportune times. With the tying run on second base and no outs in the eighth inning, Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis and Santana saw just five pitches and made three outs to end the inning. Brantley swung at the first pitch and Kipnis and Santana each saw one ball before grounding out to third base. Later, in the bottom of the ninth with Yan Gomes representing the winning run at third base, Asdrubal Cabrera swung at the first pitch and grounded out weakly to first base to end the inning.
6.) Kyle Crockett continues to do at the major league level what he did in the minor leagues: not allow runs. Since Crockett's major league debut in which he allowed a homer to Jed Lowrie, Crockett has thrown six scoreless innings, and could turn into a valuable left-handed weapon out of the bullpen following the depature of Josh Outman.
7.) Any questions about Yan Gomes' defensive ability behind the plate or the contract extension given to him before the start of the season can be put to rest. Gomes threw out another runner at the plate, his third in the last two games, bringing his total number of caught stealings to 16 on the year, tied for second-most in the MLB. More impressive is his 33% success rate, a top-10 mark among regular catchers. Even more impressive is that he threw out Rajai Davis tonight, who was 20-of-24 stealing bases coming into the night and one of the fastest players in the MLB. The idea behind Gomes' extension at the beginning of the year was that if he was even close to the defensive whiz he was last year, he wouldn't even have to hit to be worth the money. Though the offense isn't quite what it was last season, the defense is back and his contract should be a steal for years to come.
August Fagerstrom can be reached at email@example.com. Follow August on Twitter @AugustF_ABJ.