Here are 14 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 7-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers Friday night.
1. It didn’t take long for a little extra tension to enter Friday night’s game. Trevor Bauer’s first pitch to Miguel Cabrera was high-and-inside, and either by an emotional reaction or a strategic ploy, Cabrera took exception to it.
2. He turned and began yelling into the Indians’ dugout, directing his words and gesturing toward manager Terry Francona. He walked in that at-bat and as the inning ended, again began yelling into the dugout. He to be escorted back toward his own bench by the umpires. In-between innings Cabrera was still talking about it, this time with first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr.
3. Francona: “I'm not really sure what he wanted me to do. I'm not gonna run down the steps and hide. I just told him to hit, and he did.”
4. Perhaps it was because he was angry the pitch was a little too close for comfort. Perhaps it was somewhat related to last season, in which these two teams had a bit of bad blood. Perhaps it was aimed at elevating tensions enough to get both benches warned, thus making it harder for each pitcher to throw inside. Some in the Indians’ clubhouse think it might have been the latter.
5. Perez: “I think in that situation, we didn’t know if he was serious about it or messing around. I couldn’t tell. I thought the ball wasn’t close to him. Bauer tried to come in on him. I think he got what he wanted, that warning. So we stopped pitching him in. I thought that was the game right there.”
6. Bauer: “That's what he's looking to do. He can't hit the pitch in. You throw in there and it doesn't get called a strike, or he check swings or takes a full swing and it gets called a ball and he gets upset or—I don't know. He's one of the best hitters in the game, so he gets a lot of those calls.”
7. Here’s what Cabrera had to say on the matter, per the Associated Press’ Brian Dulik: “It was an argument between Francona and me—no one else. He made his point, I made my point. … I say something bad, he said something back to me. … It’s kind of that team. We remember bad things that happened. Sometimes, teams have disagreements. … I’m open to [talking] to [Francona]. If he wants to talk, we’ll talk. I like to compete. That’s it.”
8. Bauer did say that he thought the warnings didn’t impact the game plan, which he continued to follow, adding, “No. I still executed the game plan. I executed it really well. I don't know if I've ever seen warnings issued when no one's been hit, no one's been thrown at. It's what they decided to do.”
9. In the fifth, Bauer threw a cutter on the outside edge of the plate that Cabrera hammered to the opposite field for a three-run home run that broke the game open.
10. From Francona’s perspective, the warnings might have impacted Bauer, saying, “Yeah, I would say it did. That at-bat that he hit the home run, you can tell he was kind of sitting out over the plate. He is a good enough hitter and he knows what to do with it.”
11. Though, it certainly didn’t seem to affect Daniel Norris, who threw six shutout innings on only two hits allowed. Until Lonnie Chisenhall’s grand slam in the ninth, it was another lackluster performance for a lineup that can’t seem to string anything together.
12. Chisenhall hopes that grand slam, while not enough Friday night, can spur the Indians’ lineup a bit, saying, “I was talking to Guyer about that on the way up. It happened a lot last year where I think we'd scuffle a little bit in April and then a few of those games where we're fighting back, that rolls over. The passion, the fight, the on-base ability, it carried to the next game. So, we'll see what's going to happen tomorrow. Verlander's on the mound, so it's going to be a fight.”
13. On Friday night, Cabrera got the last laugh, as he often has, being one of the best hitters of his generation who was consistently tormented the Indians. The Indians dominated the Tigers last season after the Tigers held the upper hand by a severe degree in the several previous seasons. The Tigers are a club high in payroll, age and talent but low on time to keep this contention window open. It could be a fight between these two all season.
14. And Bauer and Cabrera will almost certainly square off again.