Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 5-4 14-inning loss to the Yankees Wednesday night.
1) The Indians handed starter Josh Tomlin a 3-0 first inning lead with which to work, but the right-hander couldn’t make the early lead hold up. He made two costly mistakes via a pair of two-out home runs to Mark Teixeira that accounted for three RBI.
The Yankees first baseman led off the fourth inning with a 369-foot shot to the right field bleachers to put the visitors on the board, 3-1. In the Yankees three-run fifth inning, Teixiera was responsible for two of the run thanks to his second homer – a 390-footer a little high up in the right field stands as New York took a 4-3 lead.
“I thought (Tomlin) was really good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “The first home run to Teixeira was a breaking ball down that I thought was a good pitch. After he gave up that one to him, he stayed away with it. But a fastball came back up over the plate for the two-run homer. He’s going give up some hits, but he’s spread them out a little bit.”
2) On the bright side, Tomlin’s recorded a career-best 21 2/3 consecutive innings without issuing a walk. However, he conintue to be hurt by the longball, having given up 13 on the season – in 13 starts.
3) The Indians bullpen has been lights out for a majority of the season and was cruising along Wednesday night before Jacoby Ellsbury’s game-winning home run in the top of the 14th against reliever Vinnie Pestano snapped a streak of 18 consecutive innings in which the Tribe bullpen hadn’t allowed a run – a stretch dating back to Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals.
“I was trying to back-foot it, but just didn’t get it there,” Pestano said. “When you throw a pitch like that to a hitter like that, you need to get it down. It didn’t and (Ellsbury) did what he gets paid to do…lefties throughout my whole career have always seen me better. I had him 0-2 and was in control of the at-bat. But I made a mistake and he hit it out.”
Pestano has always been one to beat himself up over mistakes. So, it’s only fair to note that the homer is the only run he’s allowed in five innings of work since retirning to the bullpen.
4) But even with Ellsbury’s game-winner spoiling the run (but mercifully ending the 4-hour, 51-minute affair), the Indians bullpen has given up only 13 hits over its last 19 innings in limiting opposing batters to a .194 average with its 0.47 ERA over that stretch dropping the bullpen’s season ERA from 3.17 to 2.99.
The game even featured an encouraging outing out of former closer John Axford, who contributed 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
“They’ve been doing it all year, Tomlin said. “And they continue to keep doing it.”
5) Lonnie Chisenhall’s strikeout in the eighth inning against reliever Dellin Betances finally qualified him for league leader status for the first time this season. But he went 0-for-5 Wednesday and has batted just .188 over his last 22 games, causing his average to plummet from .393 to .327. The Silver lining is Chisenhall still ranks among the American League's top five hitters and let’s be honest, most players would take .327 for half a season in a heartbeat.
6) It’s been a long time coming, but Nick Swisher is finally heating up – and not just by hitting sporadic (albeit clutch) home runs. Over his last eight games, Swisher is batting .276 with nine RBI including Wednesday’s two-hit, two-RBI effort.
But Swisher seemed a little over anxious to pick up a third home run in as many nights against his former team, when he struck out swinging with the bases loaded and just one out in the 10th inning.