Here are 10 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians' 11-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves Sunday night.
1. When the Indians acquired Josh Donaldson last August, manager Terry Francona talked at the time about Donaldson being able to effectively scare opposing pitchers, as he's one of the more dangerous hitters in the game when he's swinging the bat well. Donaldson hit three home runs in 16 games with the Indians and was never quite "that" Josh Donaldson. He hit two in less than an hour on Sunday night, proving Francona's point in the worst way for the Indians.
2. "He’s one of the scariest hitters when he gets going in a game," Francona said Sunday night. "I’m sure if you’re sitting on their side, you get excited for them."
3. Both home runs were off Shane Bieber, who was ousted in the third inning in a rough outing. But, of all the pitches he threw in his 2 1/3 innings, those two weren't pitches with which he was upset. But, both balls were crushed nonetheless.
4. The first home run came off a slider low in the zone. Bieber started the at-bat with a slider low and away. He threw a second for a ball. He then came back with a third. It was right on the bottom of the zone, but not quite as far outside. All in all, it wasn't a mistake pitch. But, Donaldson drilled it over the center-field wall.
5. In the second at-bat, Bieber had Donaldson down 1-2 after tossing a curveball. That set up a fastball above the zone, trying to get Donaldson to chase. He did, but, Bieber still lost the battle. Donaldson hit a mammoth home run to the bleacher seats in left field. In less than an hour, he had doubled his season long home run total and more than doubled his RBI total. Neither pitch was perfect, but it didn't mean they were misses, either.
6. "I thought he hit some pretty good pitches tonight. We're going to have to go back and look at it and look at some sequences, but he was pretty locked in. I thought I could execute a little bit better but all and all, I thought he hit some pretty good pitches. ... Yeah he turned it around pretty good, and after a curveball as well. So, like I said, I have to go back and look at it and reflect on it more tonight or tomorrow with that off day, but he's a good hitter and he put some good swings on some, what I thought were some decently executed, pitches, but they could have been better."
7. "I didn’t think Biebs located nearly like he has been," Francona said, speaking to Bieber's outing as a whole. "The two pitches that Donaldson hit were probably both balls. One was a breaking ball that was down and away and the other one was about head-high. But Beibs, when Biebs is good, like normal, he’s following the glove. When he misses, he doesn’t miss by much. He was just scattering balls tonight."
8. Kevin Plawecki, ironically enough, had a great outing. Plawecki pitched the ninth to try to give the bullpen some additional rest on top of Monday's off day, which for the Indians seems well timed after a 19-5 run by the Braves starting in the third inning of the second game of Saturday's doubleheader. Plawecki brought the, uh, heat, averaging 78.1 mph on his 13 pitches. Baseball Savant categorized them as 12 curveballs and one changeup because, surely, nobody is throwing fastballs at that velocity. But, rest assured, it was all fastballs.
9. Plawecki said he couldn't really even see Roberto Perez's fingers as he called for signs, and it didn't really matter.
10. “Yeah, all fastballs," Plawecki said. "I’m not gonna go up there and – I’ve heard of a lot of stories of guys that don’t pitch, go up there and try and break off some breaking balls and get hurt. I’m not gonna do that to myself. Like I said, I know it’s a story, but at the same time it’s more so just to give these bullpen guys a break. Obviously the game didn’t go the way we wanted, so it was a chance to kind of give them a breather. It is what it is.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.