The Indians made sure that Cliff Lee’s return to Cleveland was not a victorious one. The Tribe defeated the Phillies 6-0, sweeping the two-game series and extending their current winning streak to four games. They are now 12-13 on the year.
On Wednesday night, the former Tribe ace matched up against his old team for the first time in his career. He faced off against rookie Trevor Bauer, who threw five scoreless innings in his Progressive Field debut and took home his first win as an Indian.
It wasn’t an easy night for Bauer, who walked six batters throughout the game – including four leadoff walks. However, he worked his way out of trouble each time and managed to keep the runs off the board. He finished with five strikeouts and only gave up one hit, a fourth-inning single to outfielder Domonic Brown.
Lee didn’t have quite the same luck. The Indians took an early lead in the second inning, after Carlos Santana walked and Ryan Raburn hit a line drive to right field. Mike Aviles followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Santana and put the Tribe up 1-0. That was all the offense they needed, but they didn’t stop there.
Things only got worse for Lee in the third inning, when Asdrubal Cabrera hit an RBI double to left field that scored Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley, and Raburn added another run later that inning with a single that allowed Cabrera to score. In the bottom of the fifth, Raburn smashed yet another hit – a double to right field — and Mark Reynolds crossed the plate to make it 5-0.
Raburn now has eleven hits, four home runs and nine RBIs in his last three games. He also made a highlight-reel worthy catch in right field, saving Bauer from what would have been an extra-base hit off the bat of Ryan Howard. The Indians’ bench players have seen a lot of action recently due to injuries to Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, and they’ve filled in effortlessly.
The Tribe bullpen continued to be extremely locked in as well, and Bryan Shaw, Rich Hill, Joe Smith and Cody Allen combined to complete the final four innings and preserve the shutout. Shaw gave up two hits and allowed a walk, but struck out two. Smith struck out both batters that he faced.
In this series, the Indians outscored the Phillies 20-2, and they continue to dominate former Cy Young winners. Tribe starters are also 4-0 in their last four outings, which is a good sign for a rotation filled with question marks.
The Good: Ryan Raburn, of course. Also, Yan Gomes did an extremely good job of handling a young pitcher who was having control issues. He’s continuing to show a lot of maturity as a catcher despite his inexperience.
The Bad: Trevor Bauer is playing a dangerous game with all those walks. He almost has the exact opposite problem of Ubaldo Jimenez. While Jimenez can’t pitch out of the stretch at all, Bauer can pitch better with runners than he can without them. Five of the six walks occurred when the bases were empty. However, all of those walks came with less than two outs, and the Phillies still have nothing to show for it. Once he finds his command, he should be a lethal starting pitcher.