The cries of “Havoc!” were heard far and wide on the south side of Chicago Friday evening.
Trevor Bauer‘s first major league start since May 13 did him absolutely no favors for hopes of permanent promotion. Curiously working out of the stretch from the very first batter, Trevor could do nothing to blunt the Pale Hose’s onslaught. The White Sox racked up five runs on six hits (including two home runs by Adam Dunn and Jeff Keppinger), a walk and hit batsman against the ailing top-prospect in a painful two-thirds of a inning.
The trusty Cleveland two-out cavalry came swiftly, however. In the top of the second inning Mike Aviles doubled Yan Gomes to third in what began what the Indians have done so well this year. Drew Stubbs, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher followed suit with hits of their own, pushing five runs across and evening the score. To enumerate all of the scoring plays in this game would be a horrific misadventure. Suffice it to say, it was an absolute offensive massacre for both teams: 34 total hits, 21 for the Indians. Jason Kipnis came through with a career day, going 3 for 4 with three doubles (and narrowly missing a fourth due to a spectacular catch by left fielder Alejandro De Aza), four runs scored, two runs batted in, three walks and, just for good measure, his eighteenth stolen base on the year. AL Player of the Month anyone?
Not to take anything away from the rest of the offenses of both teams. Asdrubal Cabrera had three singles and scored three runs. Nick Swisher came through with a double, drove in two and scored two himself. Ryan Raburn launched a two-run moonshot into the seats in left in the seventh. Drew Stubbs drove in three runs on a triple and a two-run single. Not a single Indian failed to contribute offensively in, perhaps, the most impressive offensive outburst of the season.
Most of the pain inflicted by the not-at-all-unimpressive White Sox showing came against Bauer in the first, but they also touched up Brayan Shaw and Cody Allen for three runs and two runs respectively. Not all was lost for the bullpen, however. Matt Albers threw a terrific two and third of scoreless relief. And, a very encouraging sight indeed, the back-end of the scuffling Bullpen Mafia came through for three innings of scoreless relief themselves (even if it took a great throw from Drew Stubbs to catch Dayan Viciedo dead between third and home in the eighth to keep it that way). The Indians need Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, and the newly reinstated Chris Perez to get back to their stingy ways if they plan on sniffing the sweet air of October baseball.
The Good: A rout usually involves scoring around six or more runs than your opponent. Normally you don’t do that when the opponent themselves scores ten. The Indians offense was a vision. From top to bottom, we saw contributions from everyone. Jason Kipnis is doing absolutely everything in his power to shove his way into the Midsummer Classic, raising his batting average to an amazing .295 and watching his OPS skyrocket along with each double and home run he hits; and let’s not forget the walks (three on the day alone).
The Bad: Trevor Bauer threw by far and away the worst performance of his professional career. Perhaps pitching out of the stretch to avoid losing control of his fastball, he replaced his issue with the free pass and instead fell prey to watching nearly every ball hit end up in the outfield (or worse). Giving up a home run to Adam Dunn is understandable; giving up a home run to Jeff Keppinger is something completely different. Here’s to hoping some more time in AAA to work on his mechanics can breed more success for the next call-up. He is very young and very raw. We know he has it in him to succeed.
The Huh?: A few fun facts presented by the Chicago White Sox‘s postgame notes (http://pressbox.mlb.com/