Doubleheader Day Ends with a Split
On Wednesday, the Indians and Padres played a doubleheader in order to make up Monday’s postponement due to inclement weather. For the Indians, it was their second doubleheader in as many weeks to start the season. Meanwhile, the Padres were hoping to at least salvage a sweep and get out of the cold conditions of Cleveland in one piece.
In game one, Zach McAllister took the mound against the Padres’ Eric Stults. Looking to bounce back after a somewhat lackluster first start in Oakland, McAllister came into Wednesday looking to work deep into the game. Doing so would enable Terry Francona to rest his already taxed bullpen. It would also mean that he was pitching effectively.
Well, McAllister wasn’t just effective. He was dominant. In 7.2 innings of work, McAllister gave up five hits and struck out seven Padres on his way to the 2-0 victory. It was the best McAllister has looked on the mound in quite some time. He was nearly unhittable and made his way through the Padres lineup without so much as a threat.
Meanwhile, Eric Stults was equally as effective for the Padres. He made it through 5.2 innings and up until the sixth he was nearly as unhittable as McAllister. It wasn’t until the sixth inning when he ran into trouble in the form of Jason Kipnis,
With Nick Swisher aboard and one out, Kipnis sent a fly ball out to right center field. By no means did Kipnis crush it, but the gentle breeze helped carry the ball over the wall and out of the reach of Will Venable by mere inches. It would end up being all the offense the Indians would need on the day.
In the eighth inning, Cody Allen would enter the game in relief of McAllister to get the Tribe out of the lone rally the Padres were able to put together. In the bottom of the ninth, John Axford entered the game to pick up his fourth save of the season.
In game two, Trevor Bauer made his 2014 debut for the Cleveland Indians. And what a debut it turned out to be for the young right hander.
Entering this spring, Bauer was expected to compete with several players for the final spot in the starting rotation. Among them were Josh Tomlin, Carlos Carrasco, Aaron Harrang, and Shaun Marcum. By the tine everything was said and done, Carrasco had earned the starting spot and Bauer was headed back to Columbus to work on his retooled delivery.
No one really knew what to expect from Bauer on Wednesday afternoon. If he could make it at least through five innings and keep the game close, it would be viewed as a success. What Bauer ended up turning in was as close to a masterpiece as a pitcher can get. In six innings of work, Trevor Bauer allowed two runs to cross the plate, only one of which was earned, on four hits, two walks, and a career high eight strikeouts. He dominated the strike zone and had the Padres’ hitters off-balance all day long.
The first run the Padres scored ended came about thanks to a new interpretation of one of the oldest rules in baseball. On a flyball to right field, Elliot Johnson raced back to the track, reached out and made the catch. less than a second later, Johnson ran into the wall and after gathering himself, reached into his glove to throw the ball back to the infield. Only one problem. When Johnson reached into his glove, he dropped the ball. The umpires ruled it a non-catch and the argument ensued, but to no avail. The safe call stood and Johnson was charged with an error.
A few batters later, the Padres would score a run thanks to that supposed error and an RBI ground out by Seth Smith. In the end, it was that run that would prove to be the difference maker. It’ll be interesting to see how that call is dissected by the national media in the coming days.
As for the game itself, the Indians would tie things up at 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning. With Yan Gomes at third, Mike Aviles hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Gomes scored and it was a brand new ball game. Unfortunately, the impact of that first Padres’ run would come back to haunt them.
In the top of the sixth, the Padres would score their second run of the game. With the bases loaded and one out, Chase Headley blooped a soft single out into left field. Evereth Cabrera scored easily and that was that. It could have been worse, but Trevor Bauer reached down deep into his intestinal fortitude and worked his was out of the jam before the Padres could tack on any more runs. It was a growing moment and just another sign of what the Indians could have in Trevor Bauer.
The Indians would make a valiant effort to tie the game up in the latter third of the game, but it just wasn’t meant to be. A lack of timely hitting and an inability to lay down sacrifice bunts ultimately came back to bite the Indians in the rear end. The came close to having a magical moment in the ninth. With the tying and winning runs on base and two out, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a line drive into the gap in right. Only problem is that Will Venable was there to make the catch and end the game.