On a warm and comfortable Thursday evening, the Indians did anything but allow the New York Yankees to get comfortable. The Tribe showed off their abilities to pitch, play defense and get timely hits. Terry Francona also nonchalantly demonstrated once again why he’s the best manager in the game.
To the casual baseball fan who hasn’t been paying attention, starting Trevor Bauer (aka the guy who tore up his finger with a drone before the last postseason) didn’t seem smart. Most of us in Cleveland have faith in Tito’s ability to make a call like this. We also know how well Bauer has been pitching recently. Bauer didn’t disappoint anyone not wearing a Yankees uniform last night. His curveball was a dark shade of nasty and he mixed in enough spotted fastballs to keep hitters honest. When he left the game after 6.2 innings having given up two hits, it didn’t get better for New York. Andrew Miller and Cody Allen whiffed six in 2.1 innings.
The Indians defense was as good as advertised with the exception of Jason Kipnis in center. All Kip did was lay flat out for a highlight reel catch of a Chase Headley fly ball. If anyone entered the game wondering about the wisdom of having Kipnis in center, well, you know. There just isn’t a need to worry about things like this when you have Terry Francona as your manager.
The star at the plate was undoubtedly Jay Bruce. The Indians left fielder looked at ease at the plate, even when facing Jaime Garcia, a pitcher he has often struggled against. Bruce effortlessly hit a homerun and a double that was a few feet away from getting out, too. In all, with his sac fly, Bruce drove in three of Cleveland’s four runs. It was a clutch performance and it was needed. Francisco Lindor and Edwin Encarnacion appeared to be trying to do too much at the plate. They have to remember that this team has plenty of fire power.
The Indians have an opportunity to go up 2 – 0 tonight with Cory Kluber on the mound. The Indians carried themselves like a team that has unfinished business last night. That will not change with Klubot pitching. Go Tribe!