Indians, Bauer shutout Phillies for fourth straight win
Tribe bats stay red hot as Bauer notches his first win
CLEVELAND -- With a forecast that called for a potential Bauer outage, there was no short of electricity in the air at Progressive Field on Wednesday.
The Indians offense powered their way to their fourth straight win as they shutout the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-0 to complete the two-game series sweep.
In a matchup that featured former Tribe lefty Cliff Lee in one corner and Indians top prospect Trevor Bauer in the other, the past essentially met the future. It would be the future on the electric arm of Bauer though that would make fans quickly forget about the past, as the 22-year old notched his first win as an Indian throwing five shutout innings.
Although he lacked control much like his first start, walking six batters in the game, the right-hander battled to strike out five giving up just one base hit for his second career big league victory.
“When he got into some trouble, he made unbelievable pitches,” Tribe manager Terry Francona said. “He attacked hitters when he had to with really good stuff.”
Bauer worked out of jams all night, leaving 10 Phillies hitters on base as Philadelphia was 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. He threw 50 of his 93 pitches on the night for strikes.
“I’m a real competitive guy,” Bauer said. “I don’t like giving up runs, so I need to do a better job in those situations.”
Unlike the Indians starter, Lee struggled most of the night, yielding four earned runs on nine hits through six innings. It was the first time the southpaw faced his former club in his career.
Cleveland (12-13) struck first again on Wednesday, as shortstop Mike Aviles hit a sac fly to give the team a 1-0 lead in the second inning. It was the fourth time the Wahoo's got on the board first in their last four games.
As a team, the Tribe is now 10-2 when grabbing the game’s first run.
"It’s a good way to play,” Francona said. “When you score first, and then you score next, that’s a great recipe for winning. It’s a lot easier to play without fighting back.”
Little did Francona and the Indians know that first run was virtually all they would need, as Bauer and the Tribe bullpen shutout Philly giving up a total of just three hits all night.
While the team failed to get their leadoff man on, the offense found ways to put the ball in play as they scored six runs on 14 hits. It was Cleveland’s fourth straight game reaching the double-digit mark in hits.
Over the four game winning streak, the Indians have outscored the opposition 39-5 while also outhitting them, 59-19.
At the center of it all again offensively was right fielder Ryan Raburn. The former Detroit Tiger went 4-for-5 on the night with a double and two RBI. It was the second time of his career that the right-handed slugger collected four hits in a game, the last time came just three days ago on Monday.
To say Raburn is has been on fire at the plate may actually be an understatement, as he has gone 12-for-14 at the plate (.857 average) with five runs, four homers and nine RBI over his last four games.
“When you plug a guy in and he gets this hot, that’s such an added bonus,” Francona said of Raburn. “He’s been so hot and we’ve been able to hit him all over the order.”
The outfielder became the first Indian since 1930 to collect three hits and have at least two RBI in three straight games.
Like Raburn, first baseman Carlos Santana stayed red hot himself going 2-for-4 in the ballgame. He still currently leads all of Major League Baseball with a .395 batting average.
Asdrubal Cabrera, playing designated hitter on the night, also got in on the action as he laced a two-run double down the left field line in the third inning to put the Tribe up three early. With the extra-base hit, the switch-hitter extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games.
Cabrera is now hitting .378 (14-for-37) with nine RBI over the 10 game span.
Although he went just 1-for-4 in the game, catcher Yan Gomes continues to show the Indians he belongs on the big league roster.
Over his last seven games as the team’s starting backstop, Tribe pitchers have been completely dominant sporting a 1.86 ERA with Gomes behind the plate.
Like the Indians catcher, Bauer doesn’t have a guaranteed spot on the 25-man roster the rest of the season, but the right-hander will make the most of this opportunity.
“I’ll look it as a good experience and try to get better the next time,” Bauer said. “The more times you do something the more comfortable you’re going to be. Even in baseball, this is the same game I’ve been playing for 20 years.”
Francona likes the potential he sees from the organization’s top prospect.
“What goes under the radar a little bit is how much he competes,” Francona said. “He has taken this opportunity and made the most of it, and it will serve him well down the road.”
In two starts with Cleveland this year, Bauer is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA. He has pitched a total of 10 innings giving up three runs on just three hits, walking 13 and striking out seven.
Indians starters are now 4-0 with a 1.38 ERA over their last four games.
Notes: First baseman Nick Swisher missed his second straight game on Wednesday nursing a sore left shoulder. He is expected to be back in the Tribe lineup on Friday against the Twins…With Bauer getting the call up to start, the team optioned left-hander Nick Hagadone to Triple-A Columbus.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Agreed, the one thing I see that could potentially hold this club back is the SP. Personally, I'm not overly concerned with the lineup... will be good to see Bourn back.
I'm a big Bauer fan, but haven't been able to see him much this yr. Are the walks nerves, control problems, mechanical or some compilation of all the above?
Any thoughts on Marsons near distant future? Just seems Gomes is ripe and ready... I thiink we can give Kevin Cash a nod for that.
Am somewhat concerned that Giambi continues to take up a roster spot. In spite of his presence in the clubhouse, he does not bring enough else to warrant that place. A support group of Raeburn, Aviles, Gomes and perhaps Phelps would be extremely good, perhaps one of the best in the big leagues.
If Giambi brings so much, make him a coach !!!
The starting pitching also seems to have settled a bit, although pitching with big leads does make it somewhat easier. I think Bauer and Carrasco, once his issues are settled, have to be in the rotation come early-mid June. Together with Masty and McAllister, would be a nice first 4. And then there is Ubaldo. I'm getting slivers scratching my head about him. Have to wait and see, I guess.
Would like to see the bullpen straightened out, with Hagadone being a part of it. This constant moving up and down can't be doing a lot for his confidence, and he has performed well.
Finally, Kipnis has to be dropped down to the 8 hole to figure out his hitting woes. You would still have 4 speedsters hitting in a row, only it would start from the 8th spot. Like that lineup.
Now that the weather and the Tribe have warmed up, only good things to come.
To outscore them 20-2 is ridiculous. If that doesn't give these guys a boost in confidence I don't know what will.
The Phillies have the 3rd highest payroll in all of baseball and the Tribe just gave them a spanking and sent them on their way.
If Raburn isn't the AL Player of the Week there should be an investigation.
I don't care about Gomes' batting average - he's a keeper. Great move to get him and Aviles for Esmil Rogers. It's these kinds of minor transactions that don't look like much at the time that cash-strapped teams like the Indians need to do.
I don't know how much Gomes has to do with that 1.86 ERA when he's catching, but when he plays the Indians usually win.