The Cleveland Baseball Club allowed four runs in the ninth inning as they shut out in their final game against the Chicago White Sox.
The good news: Cleveland won the first two games of the series against the Chicago White Sox. The bad news: Cleveland was shut out in the final game as they were looking for a sweep.
While the end result was bad, there were two bright spots. Zach Plesac continued Cleveland’s outstanding run of starting pitching so far this season. Plesac struck out 11 batters while allowing only 3 hits in 8 innings. Plesac’s performance helped Cleveland tie an American League record.
The other bright spot? Jose Ramirez went 3-4 and continues his hot start to the season. Unfortunately Ramirez had half of Cleveland’s hits on the night which certainly led to the disappointing result.
Onto the 9th
To start the 9th inning Terry Francona went with Brad Hand in a 0-0 game. The problem? The lefty Hand was facing the top of the right-handed White Sox lineup. Every batter was either right-handed or a switch-hitter. If Hand was a righty this conversation most likely would not be happening, but he’s not.
Brad Hand would go on to allow three runs thanks to a Tim Anderson double, walking Yoan Moncada, hitting Jose Abreu, a Yasmani Grandal sacrifice fly, and Edwin Encarnacion reaching due to catcher’s interference. That’s 3 runs allowed (4 total) one just one hit, one walk in 1/3 of an inning. Cleveland would load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, but failed to score.
The fact that Hand has not been struggling since the second half of last season does not help. A time when there is a switch at the back end of the bullpen could be coming sooner rather than later since there is not enough time to ride things out this year. It’s about being proactive not reactive and the line between the two is incredibly small in a shortened season.
Cleveland travel to Minnesota to face the Twins Thursday