World Series: A Bauer outage for typically electric Indians
CLEVELAND — There’s a mojo with this Indians team, a feeling that no matter the obstacle it can overcome.
Then Trevor Bauer takes the mound and a different feeling settles in.
There was no blood on the mound Wednesday night at Progressive Field, but the Indians tasted some for one of the few times this postseason.
The World Series is heading to Wrigley Field tied at a game apiece after the Cubs won 5-1 on a cold, wet evening that would not end in Cleveland.
“It was cold,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of a game that was 43 degrees at first pitch. “I mean, it was so cold I tried to go the bathroom in the fourth inning and I couldn’t.”
It was that kind of night for the Indians.
Chicago right-hander Jake Arrieta dominated, looking more like the guy who was the 2015 National League Cy Young winner than the guy who entered Game 2 with a 4.91 ERA this postseason.
By the time Cleveland got its first hit, the Indians had used four pitchers and were down 5-0 on the scoreboard.
Scratching out a run or two is fine when Corey Kluber is on the mound, not Bauer.
It’s not as if the Indians were unblemished this postseason. There was the Game 4 loss in Toronto in the league championship series. And there was the blemish of all blemishes, the gnarly gash on Bauer’s pinkie.
As great as the Indians have been during this wild October ride, Wednesday felt like the first time their circumstances in the injury department caught up to them.
Arrieta has won 40 games the past two regular seasons. Bauer tinkers with drones.
The quirky right-hander lasted only 3.2 innings, allowing two runs in a sloppy, 87-pitch performance. His short outing made the Indians go a little deeper into their bullpen, a little earlier than they wanted. Just like his last playoff start, the Indians used seven different pitchers. Unfortunately, this time none of them were Cody Allen or Andrew Miller.
“I think we knew playing the Cubs we’re going to get challenged just because they’re really good,” Francona said. “The things that have happened, physical things, you just do the best you can and you try to win the game. That’s kind of what we always do.
“They beat us tonight. It wasn’t because somebody had a bad finger. They just played better than us tonight.”
Certainly, all the blame doesn’t go on Bauer. The blood was splattered on multiple players Wednesday (Sorry, I’ll stop). Jason Kipnis made two errors at second base. Lonnie Chisenhall had an adventure in right field. The bats were silent, keeping a crowd of 38,172 quiet for most of the night.
That being said, Bauer invokes little confidence. A great talent, a shaky persona.
How secure can you feel in a guy who leaves a playoff start after four batters because his extracurricular screw-up caused his pinkie to drip blood, then, after his teammates save him, mocks the Toronto crowd by flashing 3-0 at them as he did in Game 3 of the ALCS?
There was no saving him on this night.
“I thought we (fell) behind on too many hitters tonight,” Indians catcher Roberto Perez said. “He couldn’t throw the breaking ball for a strike and he wasn’t sharp like he’s been.”
Game 3 of the World Series on Friday will feature the exact opposite of Bauer. Josh Tomlin doesn’t possess great talent, but he possesses all kinds of guts and guile. The Indians will look to bounce back after dropping just their second game of these playoffs.
Francona has been the manager making every right decision this postseason. Wednesday, it was Joe Maddon’s turn to take center stage as Francona lost for the first time in his World Series managerial career (now 9-1).
Maddon’s decision to go with Kyle Schwarber continues to pay off. The 23-year-old Ohio native had two hits and two RBIs Wednesday. He is 3-for-7 in two World Series games, his first Major League action since April 7 because of a knee injury.
Things got away from the Tribe in the top of the fifth. Chisenhall, who threw to second base in the first inning when he might have had a play at the plate, misplayed a triple by Ben Zobrist. That allowed Anthony Rizzo to score. Kipnis later booted a ground ball to extend the inning, which saw the Cubs score three times and lead 5-0.
Kipnis broke up Arrieta’s no-hit bid by doubling with one out in the sixth. He later scored on a wild pitch.
That was it offensively in a game that took four hours and four minutes to finish — 15 minutes short of the World Series record for a nine-inning game. It might have felt like two games, but it was just one. Just one loss.
— You can reach Josh at or email@example.com or on Twitter @jweirREP.