Cleveland faced long odds entering today. The Indians trailed Houston 2-0 in a American League Divisional Series. They had hope, though. There is always hope with Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Michael Brantley, and a lineup that rides momentum as good as any out there. That hope was thrown away in bizarre and unfortunate ways.
Pitcher fielding practice, which had been so good for the Indians all year, suddenly stopped yielding results. Enter pitcher’s fielding problems.
Trevor Bauer, working his third consecutive game in relief, made two throwing errors in the Astros’ fateful seventh inning. The first came on a pickoff throw, the second on a potential inning-ending double-play ball with the score knotted 2-2. That one opened the door for a decisive rally.
Bauer’s two throwing errors, plus an earlier one from starter Mike Clevinger, add up to three and match the total number of errors made by Cleveland pitchers all year.
Three in the first 164 games. Three in the season-ending Game 165. Baseball is nothing if not cruel.
There are so many ways to win and an equal number of ways to lose. Pitchers failing to make throws to bases ranks among the worst. It’s painful and unusual. But what happened to the Indians today is not without precedent.
The Detroit Tigers’ staff made five errors in five games against St. Louis in the 2006 World Series. They made 15 in the entire regular season. It can just … happen.
And it happened to Bauer and the Indians. Defending World Series champion Houston is a side that makes opponents pay for mistakes — both big and small. Nine runs later, the toll was devastation and vacation.