Past problems seemed to replicate themselves for the Indians on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field.
Between solving left-handed pitching at the plate and throwing strikes on the mound, the road nine struggled to find either solution and lost 8-1 to Kyle Freeland and the Rockies, their second sweep this season.
Cleveland hurlers issued nine free passes and batted .250 (6-for-24) vs. the opposing southpaw to fall to 2-10 when playing at the Colorado ballpark.
Bauer doomed by walks
The lack of command carried over from Mike Clevinger to Trevor Bauer as the right-hander walked three batters and gave up a two-run double to Nolan Arenado in the third inning alone.
“Early on, the first two runs, he had Arenado really chasing and (then) he threw four straight breaking balls and he hung the last one,” said manager Terry Francona to reporters. “He’s got to be able to make an adjustment because if he can throw the ball – and he was following the mitt all day – but in any ballpark, especially here, all that traffic, you’re going to pay for it sooner or later.”
Colorado showed discipline by not swinging at balls located up in the zone or at the left side of the plate, giving them plenty of baserunners and run-scoring opportunities…
“He followed the glove, he just kept missing and it wasn’t by much,” Francona said. “I feel like he commanded the ball so well. He didn’t make an adjustment because there was traffic. When you look at the numbers and all his walks, he wasn’t all over the place.”
Bauer surrendered another two-run double to Charlie Blackmon and exited to a final line of 3.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 5 BB, 3 K (86 pitches, 49 strikes, 57%, six groundouts, zero flyouts).
The newly promoted Kyle Crockett and Cody Allen combined to allow three runs (one earned) courtesy of Arenado’s RBI triple and Jason Kipnis’ throwing error, his fifth of the year.
“The only thing we’re really consistent in is being inconsistent,” said Francona. “Either we make an error or our starting pitching doesn’t go deep or we don’t get any hits.”
Ian Desmond closed the book on the Tribe pitching staff with an RBI single off Boone Logan.
Poor offense cannot match opposition
Jose Ramirez represented the lone production at the plate with a solo home run in the seventh off Freeland.
“[The Rockies] took it to us twice. We’re going to have to figure out a way,” Francona said. “We’re going to have to figure out a way. This team is potentially too good. We’re not showing it right now. We’re going to. One way or another, we’re going to.”
Only Francisco Lindor and Austin Jackson registered multi-hit performances in the matinee.
“We need to go out and play the baseball we know how to play and dictate the pace of the game,” said Francona. “What I really care about, more than anything, is just our ability to value how important every game is. Leave it out on the field. If it’s not good enough, then we’ll come back tomorrow. We do that, we’re going to be okay.”
The Indians will take the day off before returning home on Friday against the White Sox at 7:10 p.m. from Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.
RHP Corey Kluber (4-2, 4.36) was flawless in his first start back from a lower back strain, firing six innings of shutout ball with two hits charged to his ledger. The 31-year-old veteran has a 2.41 ERA when ahead in the count this season.
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (4-6, 4.83) had a tale of two months to start the campaign, going 3-1 with a 3.27 ERA in April before regressing to 1-4 with a 5.70 ERA in May. The native of Guadalajara, Mexico allowed three runs over 4.2 frames of work vs. Cleveland on April 13.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.