Peterlin: Francona’s Gamble In Bauer Pays Off

CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Before the Indians ever took the field, Boston watched their ace, Chris Sale allow seven earned runs in a performance that he chalked up to “a bad time to suck.”

That doesn’t take away from Sale’s dominance throughout the season, and doesn’t take away his skill in general. Baseball is just full of small sample sizes in the postseason. Clayton Kershaw in the postseason has become the sports talk host default to one of the game’s best failing on the game’s biggest stage.

Extrapolating out too much from one outing is fools work.

If any one person in the Indians locker room understands not to take one game and make it show vindication, Trevor Bauer is your man. He couldn’t make it through the second question in the interview room without reminding everyone of just that:

“I executed well, got away with some pitches. So I had some fortune on my side tonight.”

What on paper looked like a potential recipe for disaster as the American League’s leader in homeruns met a pitcher that has a tendency to allow the long ball, turned in the Indians favor. Bauer was great and found a way to elevate his game when it mattered the most. Just ask Yankees skipper Joe Girardi:

“You look at his second half, and he had better command. We didn’t get many free base runners, which we have in the past off of him, and he was really good.”

 He was fantastic as his curveball looked as sharp as we’ve seen all year and he was locating his fastball. You couldn’t ask for any more from the fifth year veteran. The hardest decision Francona had to make on his starter was whether or not he could pull Bauer if he kept his no hitter going deeper in the game.

Nobody can question that for tonight Bauer juiced up flashes of brilliance he had shown in the second half of the season. Francona on what he saw:

“I thought he pitched his heart out. I thought, when the moment arose, he attacked it. He embraced everything that was thrown at him tonight. His poise was tremendous. I mean, all the way around, he attacked the strike zone with all his pitches. He pitched in enough to get those big strong guys from getting extended, and he had a great breaking ball.”

 This sets up the Indians in a dream scenario after one game. Sure there were problems, no game is perfect. The top of the order didn’t hit as the top four went 1 for 13, and Andrew Miller ran his pitch count higher than most would like hitting thirty tosses, but you can’t ask for everything.

Corey Kluber then Carlos Carrasco with a one game lead is as ideal as it gets for this team. So, Terry gets the laugh for now, but come postseason that seems to be the theme throughout his hall of fame career.

More from Jonathan Peterlin | 92.3 The Fan
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