A broken down bus couldn’t stop baseball, as the Cleveland Indians beat the Pirates.
The coronavirus and labor unrest halted the national pastime for almost four months, and just when it looked like the Cleveland Indians would play ball against a another team, one of their busses broke down on the journey to the land of the Three Rivers.
Go figure, not even a bus wants to go to Pittsburgh.
Alas, the Tribe made it for their Summer Camp exhibition opener against the Pirates at PNC Park.
The usual three-hour trip got extended and the incident conjured up memories of the Cactus League for Francisco Lindor.
The game’s starting pitcher, Zach Plesac, got to take a nap on the bus and the boondoggle seemed to provide him a fond memory of being stranded by the side of the highway when he was hurling for the Class A Lynchburg Hillcats, via Cleveland.com.
"“On the way here we actually had to switch buses,” he said. “It reminded me of this time in the minors when I was in Lynchburg. We had to take everything out from under the bus and lay it out on the side of the highway waiting for the next bus. In the meantime spiders are climbing all over our stuff. It’s 105 degrees out. We’re in Virginia. It’s humid and semis are whizzing by.”"
As for Plesac, the second-year pro looked strong in his debut, going five innings, while allowing two runs and six hits. Plesac was changing speeds well, while maxing out his fastball at 93-94 miles per hour.
As for the rest of the game…
1. Francisco Lindor’s diving grab and glove flip to force an out at second had Gold Glove written all over it. It’s a must see (Twitter link).
2. Domingo Santana looked a tad slow in left field when reacting to a hard hit ball by Jacob Stallings off Plesac in the fifth. The ball bounced off Santana’s glove and Stallings had an easy double.
3. Christian Arroyo smoked a double into left field that unloaded the bases in the eighth inning. For those of us that haven’t seen baseball since September, I was cheering like this was a playoff game.
It’s always interesting to watch former top prospects, just because they became top prospects for a reason. Arroyo was the 25th pick of the Rays in 2013 and shot up the prospect rankings. Lots of guys don’t work out, but who knows, perhaps he finally figures things out.
As for his place on the roster, I wonder if Arroyo might edge out You Chang for the utility spot, jus because his glove is a better.
4. Oliver Perez isn’t a come-of-the-pen and blow-you-away type arm. A steady streak of offspeed pitches make up his repertoire. He’s been good in intrasquad games, but I’m worried. There’s just no time for him to get knocked around.
5. Cam Hill looked really good coming out of the pen in the later innings. He was throwing 93-94 and looked tough to hit. His stock is riding high and I think he’ll make the roster, although many scribes foresee him being sent to Lake County.
6. It didn’t mean anything in the standings, but beer in-hand, game on TV, the kids running around like crazy, it was a normal July night in these neck of the woods and I’m looking forward to more of them.