The Indians got a massive outing from Triston McKenzie but it got wasted.
The Indians needed to take the first game from the Athletics to set the tone for the rest of the series. With Eli Morgan and Cal Quantrill showing a lot of grit in recent weeks, there was a chance the Tribe could really hang in there and even take the series. They just needed struggling starter Triston McKenzie to step up.
To his credit, he did just that. McKenzie pitched six great innings in game one against the A’s, giving up just two runs on four hits and striking out five batters. It was the kind of outing the young pitcher needed not just for the team but for his confidence as well.
The Tribe had a 3-2 lead heading into the top of the eighth. Time for the bullpen to come on and handle their business. They’ve been one of the best ‘pens in the league all year, but what happens on a night that McKenzie delivers?
The relievers cost the Indians and Triston McKenzie a gem
It’s going to happen every now and then. A bullpen, a reliever specifically, may blow a game. It’s baseball, there are bigger issues in the world than that. Yet, for it to happen on Tuesday night after McKenzie pitched such a marvelous gem, makes it all the more terrible.
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James Karinchak, one of the Tribe’s best, came on to help hold the lead in the eighth but ended up giving up a Jed Lowrie grounder that tied the game. One of the best bullpens the Indians have had in some time cracked under the pressure.
The pain wasn’t done being delivered, however. With the game tie, extra innings were in order and Nick Wittgren came on in to hold the lead. Much to the chagrin of the Indians, Lowrie delivered again, giving the A’s the go-ahead run.
While the loss and wasted outing by McKenzie were bad enough, for Wittgren to give up the game-winning run compounds the travesty that was this game due to recent events. Wittgren has been a victim of online threats in the past, and this loss will not help him with that.
The offense isn’t devoid of blame either. The Tribe still had a chance to win, but they couldn’t muster anything in the bottom portion of the 10th inning. Oh well, on to Wednesday we go.
That’s the beauty about baseball, there’s always another game just around the corner.