Phil Hughes bounced back from a two-run first to hold the Indians scoreless over the next four innings Wednesday in his first start after nearly three months on the DL with an arm problem.
The Indians started the game with a walk from Michael Brantley, a single from Asdrubal Cabrera and an RBI single from Travis Hafner. The second run scored after strike three to Carlos Santana got away from Russell Martin and Cabrera took off for third. The throw eluded Alex Rodriguez and went into left field, allowing Cabrera to score.
While it was an unearned run initially, it was ruled earned after Orlando Cabrera singled later in the inning.
Hughes improved from there, though he never had a one-two-three inning. He faced four batters each in the second, third and fourth. In the fifth, he hit two batters and walked another before getting Lonnie Chisenhall to fly out, ending the frame and his night.
Hughes threw 88 pitches, 57 of them for strikes. His fastball started off in the 92-93 mph range, but it had little movement and the Indians were able to make consistent contact against it. Hughes survived because of his secondary pitches, his curve in particular.
All in all, it simply wasn’t the kind of showing that suggests Hughes is going to be a force in the second half. He needs a little more velocity or fastball movement for that to happen.
It’s tied 2-2, but if you’re like most people you have feelings about who has an edge.
Maybe you’re a “momentum” person and you like the Cubs’ current vibe because they scored a bunch last night. Maybe you’re a “momentum is your next day’s starting pitcher” guy, and you prefer either Jon Lester or Kenta Maeda. Or maybe you’re playing chess with all of this and thinking a couple of moves ahead. As in “yes, the Cubs have an advantage tonight because Lester is better than Maeda, but if they DON’T win tonight they’re screwed because then they have to face Kershaw and Hill in Games 6 and 7.”
I dunno. I find all of that rather exhausting. Let’s just watch and see what happens. Here’s who will be doing the happening:
1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
5. Javier Baez (R) 2B
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Addison Russell (R) SS
8. David Ross (R) C
9. Jon Lester (L) LHP
1. Kiké Hernández (R) 2B
2. Justin Turner (R) 3B
3. Corey Seager (L) SS
4. Carlos Ruiz (R) C
5. Howie Kendrick (R) LF
6. Adrian González (L) 1B
7. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
8. Joc Pederson (L) CF
9. Kenta Maeda (R) RHP
Indians starter Trevor Bauer said he expects his sliced right pinkie to heal in time for the World Series.
Bauer, of course, is a drone hobbyist and hurt his finger while fixing a drone. By the time he’ll have to pitch again he will have had nine days since his last, bloody start in ALCS Game 3. Yesterday he said “I’ll be ready to pitch in the World Series whenever they need me. I’m doing everything I can and I’ll be back out there for sure.”
Bauer reportedly suggested that Indians trainers cauterize his finger on Monday. They declined. Which is something Bauer should probably thank them for.