Trevor Bauer pitched 6 1/3 effective innings against the Orioles on Sunday night, helping the Indians extend their winning streak to 18 games. The Indians won 3-2 as the bullpen pitched in to collect the final eight outs.
Jose Ramirez opened the scoring with an RBI ground out in the first inning against O’s starter Jeremy Hellickson. Neither team would score again until the top of the sixth, when the O’s tied things at one apiece with Jonathan Schoop‘s RBI single. The Indians pulled ahead for good in the bottom half of the sixth as Roberto Perez and Francisco Lindor each hit solo home runs off of Hellickson. Chris Davis tried to pull the Orioles back with a solo homer of his own in the top of the seventh, but it would just barely be not enough.
Joe Smith, Tyler Olson, Nick Goody, and Cody Allen combined to blank the Orioles once Bauer exited.
The Indians are now two games shy of matching the Athletics’ record 20-game winning streak set in 2002.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.