Entering Saturday night, the Cleveland Indians’ rotation was worth more wins above replacement than any other unit in the majors (6.9). The group has been elite on an almost routine basis.
So, should one of Cleveland’s starters have himself a shaky showing, it seems fair to ask the offense to step up and bail him out.
Zach Plesac had one of those nights Saturday. Unfortunately, while Cleveland provided him some support, it wasn’t enough to avoid an 8-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
The defeat marks the Indians’ fifth straight. They’re averaging 1.5 runs per game across the last four nights, and have fallen from first place to third in the standings since Monday.
In fairness, Cleveland had more productive plate appearances Saturday than what we’ve seen lately. Heck, the team scored more than one run in a game for the first time since Tuesday night.
However, home runs from Marwin Gonzalez, Willians Astudillo and Byron Buxton gave Minnesota an early lead, which was padded in the eighth after reliever Nick Wittgren allowed back-to-back dingers to Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sanó.
All in all, it was yet another night ending with Cleveland heading into the clubhouse searching for answers. While the team’s playoff odds are still favorable, the situation is hardly feeling as secure as it did earlier this week.
Here are a few observations from the loss.