A series of playoff firsts happened to take place for the previously unbeaten Cleveland Indians on Tuesday afternoon.
With a 5-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Tribe officially lost their first 2016 playoff game, committed their first defensive blunder, and recorded a playoff-low in offensive production from Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON.
Kluber posts quality start
Pitching on three days rest for the first time in his professional career, Corey Kluber's performance was up to par with minimal opposing damage. His final line: 5 IP 4 H 2 R/ER 2 BB 7 K (89 pitches, 59 strikes, 66%).
Despite winning his first two playoff starts with ease, a poor bullpen effort from the Tribe along with a Josh Donaldson solo home run and a Ezequiel Carrera RBI single proved to be too much for an offense that drastically cooled off. Both of the aforementioned Toronto base knocks put the score at 2-1 before Kluber exited after five frames of work.
Two hits from Francona's batting order marked the lowest total since September 25th, a 3-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox. After Coco Crisp walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch in the fifth inning, Roberto Perez cut the 2-0 deficit in half with an RBI double to left field.
Perez had not driven in a run since Game 1 of the ALDS when he launched a solo home run, the first run scored by the club this postseason.
Aaron Sanchez earned his first career postseason win with a final line of 6 IP 2 H 1 R/ER 2 BB 5 K. Securing the home victory for the Blue Jays was the bullpen trio consisting of Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli, and Roberto Osuna with three hitless innings.
First error of October
In addition to a monthly-low two hits, the Tribe defense faltered for the first time in 23 days courtesy of a throwing error made by relief pitcher Bryan Shaw.
Following a leadoff single by Ryan Goins, Jose Bautista dribbled a grounder up the third base line in the direction of Shaw. A poor throw allowed for Bautista to reach base safely with Goins advancing to third. Two batters later and two runs more runs were added to the Blue Jays line score, one of which was unearned.
Shortly after Shaw's unraveling, Mike Clevinger furthered the losing matter in his 1.2 frames of work by allowing one hit, one walk, and a decisive insurance run. Dan Otero was the only reliever with a scoreless outing courtesy of a clean sixth inning.
Game 4 of the NLDS will stay in Los Angeles in a matchup between the Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.35) and LHP Julio Urias are scheduled to start with an 8:08 PM ET first pitch from Dodger Stadium.
The Indians and Blue Jays will continue their ALCS clash with Game 5 on Wednesday afternoon at 4:08 PM ET from Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON.
Slated to pitch for each respective team will be LHP Ryan Merritt (1-0, 1.64) and RHP Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.48).
Merritt finds himself amidst a new realigned rotation due to Trevor Bauer's bloody right pinkie finger and Monday night's bullpen game. A southpaw with a sub-90 mph fastball, Merritt will only be making second big league start (fifth appearance).
Estrada heads the Blue Jays rotation and has been nothing short of dominant this postseason: 1-1, 1.65 ERA, 16.1 IP 10 H 3 R/ER 1 BB 12 K (two playoff starts). Estrada has made 54 times as many big league appearances compared to his pitching counterpart.null