Every team is sure to have its ups and downs throughout a 36-game pre-season slate.
After two wins and a tie in their first three contests, the Cleveland Indians faced adversity for the first time by losing 5-4 to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday afternoon from Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, AZ.
The game was deadlocked at 4-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but Rangel Ravelo’s pinch-hit solo home run off James Russell spelled the end to the Tribe’s three-game streak without a loss.
Clevinger struggles in first inning
Unlike his scoreless appearance this past Saturday, Mike Clevinger failed to command the baseball in what shaped out to be a laborious first frame of work (30 pitches).
The Jacksonville, FL native struck out his former teammate in Rajai Davis, but went on to allow a critical two-run homer to Marcus Semien and walk a pair of hitters before exiting one inning earlier than expected.
“He just didn’t locate his fastball,” manager Terry Francona said to reporters. “He’ll learn from that. It’s okay. You’d rather see it in February than later.”
Of the seven Oakland batters he faced, Clevinger allowed four to reach base while striking out the other three.
Miller allows home run
The long ball continued to haunt Mickey Callaway’s pitching staff in the third inning when Andrew Miller gave up a home run to Trevor Plouffe to put the score at 4-1. Plouffe’s missile nearly hit a spectator on the grassy left field hill.
Scheduled to report to the World Baseball Classic in early March, Miller has now allowed four hits in his two relief appearances this spring.
Facing a 4-1 deficit in the top of the fourth inning, Abraham Almonte doubled to center and advanced to third base on a missed catch error by Semien. A few pitches later and Almonte cut the lead to two on an errant pitch that allowed him to score.
Two innings of scoreless offense ensued before Chris Colabello launched an opposite field solo shot, the first home run of the Cactus League for the defending American League champions.
Other contributors on the offensive side of the ball included Erik Gonzalez with an RBI triple and Wily Mo Pena with a base knock in his first spring training at bat. The Indians batted 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left four men on base.
The 10-game stretch continues as the Tribe clashes with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday at 3 PM ET from Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, AZ.
Trevor Bauer and Drew Smyly are both slated to make their 2017 spring training debuts.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.