The Cleveland Indians discovered a brilliant way to divert attention from their pronounced offensive woes.
After flirting with the team’s first no-hitter since 1981, the Indians look to record consecutive wins for the first time this season on Friday when they continue their four-game series against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.
Trevor Bauer tossed seven no-hit innings in Thursday’s 4-1 series-opening victory, with the Blue Jays spoiling history with a brief ninth-inning rally. While the win was emotional for the Indians, it didn’t do much to alter the team’s early-season woes at the plate. Cleveland’s offense came as a result of a fielder’s choice, two sacrifice flies and a bases-loaded walk, bringing its season total to 17 runs in six games as it deals with the injury absences of Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis.
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“Besides (Jose Ramirez) and (Carlos) Santana, you have a lot of guys maybe in their first time in a starting role,” said Kipnis, who will begin a minor-league rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus on Friday.
“I want to give them all big hugs through the TV and try to calm them down and relax. Because there’s some good players here, whether they’re nervous or what.”
The 35-year-old Ramirez, who has Cleveland’s lone two homers this season, is expected to be back in the lineup on Friday after sitting out the series opener.
“I just thought I’d rather be one day too early than one too late,” Indians manager Terry Francona of the decision to sit Ramirez. “He showed up in spring training late and he’s been in every inning of every game.” Right-hander Shane Bieber (0-0, 4.50 ERA) will make his first start of the season after allowing one run on two hits while striking out two in a relief appearance against Minnesota on Sunday.
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