Game #49 Observations: Ramirez Celebrates Birthday, Eight-Game Losing Streak Over in 10-3 Win over Tigers
Take a deep breath Indians fans, the losing streak that appeared like it was never going to end is finally over.
The Indians played their favorite rival on Thursday in the Detroit Tigers, and per usual laid a beat down on the kitties, as Shane Bieber and Jose Ramirez played like Batman and Robin in a 10-3 win.
The victory puts the team at 27-23 on the season, but more importantly stops the eight-game losing streak that saw the team lose their grip on a "for sure" playoff spot in the American League.
Ramirez, who was celebrating his birthday Thursday, led the offense with a pair of homers and four RBI, raising his average to .276.
Bieber, who suffered his first loss of 2020 against the Twins on Friday, went 7.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with a walk and 10 K's to move to 8-1 on the season.
There was plenty of quiet celebrating in the Tribe dugout and on the field after the final out, and there is plenty of good things to finally talk about in our game 49 observations.
JRam Sets the Tone
Jose Ramirez has had an up-and-down season in 2020 much like the rest of the players on the roster, but he showed up in a big way on Thursday to lead the offense to putting up 10 runs.
Ramirez opened the scoring with a solo homer in the first and added a two-run shot in the fourth, earning whatever kind of cake he would want for his 28th birthday.
With the 4-for-5 effort on offense Ramirez raised his average to .276, with 13 homers and 32 runs batted in.
It seems like the energy he brings when he's hitting is just what the team needs, and they needed it in a big way on Thursday in Detroit.
The birthday boy was all smiles after the game, stating that he had never had a big game on his birthday.
“It never happened before, I really thank God for this type of day," Ramirez said.
“I’m really happy with the team, we’re really playing hard, we just got to keep playing hard and playing the way we know how to play."
If the Indians can get Ramirez and one or two other players in their starting nine hot, there's no telling how dangerous this team could be come the playoffs.
“It’s truly impressive, he loves to play baseball, and that translates to any language," Bieber said of Ramirez.
"Him coming out with that energy every day goes a long, long way, and I know myself and guys in the clubhouse appreciate it.”
The fans who watched Ramirez's game on Thursday night appreciated it as well.
Bieber Rebounds for Win #8
Indians ace Shane Bieber pitched what likely was his second-to-last regular season game on Thursday night, and got right back to his winning ways after Friday's loss to the Twins at Target Field.
Oddly enough Bieber had some pretty big issues with the command and speeds of his fastball, but the sign of a good pitcher is their ability to adjust, and Bieber went to his secondary pitches to do that Thursday.
“His ball was like riding too much, he wasn’t getting command early of his fastball, but he had good secondary pitches," Indians acting manager Sandy Alomar said.
"He’s a great competitor, and he managed to use his other pitches and he did."
The line score on Bieber went like this — 7.2 innings, three runs, four hits, two walks, 10 K's and a homer allowed.
He didn't allow a run till the final batter he faced, that being the Tigers' Willi Castro in the 8th inning.
The homer allowed put Bieber back in second in the race for the lowest ERA in all of baseball, but he does become the first player to reach eight wins in the Majors.
“At the end of the day we kind of righted this ship today and got the ‘W’ and now it’s on to the next one,” Bieber said.
The ace knew early that the fastball just wasn't there, and quickly he and catcher Roberto Perez made adjustments to go to his secondary pitches.
“I was coming back in the dugout saying “I don’t know where my heat is going, I threw a ton of change ups, we kind of had to use the fastball for effect, Roberto said ‘you just have to compensate and adjust,’” Bieber said.
The next start for Bieber will be his last, and likely will be a tune-up for the postseason, and it also could be the final audition for voters to take a look at Bieber for the AL Cy Young award, an award that he easily should win no matter the outcome of 2020 for the Indians.
Now That That's Over...
Fans can finally turn the page on what was a tough eight days of baseball by the Indians, filled with miscues in the field, bad baserunning at times, poor execution on offense, and pitching that just wasn't as good as it was earlier in the year.
A trip to Detroit usually cures whatever is bothering the Indians, and that was case again on Thursday.
Now they have three more against the Tigers before their final homestand, which starts Monday and will see seven games, four against the White Sox and three against the Pirates.
As they got ready for their first game with the Tigers, the Indians still had a hold on the final playoff spot in the AL with the expanded postseason (eight teams from the AL), and they had that spot by four games.
One person who was taking the losing personally was acting manager Sandy Alomar, who can finally lay his head down in the hotel in Detroit and enjoy a good night's rest.
“It feels great, I know I’ll sleep good tonight, a lot of games were close, grinding games, we were putting pressure in different directions," Alomar said.
"I know the last 8-9 days haven’t been great but the guys have been fighting everyday and hopefully the guys can relax after a game like this.”
Having the chance to give the ball to Bieber never hurts, which is why no matter what you think this team does have a shot in the playoffs with a Cy Young pitcher who is pitching at the top of his game.
How good has Bieber been? He has at least eight strikeouts in all 11 starts this year, the second-longest streak to start a season in major league history.
To Bieber though, Thursday was all about one thing — getting the win.
“We got one goal and that’s to win, and going into the postseason it would be nice to build some momentum,” Bieber said.
The pitcher reminded everyone of one very important thing when it comes to baseball playoffs and teams that get in.
"Good teams make it, hot teams win it," Bieber said.
The Indians want to get as hot as possible over the final 11 games of 2020.
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