CLEVELAND -- Mike Clevinger may be on the injured list, but his glove was responsible for three outs Sunday evening, extending its scoreless streak to 13 innings in 2019.
Although no team wants to get to a point where a position player needs to take the mound to eat up some innings because of a large deficit, catcher Kevin Plawecki gave fans something to talk about after the Indians' 11-5 loss to the Braves, as he walked out of the dugout to pitch the ninth inning with Clevinger’s glove on his left hand.
“He’s got zeros in that thing,” Plawecki said. “So I figured while he’s out, I might as well use it.”
The Indians trailed 11-2 entering the bottom of the eighth, which is when Plawecki was informed that he would be working the final frame. The Tribe was coming off a doubleheader on Saturday and starter Shane Bieber exited after just 2 1/3 frames on Sunday. The bullpen needed any break it could get.
“Obviously something that you never want to do, but our bullpen has been working their tail off,” Plawecki said. “So a chance to take a load off of them, rejuvenate their batteries a little bit going into the off-day, happy to go out there, eat up an inning.”
This role isn’t completely new for the Indians’ backstop. In his five-year big league career, he has made three appearances on the mound, with his previous outings coming in 2017 with the Mets. He lowered his career ERA from 12.00 to 9.00, and he has tossed a scoreless frame in each of his last two appearances.
“Yeah, actually that was my fourth inning in the big leagues,” Plawecki said. “So got a chance to lower my ERA at least.”
According to Statcast, the 28-year-old catcher averaged 78.1 mph on his 13 pitches. Plawecki got Ozzie Albies to ground out to second, Charlie Culberson to ground out to third and Johan Camargo to fly out to left, as his backstop, Roberto Perez, was putting down some signs behind the plate.
“I couldn’t see them all that great,” Plawecki said with a slight chuckle. “I just told him I was throwing fastballs, so it didn’t matter what he was putting down. They were all going to be the same thing.”
Plawecki was the first Indians position player to pitch since Brandon Guyer did so on June 16, 2018, against Minnesota.
“Just go out there and try to throw strikes, not walk anybody,” Plawecki said. “My only thing is they can hit as far as they want, don’t hit it at me."