The overwhelming positive from his start was that he had eight strikeouts in only 4.1 innings of work.
However, it was that final one-third of an inning that ruined the night.
Mejia took the mound in the bottom of the fifth with the Astros leading 2-1.
He was now going through the order for a third time, which is usually a time when young pitchers start to falter.
The opposing team has now had two looks at you and effectiveness can fade.
That is exactly what happened as Mejia put a runner on before allowing a Yordan Alvarez home run to make it 4-1.
Mejia was chased from the game and his offense could not do enough to take back the lead.
Should fans be blaming Terry Francona for this one?
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) July 19, 2021
Giving Young Pitchers A Chance
This is an interesting discussion because it was still only the start of the fifth inning.
Mejia came on and after allowing a single, he did record a strikeout.
So it was not like he collapsed right away.
Really curious as to why JC Mejia came out to face the heart of the Astros lineup for a third time when he was already at 80 pitches and there’s approximately 75 relievers on the active roster.
— Kevin Scheid (@Scheidology) July 20, 2021
Fans obviously took to social media in real time to question why Francona let Mejia stay on the mound following the home run.
But once again, it was a 2-1 game before the blast and even a 4-1 deficit is not cause for major alarm.
This discussion is entirely different if this was a playoff game, but Mejia leaving with four earned runs to his name still set up the offense to mount a comeback.
The right-hander left the game after 98 pitches, which marks a new career-high.
Offense Deserves Blame Here
To be clear, this is not one big Francona apologist argument.
But solely blaming the manager for the loss in a game where the offense fails to score more than three runs is a bit much.
These young pitchers also need to gain more experience and Mejia in particular was making his first start in 12 days.
Trying to push him against a top team was not a terrible idea and Francona ultimately pulled the plug soon after the home run.
The brutal part of the loss was the offense going 2-6 with runners in scoring position.
Franmil Reyes being thrown out at second on an RBI hit was also a bit of a rally killer.
Losses are going to happen and this was number 44 for the Indians on the year.
Ultimately, the lack of a proper starting rotation means Francona is going to have to lean on young, inexperienced pitchers on a near daily basis.
Mejia only allowing four earned was not the worst possible outcome of the night, and the hope is the offense can step it up Tuesday with Triston McKenzie on the mound.