Game 88: Rays 6, Indians 5

Wait, what do I do with this?

Even as the Indians continue to struggle near the bottom of the league, the team has somehow become more pleasant to watch of late.  The arrival of Carlos Santana, Matt LaPorta re-born, and a surprisingly resurgent bullpen have all been positive.  Today's game, though the team fell in the bottom of the 10th, was no different. 

Santana and LaPorta each contributed doubles in the top of the 1st as part of a 3-run start for the Tribe.  Masterson ran into trouble in the bottom half of the inning, though, and an Andy Marte mistake during a rundown led to Tampa's first run. It turns out that run would have been nice to have back.  A 2-out run in the 4th brought the Rays within one of the Tribe, while a Carl Crawford HR in the following innings gave them the lead for the first time in the game.

The Indians wasted no time drawing even, though, as Matt LaPorta started the 6th inning with a single, the first of four consecutive hitters to reach base safely.  An Anderson Hernandez double-play prematurely ended the rally, denying Cleveland the opportunity to reclaim the lead.  But what followed was four successful relief appearances from Rafael Perez, Joe Smith, Chris Perez and Hector Ambriz.  Ambriz looked like he was going to blow it in the bottom of the 9th when he loaded the bases with no outs.  But a shallow fly ball, K, and a ground out sent the game into extra innings.  Kerry Wood, one of the Indians most discussed trade assets, came in for the 10th and gave up the game-winning hit, a single with Carl Crawford on second, to Jason Bartlett.

The Indians are not going to scare any playoff contenders during the remainder of the season, but they might provide us with some renewed hope for the next few seasons.

Highest WPA Lowest WPA
R Perez .147 K Wood -.354
H Ambriz .146 J Masterson -.314
T Crowe .139 M Brantley -.183
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