Game 73: Indians 4, Rockies 3

Josh Tomlin continued his string of consecutive starts of more than five innings, and for most of his outing seemed in total control. He had been making a conscious effort to not rely on his cut fastball, and tonight he mixed in a lot more curves in an attempt to introduce more velocity variance into at-bats. Tomlin gave up a solo homer to Ty Wigginton on what I think was a four-seam fastball, but otherwise had little trouble until the seventh inning. 

Meanwhile the Indians scored a couple runs in the third. After the first two batters reached, Grady Sizemore pulled a single into right field, scoring Travis Buck from second. But the next two batters couldn't do anything, and Travis Hafner came to the plate with runners on second and third. Then the inexplicable happened; Colorado starter Jason Hammel started into his windup - and then stopped. At first I thought he tripped as he brought his landing foot towards the plate, but on replay, it didn't look like anything happened there. Regardless of how it happened, Hammel's balk allowed a second run to score, and that run would prove crucial.

Travis Hafner added to the lead in the sixth inning with a laser beam homer down the right field line. He'll have at most nine plate appearances over the next nine games, as the Indians are embarking on the road portion of interleague play, and Hafner physically can't play in the field. The lineup will miss him, as he's shown glimpses of his 2006 season when he's been in the lineup.

Tomlin had thrown just over 70 pitches as he started the seventh. For a pitcher like Carlos Carrasco or Justin Masterson, that pitch count could presage a complete game, but for Tomlin, it's the at-bats that matter, not the pitches. He allowed a line-drive single to Troy Tulowitzki, then Ty Wigginton sat on a curve and hit his second homer of the game, turning the game into a one-run affair. Tomlin was quickly removed.

What's kept this team afloat through June has been the bullpen. Almost without exception, if the Indians have a lead going into the seventh, they win. And against a pretty good lineup, the trio of Vinnie Pestano, Tony Sipp, and Chris Perez struck out six and allowed one hit in 2.2 innings of work. Perez allowed the lone hit with two outs in the ninth; his nemesis from last night, Seth Smith, hit a double off the right field wall. Perez made a location mistake with his fastball (Lou Marson was set up off the inside corner, and the fastball was on the inner half of the plate), and almost got burned. But he didn't let the double bother him, and jammed Ty Wigginton, ending the game.






Highest WPA Lowest WPA
Chris Perez .155 "3B" O. Cabrera -.071
Pestano .104 Phelps -.046
Hannahan .088 Santana -.004
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