Jason Kipnis, shown here in the 2011 Futures Game, made his major-league debut Friday night.
The Indians' lineup in this game had only two players age 27 or older - usually, this would be a sign of a team looking towards the future. But this team is still focused on the present, and their newest call-up represented both short-term and long-term goals. The Indians need offensive production, and although they will likely be trading for an outfielder before the week is out, there was another way they could improve the lineup. Jason Kipnis, who had been moved to second base at the beginning of last season, was playing well in AAA, while Orlando Cabrera, brought in to serve as a transition to Kipnis, was hitting .244/.275/.323 for the season, a very weak line even in a more pitching-friendly league environment. So Kipnis made his major-league debut in the middle of a pennant race. What we thought would happen this season would be that Chisenhall and Kipnis would be called up in the second half of the year as the Indians play out the string. What actually happened is that the Indians are contending and the Tribe's two top position player prospects are up to help the team in the division race. It's hard to develop young talent at the major-league level and contend at the same, but the Indians are managing to do it.
The scoring happened on swing of the bat. Carlos Carrasco, after dodging jams all game, made a mistake with a fastball to Carlos Quentin, who hit into the bleachers for a three-run homer. Carrasco pitched into the seventh, struck out six, but allowed 10 base runners. Still, that's a outing that gave the Indians a good chance to win if they score their usual 4-5 runs a game.
But the Indians couldn't score any runs. Gavin Floyd, who it seems is always on the cusp of breaking out, tossed 7.2 shutout innings, not walking a batter and allowing just four hits. He, like Carrasco, has four (five if you consider his cut fastball a separate pitch) above-average to exceptional pitches, and all were on display. The Indians managed just a couple of scoring opportunities, and only a couple balls all night were hit hard.
|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|