BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 30: Shin-Sin Choo #17 of the Cleveland Indians runs past third base to home to scores teams first run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 30, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
The Indians apparently found their bats in Baltimore. They scored 11 runs today, and given the amount of runners left on base (16), they easily could have scored at least 5 or 6 more. So far this series, they've scored 26 runs, more than they had scored in their last eight games (23).
Buck Showalter had the option of starting either Dana Eveland or Tommy Hunter today, and he chose the southpaw because of the Indians' troubles against left-handed pitchers. It turned out that Eveland was the better option, but in this case "better" doesn't really describe what happened. Eveland, who was on a pitch count, was pulled in the 4th inning having given up 4 runs on 6 hits and two walks. Because it was so early in the game, Showalter brought in Hunter to eat some innings and perhaps keep Baltimore in the game. But Hunter was shelled by the Tribe bats; he not only allowed an inherited runner to score, but allowed 5 runs of his own to cross the plate, allowing 8 runs and walking a batter. When Hunter entered the game, the Orioles were still within hailing distance, and when he went out for the fifth, a Chris Davis three-run homer had pulled Baltimore to within a run. But by the time he was pulled, the game had got completely out of reach.
With 11 runs and 19 hits on the day, there were many offensive heroes. Jose Lopez had his first 5-hit game of his major-league career, Shin-Soo Choo collected four hits (including a home run), and Lou Marson, playing because Carlos Santana is out with a sore back, reached base 5 times and missed hitting for the cycle by a home run. Marson, after starting the season extremely cold, has been on fire over the last month, hitting .333/.429/.444 coming into today's game. That line is admittedly skewed by a small sample size (42 plate appearance), but Manny Acta almost has to ride Marson's hot bat while he can; I could see Carlos Santana playing more first base over the next week, especially when facing a left-handed pitcher.
On the other side of the spectrum was Aaron Cunningham, who went 0-for-6 on the day. When you take an 0-fer when practically everyone else in the lineup is tearing the cover off the ball, you stand out, and Cunningham probably isn't long for the 25-man roster. With Travis Hafner coming off the DL on Monday and Jason Donald, who can play center, now on the roster, I would say Cunningham is the favorite to be removed. He doesn't have any options left (otherwise he would have been sent down by now), so that would mean the Indians would have to designated him for assignment.
Josh Tomlin was the beneficiary of the offensive explosion, allowing five runs in six innings but always pitched from ahead. Like Lowe, he's really struggled over the past 6 weeks-month, and with Corey Kluber pitching well in Columbus, his leash is probably very short now.