May 23, 2013
Chapter 46: You can go home again.
That was beautiful. The Indians, probably relieved that they finally were facing a "normal" MLB starter, forced Ryan Dempster out after three innings and not letting off the gas against Boston's middle relief.
- The key point in the game was after Zach McAllister gave up the 3-run homer to David Ortiz. Instead of letting that blast (which made the score 4-3) be his undoing, he quickly retired the side in the third.
- Before Ortiz's blast Michael Bourn made a great throw to nab Jacoby Ellsbury at the plate.
- Even though the Indians scored 12 runs, they did so without a single home run, which is an amazing feat in itself. Usually when you're scoring that many runs, the pitching is horrible. And it takes a lot of non-home runs to score that many runs. The Indians finished the game with 16 hits and 8 walks, 24 base runners, relentlessly grinding the Boston pitching staff into the ground.
- What broke the game open happened when an Indians batter actually didn't hit the ball hard. In the sixth inning, with runners on second and third and nobody out, Yan Gomes hit a weak popup in foul territory down the first base line, but first baseman Mike Napoli just plain dropped the ball. Later in the at-bat Gomes doubled down the left field line, and the rout was on.
- Every starter had at least one hit on the evening. Carlos Santana walked four time (first Indian to do so since Grady Sizemore in 2008), and Michael Bourn, Mark Reynolds, and Drew Stubbs each had three hits. Stubbs in particularly was impressive, with all three of his hits going for extra bases. This is a lineup (heck, a roster) that doesn't have many holes, and that's what leads to offensive outputs like this.
- There's a very good chance at least one game this weekend will be postponed, so Scott Barnes' scoreless three innings was rather important. Barnes got a save out of it, but more importantly, it allowed Terry Francona to save most of his important relievers for later in the series.
- The big story before the game was Francona's return to Boston. This morning's Boston stories will probably work his return into the fabric of the recap, but for us, what happen on the field was more important than history.
Right now this lineup is beautifully balanced between power and speed, and sometimes both in the same play. Drew Stubbs, when he gives us glimpses of what he's capable of, is something to watch. Michael Brantley, who is now hitting .306/.362/.388, has hit everywhere in the batting order, including cleanup in Nick Swisher's absense. Michael Bourn is fully exploiting his tools, hitting line drives and sharp grounders. Carlos Santana, even after a "bad" May, still has a 170 OPS+ and is third in the league in walks. And Yan Gomes, who has forced himself into a regular role, is continuing to mash the ball, creating a good problem for the Indians to have. They've held their own against the best pitching the league can throw at them, and you just saw what they can do against lesser starters.
So what once was just a standard line this spring is much more relevant than anyone ever expected: the Indians will go as far as their rotation will take them. This team is going to score, it's just a matter of coming up with the starts to back it up.
Roll Call (38 Commenters)
|2||Ted Washington's Belly||70|
|9||Marquess of Rockingham||39|
|11||Full Bred Dawg||31|
|14||VA tribe fan||21|
|22||Mr. Bad Example||6|