August 4, 2013
The Indians saw three impressive young arms during this series, including two that they hadn't seen before, so taking two out three from the Marlins is a bit more impressive than you might originally think. Because the Indians scored a grand total of six runs in the series, they needed outstanding pitching, and they got it on Saturday and today.
Today it was Scott Kazmir that stepped up. Kazmir had a bad outing five days ago, but today he looked very much like the pitched that blanked Seattle on July 24th. He allowed just two hits and two walks in six innings of scoreless ball, striking out seven along the way. Plus he got a hit on 98-mph Eovaldi fastball, which is an accomplishment in itself.
The Tribe offense didn't do much against Miami flamethrower Nathan Eovaldi. The 23-year-old right-hander came for the Dodgers last July in the Hanley Ramirez deal, and is yet another young arm that the Marlins can build around. He regularly threw in the mid-to-upper 90s, and when it was apparent that the seventh inning would be his last, he touch 100 mph a couple times, particularly in the Giambi at-bat. The Indians were trying to tack on an insurance run in that inning, but Giambi (pinch-hitting for Kazmir) couldn't get the runner in from third with less than outs. The Indians would, however, get a second run across when Michael Brantley lined a two-out single into center field in the eighth inning. Brantley hadn't gotten a hit in his last 14 at-bats prior to that hit.
The Tribe bullpen again did its job, with Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith, and Chris Perez each pitching a scoreless inning. Shaw allowed two singles but struck out the side, Smith pitched out a two-out walk, and Chris Perez retired the side in order thanks to an outstanding diving catch by Michael Bourn, who has showed off his defense and base running this weekend.
Even though they've now won 10 out of 11, the Indians will go into this week's series with the Tigers down 3 games because the Tigers are equally as hot. They finished off the White Sox today in extra innings, capping off an undefeated homestand. But the Indians can take division matters into their own hands starting tomorrow.
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