The Doctor, my friends, is in.
For one moment, let's just pretend it is all roses, shall we? Michael Brantley came through in the bottom of the 10th when his team needed him most, lacing a 2 out, 3-2 pitch over the right field wall for a walk off, solo home run. 5-4 Indians - ballgame. The happiest men in Cleveland, OH ran to meet him at home plate, showering him in water, love and plenty of jabs to the ribs. And a polite hug from Scott Atchison, as is appropriate for a man of his age.
Joking aside, Atchison turned in another solid inning in the 10th that helped keep the score tied after Cody Allen gave up a solo shot to J.D. Martinez, of all people, to blow the save in the previous inning. Allen spoiled the "win" for Corey Kluber, who went 7, struck out 8 and allowed 3 earned runs. In the end, though, the Tribe still came out on top. Allen is scuffling as of late and it is this author's opinion that the closer duties should be handled primarily by Bryan Shaw, who also notched a scoreless frame in the 8th. But right now, all that matters is that we didn't lose.
But it wasn't for lack of trying. With 2 outs, the Indians left a staggering 14 runners on base. No, not a typo. 14. The approach at the plate was positive all night long, being patient and working counts, but there was very little fruit for their labor. Normally when a player does all that, they're able to get a pitch to their liking and do some damage. Indians batters kept getting those pitches and doing absolutely nothing with them. Before Brantley sent everyone home, they had only managed 4 runs on 13 hits and 6 walks. They had to work way too hard for those runs.
I cannot say enough about Yan Gomes in this game. He went 3 for 4 tonight, all singles, but each ball was well struck and his hustle on a Nick Swisher single, advancing from 1st to 3rd on a soft liner to left field in the 7th, made the game 4-3 in the Tribe's favor. Most speedsters don't advance on that play, let alone a catcher. But credit Gomes, you could tell all night long that he wanted this game.
The defense didn't commit any errors tonight, but they didn't really improve either. Bourn and Raburn both managed to play singles into doubles and Santana mishandled a catch on a would-be double play ball in the 8th. The danger of shifts, I suppose, is a third baseman who isn't a third baseman trying to work the pivot. This just doesn't look like a team that has the fundamentals down pat, for whatever reason.
Don't get me wrong , the Detroit Tigers are a very good team. Perhaps they were tired from their late arrival, but the difference between the Tigers and the Athletics, who just left town, is that when the Tigers peeked through the open door tonight, they couldn't quite walk through it. The Athletics? They simply ripped the door down. I think what was lost in the shuffle with the Oakland series is just how good that baseball team is right now. No opportunity is wasted for them.
Before we let you out of here all doom and gloom, Jesus Aguilar notched his first Major League base hit with an RBI single to SS in the 5th and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to center field in the 7th after Gomes had advanced to 3rd on his aggressive base running. I'd like to see him one more time in the next two days at 1st while Lonnie mans 3rd, as Santana still looks a little off at the plate. And Lonnie has to start the next two games, right?
Trevor Bauer takes to the hill tomorrow to face off against Miguel Cabrera's whining and Torii Hunter's incessant bat flips. Hopefully we can put together what they call a winning streak.
Oh, and for those wondering what Miguel Cabrera's beef with Kluber was after he struck out in the first, he apparently isn't fond of falafels. Seems short sighted.
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