Game 58: Indians 3, Red Sox 2
Indians improve to 27-30
Justin Masterson needed 28 pitches to get through the first inning. After that, he was dominant.
The rocky first inning behind him, Masterson settled in to blow through the Red Sox lineup. He walked four batters in total, but other than two in the first inning, the other two came to David Ortiz - clearly more of a strategic move. In the end, Masterson had struck out 10, didn't give up a run and allowed only 3 hits in 7 innings of work. At one point he threw 25 strikes in a row and, along the way, struck out the side on just 9 pitches. But I can't properly describe that perfection, so you'll have to watch for yourself.
Despite the dominance of Masterson, the offense would actually need to scratch across a few runs because Shaw would give up a two run home run to Xander Bogaerts in the 8th. Luckily for the Indians, they got all the scoring that they would need done early.
After Michael Bourn led off the game with a walk and a stolen base (!), he was followed by a Michael Brantley walk and a Lonnie Chisenhall bloop to score both runners. In the 3rd, Bourn would again get things going with a deep fly ball over the center fielder's head, which he legged out for a triple, his 5th of the year. Adrubal Cabrera would knock him in to give the Tribe a 3-0 advantage at the time, which was enough.
Bourn was 2 for 3 on the night with 2 runs and a stolen base. He now looks more like the player we thought we'd signed, though maybe with a little less defense. Still, having a spark at the top of the lineup like Bourn is a huge plus for this team. How ironic to point that out in a game where Grady Sizemore made his
triumphant lackluster return to Cleveland. Grady struck out twice and went 0 for 3 on the night. He may be healthy, but he isn't playing anything like the Grady we remember.
Editor's note: This was Grady's 9th start in RF. Before the game, this author presumed that Jonny Gomes possibly had no arms left with which to throw the ball, thus the requirement to stay in left. After watching, it should be noted, that this was not true. This leaves the author to surmise that Gomes must be required to stay in left, should his services be needed for any casual conversations with runners on third base.
Between Saturday and Sunday, Shaw came into the game with 50 pitches on the weekend and Francona tried to squeeze more juice where none was left. Shaw has been one of the best, if not the best, arms out of the pen this year but he is due for a day off or two. Marc Rzepczynski came on to retire Ortiz and finish off the Red Sox in the 8th before Cody Allen retired the side in order to close out the game in the 9th.
Shaw and Rzepczynski now lead the league in appearances at 30 with Allen right behind them at 29. It is clear who Tito relies on when the game is on the line, but you have to wonder what the workload is going to do to them. The team needs another arm to step up. But until that man emerges, let us all bask in the glory that was Justin Masterson tonight. The kind of walk year performance that we need. The kind that will help this team to the playoffs.
Also, no errors!
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