Game 93: White Sox 6, Indians 2
Tribe falls to 46-47
Every time the Indians seem to be getting it together, they fall back apart. That's the way it goes with a .500-ish ballclub and as we approach the All-Star Game, it's time we accept that this is the way it's going to be. The Tribe had hope as the pitching kept it close for most of the game, but the offense was abysmal and the Sox put it out of reach with a three-run 9th.
It was a weak showing once again for pretty much everyone not named Michael Brantley, who continued his excellent season with a solo homer in the 8th inning. Aside from a few scattered hits, the rest of the offense looked like they stayed out too late celebrating LeBron's return. Scott Carroll and the Sox 'pen (aside from former Tribe farmhand Zack Putnam) deserve credit for a solid performance, but none of them were exactly dominant. Tribe hitters simply looked lost at the plate, going 1-2-3 in five innings, including the 9th. Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher posted some nice fat O-fers. Carlos Santana walked once, but struck out in every other plate appearance. It was pretty ugly.
On the pitching side of things, The Attach looked solid in his return to the bigs against a Sox team that hits pretty well. Zach McAllister took a no-hitter into the 4th, but Jose Abreu broke it up with his 29th (!) homer of the season, driving in ALexei Ramirez who had walked to lead off the inning. Abreu is a beast. Watching him play, you can just sense that he's going to kill us for the next several years.
The only other run McAllister gave up came on a two-out single by Adam Dunn in the 7th, but he settled down to put away the Sox 1-2-3 in the 7th before leaving the game. His final line of three runs on four hits with two walks and two K's is straight solid. I'd take that every chance I could out of a 4/5 starter. But his offense did him no favors in his return.
Aside from Brantley's homer, the Indians managed just five singles. Two of those came in the 3rd inning when Jason Kipnis and David Murphy hit back-to-back two out singles before Cabrera grounded out weakly to end the threat. The only other legitimate threat the Tribe put together was in the 7th. Lonnie Chisenhall singled to start the inning, Swisher struck out, but then Yan Gomes hit a liner to left that appeared to be caught by Dayan Viciedo. Upon review, it hit the ground and was trapped in his glove, so the Indians challenged and the play was overturned easily. Chisenhall advanced to second, which is sort of a weird thing to automatically allow based on a replay reversal, but whatever. David Murphy then singled to load the bases with just one out. The Tribe was in good shape but unfortunately, Mike Aviles had to bat this inning. He flew out softly for the second out. A four-pitch walk to Kipnis "drove" in the Tribe's first run, but Cabrera put a quick end to everything with a swinging strikeout.
After Nick Hagadone, Scott Atchison, and Kyle Crockett combined for a scoreless top half of the 8th, Brantley hit a line-drive homer to RF to put the Tribe within one. Since everyone else sucks, the deficit stayed at one going into the 9th. Terry Francona curiously decided to call on Austin Adams to make his major league debut rather than Carlos Carrasco, who was fresh after not pitching last night.
Adams answered the call in the true spirit of the 2014 Indians, giving up a single then back-to-back doubles and earning just one out before he was pulled. He would leave being held responsible for three runs, which put the game out of reach for a zombified Tribe offense. Francona will sleep just fine tonight, but Adams is going to have to live with the memories of this inauspicious debut for the rest of his life.
In the end, it was a pretty standard Indians game. Still, it'd be nice to win the series tomorrow so we could go into the All-Star break holding our heads um, high? Half-mast? Cocked slightly to the right? Hey, at least we can't lose for the next three days!
Win Expectancy Chart:
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