September 21, 2013
Every time I think that Scott Kazmir is running out of gas, he goes and pitches an outing like he did tonight. Yes, shutting down the Astros is not exactly unique accomplishment, but it was the way he shut down Houston that was impressive. There were the strikeouts, of course, but just a couple of balls were hit hard, and he retired the first twelve batters in order (Jonathan Villar singled to start the game, but quickly erased on a double play). Kazmir's fastball once again was in the mid-90s, which made his changeup very effective. Several times a Houston batter not only missed the ball, but tossed his bat in the process. Kazmir was also efficient with his pitches as well, getting through seven inning while only throwing 96 pitches. He went out for the eighth, gave up a first-pitch double to L.J. Hoes, and was removed from the game to a standing ovation by the 26,000+ people at Progressive Field.
Kazmir worked with a semi-comfortable lead all night. The Indians jumped on Houston starter Paul Clemens for three runs in the first, with one coming on a Jason Kipnis sacrifice fly, and the other coming on a two-run homer off the bat of Michael Brantley. Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, the two big free agent signings last winter, set up the inning with a double and single. The Indians added another run in the fourth on a Lonnie Chisenhall RBI single.
After Kazmir left in the eighth, Cody Allen stranded the inherited runner on second,which meant that Chris Perez would not work the ninth. After a bases-loaded, one-out rally fizzled in the bottom of the inning, Francona called upon Joe Smith, not Matt Albers to pitch the ninth. Smith retired the first two batters of the inning, but then gave up a Chris Carter homer followed by a walk to pinch-hitter Marc Krauss. Chris Perez started to warm up, but Smith settled down, inducing LGFT Trevor Crowe to hit a game-ending grounder to the first baseman.
With the win, the Indians guaranteed a series win over the Astros, and continued to stay on course to win 90 games, which is my opinion the magic number for this team to make the playoffs. The Indians at this point also control their own destiny, meaning that if they win out, they at the very worst will play a tiebreaker with the Rangers for the second wild card (by virtue of the Rangers playing one more game than the Indians after tonight). It shouldn't have to come to that, but it's nice to know that the Indians don't have to rely on help if they keep winning.
AL Games of Interest
- Tampa Bay (+0.5) 5, Baltimore (-3.5) 1 - Final
- New York (-3.0) 6, San Francisco 0 -Final
- Texas (-0.5) 3, Kansas City (-3.5) 1 - Final
Roll Call: 30 Commenters
|3||Mr. Bad Example||27|
|7||Denver Tribe Fan||19|
|21||new zealand tribe fan||3|