Tribe improves to 52-53
"If you're still not convinced that momentum in baseball is almost entirely a mirage, look no further than the Indians' recent results."
That's how I began Saturday's recap, when I was making the point that looking like world-beaters against Detroit hadn't done a lick of good to help the Tribe beat Minnesota or Kansas City. Today, I could say it again, it make the point that looking like regurgitated dog food for most of this week didn't do anything to keep the Tribe from romping to a big win today.
The big story was Carlos Santana, who reached base safely all five times he came to the plate, and hit his 19th and 20th home runs of the season, which makes him the first Tribe hitter with 20 home runs before the end of July since Grady Sizemore in 2008. I know I bring up how good a hitter Santana is all the time, and I imagine there are a few of you who find that tiresome, but look at his numbers for the just-finished week: 15 for 27, with 5 BB, 1 HBP, 3 doubles, 6 home runs, and 1 stolen base. His batting line: .556/.636/1.333.
He's been the team's best hitter again since mid May (yes, better than Michael Brantley), and even including the awful six-week slump from early April to mid May, his rate stats are right in line with what they were a year ago (except batting average, the only stat you great-uncle Bertram cares about).
If you still think Santana is having a bad season, you either haven't been paying attention, or you don't understand baseball.
Carlos led the way, but he wasn't the only one in on the fun today. Yan Gomes had three hits, including his 14th home run. Ryan Raburn hit one too (ten more and I'll forgive him that play in left field the other night!). Asdrubal Cabrera had a pair of hits in his return from a few days out with back spasms, and Michael Brantley add a couple more to his tally as well (he's up to 126 of them now, and is on pace for 195).
Seeing the lineup light Kansas City up was great, but aside from Santana the man of the match was Danny Salazar. He gave up 3 runs in 7 innings, which is a solid result. Even better though, he struck out 7 batters, as we've come to expect, but he didn't walk a single one, or allow a home run. Now, no AL team hits fewer home runs or draws fewer walks than the Royals, so we shouldn't get too carried away with his outing, but it's still a good sign, and I think he's earned his way back into the rotation for now (hopefully this time it lasts for years to come).
If the Indians had lost today, I'd have been on the ledge. a four-game sweep and losing 7 of 8 can have that effect. Instead though, today's win has me seeing the bright side of things. Take yourself back to where you were at coming out of the All-Star break, when the Indians were about to begin an 11-games-in-10-days road trip. If someone had offered you a 6-5 record on that trip, wouldn't you have gladly taken it? I know I would have.
5-6 isn't quite 6-5, but the one-game difference isn't worth much frustration. This is a case where the order of events tints your reaction to them. If the Indians had lost the first three games against Detroit, and then bounced back to go 5-3 over the rest of the trip, it wouldn't seem like a bad result. The order of events makes things feel different, but they aren't really, and the momentum it seems like they lost before today was just a mirage.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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