Tribe improves to 59-59
Don't worry, I'm not going to make this recap all about Derek Jeter, but allow me a paragraph:
Unless the Indians and Yankees play a tiebreaker for the second Wild Card spot, today marked the final time Jeter will face the Tribe. We should be happy about that, both because he hit really well against the Indians (a .364 average in 371 regular season at bats), and because it means we won't have to listen to announcers slobber all over the place in praise of Jeter. Most of that success came a long time ago, and in this decade, Jeter hit only .263 against the Indians, without a single home run in 80 at bats. He went out with a whimper today, going 0 for 4.
So long, Derek, I will not miss you!
Alright, now on to the Indians, the reason we're all here...
Carlos Carrasco only got the chance to start today because so many others have struggled in recent weeks. When I reversed course on him a few days ago, and called for Carrasco to be moved back into the starting rotation, it wasn't because I believed he'd figured something out and was going to be much better at it than he was before, it was because I'd grown desperate, and it longer seemed like it could hurt to see what happened.
Well, what happened was Carrasco pitched 5 shutout innings, allowing only a pair of singles, and not walking anybody. He was only pulled from the game so quickly because his arm is not stretched all the way out to handle the workload of 7 or 8 innings, but there's no way he doesn't get another couple starts after his performance today, and he ought to be able to throw a few more pitches each time he goes out there. Even in its brevity, it was maybe the best game by an Indians pitcher not named Corey Kluber since the All-Star break.
I'll need more than this to be full convinced, but today was a great step in the right direction.
Most of the tribe offense this afternoon was provided by three guys: Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, and Yan Gomes. Kipnis had 3 hits, including a double, only his second three-hit game in the last month. He also scored 3 of the team's 4 runs. Brantley drove in a run with a single and another with a sac fly, raising his RBI total for the year to 76, and putting him on pace for 104, which would be the most for an Indians hitter since Victor Martinez had 114 of them in 2007. Gomes had two singles, and drove in the other two runs. It was a good day for Tribe hitters who are signed for another five years or so.
The only run New York scored all day came on a home run with two outs in the 9th inning, only the 4th ling ball Cody Allen has allowed this season. The shutout would have been nice, but I'll gladly take a 4-1 win over the Yankees. Detroit lost in 19 innings today, so the Indians remain 5.5 games behind them in the Central. Kansas City won their 7th game in a row today, so the Indians remain 5 games behind them for the second Wild Card spot. Those results also mean the Royals are only half a game back of the Tigers, which is quite a surprise, given where things stood a week ago.
The Indians are only just on the edge of playoff contention, but they are still on that edge, something that seemed very much in question less than 48 hours ago.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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