Tribe falls to 64-62
This team is coming to crossroads quickly and we're going to find out if they have what it takes to put together the kind of run they'll need to make the playoffs. In the bottom of the 8th, it was written all over the face of Michael Brantley as he was called out on a strike 3 looking - a strike that looked just like the 2 pitches before it, both called balls. Brantley slammed the bat in frustration and left it there as he paced like a caged lion.
But pacing was all that was left, as the Indians were already beat today. It didn't seem like that would be the case when Michael Bourn led off with a single to start the game, but that's how it would be. They would never manage more than one hit in an inning and would have been held scoreless if not for another home run off the bat of Zach Walters in the 5th. They tried again in the 6th with 2 outs. Brantley reached on an error and Carlos Santana hit hard shot off the wall in right and, originally, was called safe at 2nd until Ron "The Human Complaint" Gardenhire successfully challenged the play. But that's what happens when you try to start rallies with 2 outs.
That isn't to take anything away from Phil Hughes, who pitched a heck of a game, but this team will need to start closing out a series when it is in their grasp. If not, the playoffs are out of sight.
I've put this part off for the last, because it's hard to complain about your starting pitcher going 7 innings, striking out 8 and allowing only 3 runs. In the record books they call that a quality start. They wouldn't be wrong, but it's also the worst start we've seen from our Klubot since July 11th where he gave up 4 in 6. His command wasn't the usual pinpoint-type today and it showed, as he walked 4 Twins and left a few balls in the middle of the plate. One found the bat of Big Scary Monster™ known as Kennys "Don't Call Me Kennies" Vargas. The deal was sealed in the 6th when Trevor Plouffe doubled home Vargas and Oswaldo Arcia.
They would add a 4th in the 8th inning for good measure, all while Brantley was still stewing, wondering if his team has enough to get over the hump. Somewhere in Minnesota, he still is.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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