Indians 6, White Sox 2
Tribe improve to 5-8
It's an age-old story in baseball: untested rookie versus grizzled veteran. Young hoss versus gritty scrapper. Uber prospect versus utility inf... oh you get the picture. And tonight, the trope played out in an epic battle between Carlos Rodon and Ryan Raburn, and it turned out to be the deciding at bat of the game.
In the 6th inning, Rodon made his Major League debut in relief of White Sox starter Hector Noesi. After Rodon walked Brandon Moss to load the bases with two outs, Raburn stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter. The Indians were up 2-1 at the time, and had a prime opportunity to break things wide open. Rodon fell behind Raburn 3-0 before battling back to a full count. After fighting off a couple tough pitches, Raburn shortened his arms, bowed his neck, and willed a bloop single into left, scoring Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley. The Indians would eventually add two more runs en route to a 6-2 victory, but this was the key play of the game. It might be time to face the music here, folks: Ryan Raburn is the team's second-best hitter in 2015.
Fortunately, the rest of the team put in a solid effort to complement Raburn's clutch hitting. Carlos Carrasco appeared to not miss a step after the line drive incident. He looked dominant over five innings, striking out eight and giving up just one run on a Jose Abreu homer (and I've said it before, but Abreu's gonna Abreu). Carrasco was somewhat curiously pulled after five innings, despite having only thrown 60 pitches and baffling White Sox hitters along the way. Official word is that Tito and Mickey Callaway wanted to ease him back into things after the injury, and because of the time he missed during spring training. I was confused about the move initially, but when a guy pitching that well has a brush with serious injury this early in the season, it's probably a good move to let him get his bearings back slowly. Good thing the bullpen managed to hold things together for a change.
Scott Atchison, Scrabble, Bryan Shaw, The Attach, Nick Hagadone, and Cody Allen all made appearances over the course of the remaining for innings, giving up just one run. Of those six, on Zach McAllister got into any trouble. Even though the White Sox were gifted two extra outs in the 8th - an error by Jose Ramirez and a dropped pop foul by Brandon Moss - they only managed to plate one run. Allen worked a 1-2-3 9th with two strikeout, restoring a bit of confidence after last night's disaster.
Other notable occurrences tonight include a Magic Hands David Murphy homer, another Carlos Santana homer, and Michael Bourn sliding further into obsolescence with a pathetic caught stealing in the 9th. Also worth noting, I think, is that Roberto Perez looked a bit rough behind the plate. He seemed to have real trouble with balls in the dirt, allowing a few balls to get past him and losing track of where they went. Chalk it up to rookie inexperience, hopefully.
Otherwise, the rest of the game was refreshing. All aspects of the team performed solidly, and the Indians now have a chance to leave Chicago with a series win. Maybe things are looking up for the ol' Tribe!
Win Expectancy Chart
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