Tribe improves to 41-44
Francisco Lindor has been hitting the ball hard, but hasn't had much luck getting those hard-hit balls to fall in for hits. When the BABIP gods aren't doing you any favors, sometimes it's best just to take them out of the equation by putting the ball out of play. In the bottom of the 6th inning Thursday night, that's exactly what Lindor did, lining a ball into the left field seats for the second home run of his career, and tying the game at a run apiece in the process.
Following that home run, Michael Brantley doubled down the right field line... then Ryan Raburn doubled down the left field line... then Carlos Santana hit a triple to left-center field... which is pretty much all Santana has been doing lately, am I right? Those hits put the Tribe ahead 3-1, which is where the game would end. Sometimes three runs is all you need, more than you need even.
What allowed the Indians to win despite a fairly modest offensive output? Another very good outing from Cody Anderson, who went 6.2 innings (and was lifted with the bases empty, after throwing only 79 pitches) and allowed only the one run. This was the fourth start of Anderson's career, and the fourth time he's gone 6+ innings while allowing no more than 1 run.
Here is a complete list of every pitcher who's ever started their career with four games like that:
...that is all.
Anderson is yet to strike out more than four batters in a game (he had just 1 K tonight), and the kind of success he's having while striking out so few batters ins't likely to continue, but that's a hypothetical problem for another day. Right now, we should all just bask in the warmth of a rotation that features four guys who're striking out a tremendous number of hitters, and a fifth starter who's using some sort of sorcery to prevent runs without striking almost anyone out. Seriously, take a minute to think about how much fun this rotation is... baseball is best when you let it be fun!
Marc Rzepczynski and Bryan Shaw each retired two batters, and Cody Allen came in for his 18th save of the season. He wasn't his sharpest, allowing a leadoff single, needing a very nice play by Santana at first base to record the first out, and later walking the man who represented the tying run, but he also got a couple easy infield flies, and with that the Indians had their third win in a row, and eighth in their last eleven games.
The Indians will host Oakland this weekend to wrap up the first half of the season. (First half in terms of the All-Star break anyway.) Salazar, Carrasco, and Kluber will pitch those games, which sounds good... of course, any three Tribe starters right now sounds pretty good.
Win Expectancy Chart
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