Cleveland improves to 68-70
Tonight Josh Tomlin had an outing very much representative of his 2015 season; he gave up 5 hits (3 of which left the yard), struck out 6, and didn't walk any. He wasn't as efficient with his pitch count (Adam Eaton saw to that), and tired in the sixth inning. Josh Tomlin has done almost everything right since returning to the rotation; he's been efficient with his pitches, has allowed only 5.6 H/9 (yes, it's unsustainable) and has even been striking hitters out. His one weakness has been his propensity to give up home runs. I think that goes with the territory, though. Josh Tomlin is an aggressive pitcher in the strike zone, and because batters know this, they come to the plate looking to swing the bat. When Tomlin is hitting his spots, an aggressive hitter plays right into his hands, but when he misses (as he did three times tonight), batters are going to make solid contact.
The Indians staked Tomlin to an early lead when in the first inning Francisco Lindor hit a ball off the center field fence and slid in with a triple. Michael Brantley's grounder scored Lindor, who broke quickly and drew no throw from first baseman Jose Abreu. The Indians broke a 1-1 tie when Jason Kipnis doubled home Roberto Perez in the third, and added to their lead when Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor both hit solo homers in the fifth.
Lindor is now hitting .304/.343/.439, and an astounding .362/.417/.553 over the 28 days. There may be several reasons why the Indians are driving towards the .500 mark as the season comes to close, but none are bigger than Lindor, who is excelling in all parts of the game. We knew that Lindor was going to be a plus defender right away, but he's been equally impressive whether in the field, at the plate, or on the bases. His slide on the first inning triple was very impressive (see photo); he showed his right arm, took it away, meanwhile touching third base with his left hand. It was a play few in the game could make.
Eight of the nine starters had hits on the night, with Lindor's three hits (he missed the cycle by a double) leading the pack. Roberto Perez and Jason Kipnis had two hits apiece, while Carlos Santana reached base twice.
Trayce Thompson drove home two runs for the White Sox, but he gave up two runs on defense thanks to an error in the eighth inning, and as it turned out, those two runs were needed, as Cody Allen allowed a run in the ninth. Allen settled down after allowing that run, striking out two and inducing a game-ending ground-out for his 30th save of the season.
If Seattle holds on to beat the Rangers, the Indians will be five games back of the second Wild Card. To me 5 games is still a huge deficit to make up in September, but there's still enough time (24 games) for a surge.
Win Expectancy Chart