Indians improve to 11-12
Like seemingly so many other nights the past few seasons, tonight was once again the Francisco Lindor show. I mean sure, other things happened tonight - another Tribe drubbing of Justin Verlander, clutch hits from Mike Napoli and Yan Gomes, some stellar defensive plays from non-Lindor people - but much of it pales in comparison to the play of our favourite rising star.
The Indians staked themselves to an early lead against Verlander, who just can't seem to beat the Indians these days. Having already contributed a single and a double to the cause, Lindor stepped in against Verlander in the 5th with the Tribe up 4-2 and launched a ball into orbit. The three-run bomb would be the decisive blow in a game that saw the Indians pretty much dominate from wire to wire. Lindor fell just a triple shy of the cycle thanks to his double play groundout with bases loaded in the 6th. But if the homer wasn't enough to make up for that, Frankie also did this:
Though at this point, I don't know if it's worth sharing these videos because they're as common as Lindor's name being penciled into the starting lineup. But I digress...
Prior to the Lindor homer, the Indians had already done significant damage to the Tigers. It won't be the most talked about play in the game, but perhaps one of the most important plays came very early on. Josh Tomlin struggled out of the gate, giving up a leadoff single and then a one-out single to put Tigers at the corners. Tomlin then got Victor Martinez to fly out to right, a ball deep enough that you would have assumed the runner would score uncontested. Marlo Byrd had other plans, gunning down J.D. Martinez at the plate. Martinez was initially ruled safe, but the call was overturned after a savvy Terry Francona challenge. Byrd's spectacular play quashed an early Tiger rally, and allowed Josh Tomlin to settle in nicely for most of the game.
Tomlin chugged along until the 5th, when he struggled and allowed a two-run homer to Ian Kinsler. But Frankie's big bop provided enough cushion for for Tito to the Little Cowboy out for what turned into a 1-2-3 6th inning. He finished the game with a tidy 5/0 K/BB ratio over six solid inning. It wasn't all Lindor and Tomlin tonight, though.
Mike Napoli and Yan Gomes contributed an RBI double and single respectively in the 1st to put the Indians up 3-0 and hopefully help bring the both of them out of significant slumps. Gomes also had a great game behind the plate, picking off Justin Upton with a snap throw behind him at first base. Michael Brantley got in on the fun, too, with an RBI single in the 4th (Dr. Smooth also scorched a line drive in the 1st inning, but it happened to be hit directly at Anthony Gose).
The only negative aspect of this game, if you have to dig for one, would be Tito's insistence on using Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen in a game that the Indians had well under controlled. But Shaw and Allen cruised, striking out four batter between the two of them and cleaning up the mess that Zach McAllister sort of created in the 8th.
All things considered, it sure feels great to win again. No matter how things shake out this season, one glimpse of Lindor hugging Jason Kipnis in the dugout should be enough to make you feel good about the Tribe's future.