Indians climb to 60-42
When the Kluber is Klubing there really isn't anything that hitters can do about it. Today — despite the trade drama — the Indians ace dismantled the Athletics and completed a weekend sweep. Through seven shutout innings Kluber allowed five hits, two walks, and struck out seven. He might have had a chance at throwing a complete game shutout, but Terry Francona elected to finish the game with Zach McAllister, Kyle Crockett, and Austin Adams. Why push your aces arm when you have an eight run lead?
Honestly, the A's could have just forfeited this one halfway through. Nobody could touch Kluber, and the Tribe knocked Sonny Gray out in the 4th inning. Even if Kluber hadn't been locked in, the Indians offense would have carried the day. Every single hitter reached base except for Erik Gonzalez and Chris Gimenez, although they came on as substitutes. Mike Napoli cranked his 24th home run to cap a five-run third inning. Jason Kipnis and Abraham Almonte added sacrifice flies in the 4th and 5th inning, and the A's never really threatened after that.
Kluber improved his record to 10-8 today, meeting Josh Tomlin and Danny Salazar at the double-digit win plateau. During the radio broadcast Tom Hamilton noted that the last time the Indians finished July with two ten game winners was 1940, when Bob Feller and Al Milnar did it. Pitch wins are usually a stupid statistics, but they help to underline just how dominant the Indians' starting rotation is. I'm not the only one with a similar take away from the game today:
Honestly, I could have just posted this picture and passed it off as the game recap. The Indians' staff is the strength of the team, and it continues to carry them through the summer. Are there likely to be other moves before 4:00 tomorrow afternoon? I'd be shocked if we don't see something, especially since we know who would have been shipped in exchange for Lucroy.
The Indians retain a 4.5 game lead over the Detroit Tigers, who also swept its opponent this weekend. It's going to be a weird pennant race. The Indians have a run differential of +96, while the Tigers sit at +18. The White Sox are still within striking distance, but it would take a minor miracle for them to catch the Tribe. The Kansas City Royals are melting away despite being the defending champions, and the Twins are just miserable.
Speaking of the Twins, the Tribe open a series against them tomorrow, culminating in a matinee on Thursday. For whatever reason the Indians have struggled against the cellar dwellers this year and still have seven games to play against them. I'd like to think that the Indians might be able to figure things out tomorrow, but as of right now the Twins haven't even named a starter.