Indians 5, Angels 4
Indians improve to 67-48
5 game lead in the AL Central; Tigers won again today.
Before I get to anything else, there's something important I need to bring up.
I will never know what the context of this magnificent sweeping performance was in the actual show, and I'm perfectly fine with that.
While Jered Weaver pitched effectively in the first four innings, the Indians began chipping away in the fifth. They picked up two runs in the frame, and the last came on an unusual play. Mike Napoli tapped a ground ball up the middle, and the Angels attempted to nip Francisco Lindor at second. Lindor hustled and beat the throw, allowing Roberto Perez to score. Perhaps a bit too eager to tie the game, Mike Sarbaugh sent
speedster Carlos Santana, who slid into the waiting glove of Giovanny Soto.
Mike Scioscia elected to keep Jered Weaver in for the bottom of the sixth, and this proved to be the difference in today’s game. Jose Ramirez led off with a single, then stole second after Lonnie Chisenhall lined out. Tyler Naquin crushed a double off of the extended section of the wall by the foul pole in right, driving in the tying run. Perhaps the reports of his decline were greatly exaggerated; since going 0-19, Tyler Naquin now has four hits in his last five at bats, and three of those are doubles.
Two pitches later, Abraham Almonte stroked a single and earned the go-ahead RBI. The Indians had a chance to really blow the game open with the bases loaded after Weaver got yanked, but Lindor popped out in foul ground near third base. Despite this missed opportunity, the Indians picked up the win.
Trevor Bauer didn’t look particularly sharp today. Nor did he get frustrated, lose his control, give up three home runs, and sulk off of the field. Last year such a meltdown might have been expected out of the starter, but this year he continues to impress even in games when his stuff isn’t stuffing hitters. It won’t show up as a quality start, but Bauer kept the game close enough to give his team a chance to win in six innings of work.
Andrew Miller came on to pitch in the seventh inning, once again proving that Tito Francona doesn’t give a damn about you and your stupid baseball conventions.
Since joining the Indians, Andrew Miller has entered the game in the...— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 14, 2016
It's every Sabermetricians dream come true: a manager who isn't afraid to use his best reliever whenever he feels he needs the outs the most. Today, with rainclouds looming on the horizon, Tito treated the 7th as a save opportunity. When he eliminated the side in nine pitches, Tito let him face the top of the order in the 8th, and he destroyed them. His last pitch — low, and perhaps aided by a great framing job from Roberto Perez — so baffled Albert Pujols that he called the umpire something unsavory and got tossed.
Cody Allen came on in the ninth and retired all three batters he faced, as well. Again: saves are pointless, but if you're counting, Allen now has 22. For the second consecutive night the Indians' bullpen did not allow a hit.
Other items of note:
- Lindor snapped his hitting streak today, but Napoli extended his to 14, and Ramirez extended his to 18
- The Angels lost every single game on their 10-game road trip. Ouch.
- Abraham Almonte tallied six hits and three RBI in the three games he played this weekend.
- Only three Indians hitters swung and missed today against Jered Weaver.
- Mike Trout brooded on the on-deck circle, a two-run pinch hit home run in waiting. Fortunately, Allen struck Ji-Man Choi out to avoid the ordeal entirely.