Indians 12, Rangers 1
Indians improve to 73-54
A 12-1 victory is always a welcome sight, but the sequencing of this one was rather satisfying coming after three brutal losses. The bats were back, Corey Kluber was on the mound, the sky is still above the earth, the other shoe hasn’t dropped, and the panic button hasn’t been pressed.
I would be lying to classify Corey Kluber’s outing as complete domination, because it wasn’t. Kluber allowed just one run over six innings, but he had to work hard for every out. Ranger hitters dogged him in just about every at-bat, laying off Kluber’s breaking pitches, but Corey rose to the challenge and got the Indians through those six innings, setting the stage for the offense to make the finishing blow. And in that respect, Kluber’s start was as impressive as any he’s made this year.
Kluber’s performance would have been for nought had the Tribe bats replicated their other efforts this road trip, but tonight the offense returned to form. And some of the contributions came from rather unexpected sources. Jason Kipnis landed the first blow by shooting a double down the left field line off southpaw starter Martin Perez, scoring Roberto Perez with two outs. And yes, Roberto was on base via a base hit, and it wouldn’t be his last hit of the night.
The Indians gave Kluber some breathing room when they scored two more runs in the third, thanks to Jose Ramirez’s RBI grounder and Abraham Almonte’s two-out double. Brandon Guyer, who had failed to get a runner in from third, made up for it when he scored all the way from first on Almonte’s hit into the left-center field gap. Almonte was in the middle of the next rally, when he hit another double in the sixth, plating two batters. Roberto Perez would get another hit, making the lead 6-0 and in the process chasing Martin Perez.
Roberto Perez collected four hits on the night, increasing his 2016 total from eight to twelve hits (100 PA). None of his hits were exactly lightning bolts, especially one that was essentially a swinging bunt, but if anyone was due for some BABIP luck, it was Roberto.
Carlos Santana was another standout; he swung the bat tonight as well I’ve seen this season, making the perfect swing for the pitch he was seeing. One hit came on a high outside fastball (he lined it the other way), another came on an inside breaking pitch (he pulled it into the shortstop-third base hole).
The Indians as a team collected 17 hits, with the only two starters to go hitless Rajai Davis and Francisco Lindor. Brandon Guyer would score four runs, two of them coming after he was hit by a pitch. Guyer has a commanding lead in the HBP category (27), and still wears no protective gear at the plate. He doesn’t lean out over the plate, but at the same time he doesn’t move when a pitch darts inside.
So after three of the most painful games of the year, the Indians responded with one of their best wins of the year. Welcome to the baseball.
(I would be remiss not to mention that
Jason Jonathan Lucroy went 1-for-3 tonight, and flubbed two pitches at the plate. So for one night at least, the Indians won the non-trade.)