Indians improve to 76-56
Corey Kluber pitched a strong eight innings of work, but unfortunately, he gave up two home runs and the Cleveland Indians could not overcome the few runs scored by the Minnesota Twins... wait a minute. I am not writing a 2015 recap. This is the 2016 Indians. Kluber gave up a couple runs but who cares the Indians offense exploded for seven this team is the best.
Kluber absolutely steamrolled through the first two innings, striking out four batters and hardly breaking a sweat. He even matched his pitching staff counterparts from yesterday by fielding a ball shot directly to him and one that was right beside him. By the end of the second inning he had two assists to go with his four whiffs.
Max Kepler led off the third with a solo home run and Kluber had some trouble in the inning, but after that he started working again, and his next bout of trouble would not come until the seventh. Even then, "trouble" was just having the audacity to require more than three pitchers per batter to record an out. When all was said and done, Kluber still ended the seventh with three strikeouts and no more runs crossing the plate.
At 93 pitches with a six-run lead, no one would have doubted Terry Francona for taking Kluber out to start the eighth. But Josh Tomlin imploded yesterday and the bullpen could use a break, so Kluber trotted out again and ran into some issues. Logan Schafer started the inning with a single, then Brian Dozier homered to bring the Twins within a grand slam's reach at 7-3.
Offensively, the Indians finally had big games in back-to-back nights, as they should against the lowly Twins. Minnesota pitcher Pat Dean came into the game with a 6.24 ERA in 49 innings this season, and that's only going to get worse after giving up six more in 4.1 frames.
And Roberto Perez! My boy Roberto! The Tribe catcher was in peak form tonight, belting a home run and drawing a walk. If he is going to be good, or anywhere near what I hoped when I was excited about it all season (and offseason), this is what he should be doing. Drawing a ton of walks, occasionally hitting one of out the park, and making us all forget about Yan Gomes' horrid offense for a brief moment in time.
Carlos Santana also drove a ball out of the park, and at this rate he is likely to get to 30 home runs before Mike Napoli. No offense to Mr. Napoli whatsoever, and I hope he goes on a tear heading into the playoffs, but I would love for Santana to be the first one to break the barrier this season. After being so close in the last six years, and all the crap he takes from Indians fans, it would seem fitting for Carlos to kill the 30 dingerz meme once and for all. Either way, I just want someone to do it.
More important than all that "scoring" and "winning" nonsense, Dover, Ohio native and professional smiler Perci Garner debuted. He looked like a rookie making his debut (hint: not great), but he was hitting 94-96 with movement. The 27-year-old rookie issued two walks and left the bases loaded for Bryan Shaw. And because Shaw is not one of his spirals of endless despair and pain, he struck the batter out.
Matt Underwood made the comment that Garner doesn't *look* like a rookie making his debut, and I can see that. His performance was rookie-like, but Garner fits right in out there. That probably doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things, but I can't wait to see what he does in September and maybe in the playoffs, depending on how the bullpen situation plays out. Welcome to Tribe, Perci.