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Ketchup grinds out a gritty victory while Indians fall to White Sox, 8-1

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There have been better baseball games. There have also been worse games. I think.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Indians 1, White Sox 8

You don't want to read this box score

Indians fall to 90-64

Magic Number: 2

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In a truly thrilling sporting event that captivated all 32,088 in attendance, Ketchup bested rivals Mustard and Onion in the Sugardale Hot Dog Derby. While the race stayed close in the early strides, Ketchup blew away Onion down the stretch by ten links. One more race remains in the storied contest, and officials report that Onion——

Okay, okay. The Indians played a baseball game. If Francona's goal today was to make sure that all of the arms that matter stayed rested, then tonight is a rousing success.

The Cleveland Indians allowed only four runs in seven innings of work to begin today's game, using a mash-up of decent to replacement-level arms. That's allowable. I've advocated for using an unusual approach to make the Indians more effective by starting the game with elite relievers, rather than a slurry of guys who might not be on the team if it not for injuries and expanded rosters. I wouldn't say that the first seven innings of tonight's game is encouraging, but it certainly wasn't a disaster. A better night from the offense would have kept the game close enough to justify using Otero, Shaw, Allen, or Miller.

Then, Austin Adams came in, and while I'm sure that he's a very nice man, I am not sure if he will find success as a Major League pitcher in the city of Cleveland. Sometimes a guy benefits from a change of pace. Sometimes they don't. After what I've seen from Adams in the second half of this year, I hope he has wanderlust.

Speaking of the offense: It's not Francona's fault that it faltered after loading the bases in the first and second inning. Two double plays — ending the inning with a grounder in the first and neutering it with a TOOTBLAN in the second — diffused the Tribe's hot start, and they earned only one run from the efforts. Jose Quintana threw more than 50 pitches in those innings, then managed to stretch for 99 total in six innings of work. I don't believe that this team decided to take a night off. They wouldn't do it for 10,000 fans, so they certainly wouldn't for 32,088, tonight's announced attendance.

By the end of the game, the Indians did manage to set a team record.

After Adam's explosion, there wasn't much of a reason to keep the starters in. We'll see more and more rest for those guys down the stretch as the Indians prepare for the playoffs. Adam Plutko made his Major League debut and pitched 1.2 scoreless innings. Joe Colon struck out the side in his inning of work. Chris Gimenez played third base. Jesus Aguilar proved that he still exists.

Overall, this was not an entertaining baseball game, so we look to the other things for a bit of fun tonight.

Other items of note

  • Brandon Guyer took a HBP up in the zone with a seven-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth, his 31st of the year.
  • Rajai Davis stole his 41st base.
  • Jose Ramirez hit is 45th double of the season, and still has a chance to overtake David Ortiz for the lead in the American League
  • Several Indians broadcasters remarked that they did not think that Mike Trout is really even in the running for AL MVP. I will not get into it here, because I do not want this recap to balloon into 3,000 words with charts and graphs and formulas. Based on a quick perusal of the comments and twitter I wouldn't be shocked to see an article spill forth from the pages of this fine establishment.
Tomorrow, the Indians play the rubber match against the Sox, and can clinch the division with a win if the Tigers lose. That would be a fun thing, wouldn't it?