Given who the starting pitchers were tonight, you’d expect a taut, low-scoring game with Andrew Miller and Cody Allen finishing the game with little margin for error. Well, that last part turned out to be true.
Both starters had a rough first inning, especially Chris Archer. The LGFT prospect had been awful against his original organization, and tonight was no exception. Archer couldn’t find the strike zone, and the Indians took advantage of that wildness...
...except for Francisco Lindor, who for some reason decided to lay down a bunt after Jason Kipnis walked. Grumble.
Anyway, Carlos Santana, who was moved into the cleanup spot, singled home the first run of the inning, Edwin Encarnacion’s ground out plated another run, then Lonnie Chisenhall launched a three-run homer to give the Indians a 5-1 lead. And given how the next inning started, I was seriously doubting that Archer would stick around much longer, and then I thought the same thing when Yan Gomes’ double gave the Indians a 7-3 lead. But give Archer credit, as he fought his way through five innings, and given what happened to Carlos Carrasco, those extra innings gave his team a chance to mount a comeback.
Carlos Carrasco was also fighting to get through his innings, giving up single tallies in each of the three frames, though he had some margin to work with. Carlos left a pitch up in the zone to Kevin Kiermaier in the second inning, and that wasn’t the only one. I didn’t think too much of it, but in the fourth inning his velocity was down and the pitches were still staying up in the zone. He missed on four straight to Keirmaier, the final three up and in. That prompted a visit from Mickey Callaway, and when Nick Goody immediately started warming, the warning bells started to ring. Carlos would try to get through the inning, but after giving up a single to Brad Miller, Terry Francona walked out to the mound with the trainer, then decided to pull him. The Indians later classified the injury as “pectoral tightness,” which isn’t even close to the worst-case scenario that was going through some of our heads, but still will need looking at. We’ll get a better idea about the extent of the injury tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Terry Francona needed to figure out how to get the final 16 outs of the game with the bullpen. Nick Goody gave up a double to Evan Longoria to get the Rays to within two runs, but didn’t give up any further damage.
(oh yeah, Abe Almonte injured his bicep again on a check swing in the bottom of the fourth inning and had to leave the game. He’s going on the DL tomorrow.)
Things calmed down after that, with Goody, Boone Logan, and Bryan Shaw getting the game into the seventh. Francona then brought in Andrew Miller with one out in the seventh, meaning that Miller and Allen would have to record 8 outs between them. Miller would have no issues finishing off the seventh inning, but ran into trouble in the eighth. He walked Corey Dickerson, then gave up an infield hit to Brad Miller. Then Evan Longoria hit a grounder right at Jose Ramirez, but instead of running to third base and throwing to first, Ramirez tried to start a 6-4-3 double play, but threw to second wildly because of the runner going to third. Jason Kipnis made a nice catch to prevent the ball from heading into center field, but couldn’t turn the double play. The runner of third would later head home of a sacrifice fly, cutting the lead to 7-6.
Thank goodness Francisco Lindor went deep in the bottom of the eighth, for Cody Allen would give up a run of his own, a two-out home run off the bat of Peter Bourjos(!). But that would be the only base runner Allen would allow, for he would induce Derek Norris to pop out to end the game.
So despite Carlos Carrasco leaving the game in the fourth inning, despite both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen giving up a run, the Indians pulled it out. A lot of things went wrong tonight, but the Indians still won, which is all tomorrow’s standings will indicate.
Oh, and there was this bit of amusement after Francisco Lindor caught a popup on Jason Kipnis’ side of second base: