The Cleveland Indians bludgeoned the Minnesota Twins this afternoon and earned their 100th win this season. What started as a pitchers duel transformed into the typical dominant baseball we’ve come to expect from the Tribe. They scored in each of their last three innings on home runs. A random triple in the top of the 9th spoiled a shutout, but the bullpen still cleaned up the remnants of a masterful start by Carlos Carrasco to complete the victory.
And yes, let’s take a moment to discuss Carrasco. He pitched 8.1 innings today, striking out 14 hitters, walking 1, and allowing 6 hits. That’s good for a game score of 90. In other words, it is tied for the sixth-best start by any pitcher in all of Major League Baseball this season. Only Edison Volquez, Dylan Bundy, Ervin Santana, and Poor Rich Hill had better outings. The last start of the season certainly isn’t a bad time to put up your best one.
Since he will not pitch again in the regular season, we can now take a look at his year on the whole:
200 IP, 226 SO, 1.10 WHIP, 3.29 ERA, and an fWAR north of 5.0, which is where it sat coming into today. Depending on other pitcher’s outings the rest of the way, he may join Corey Kluber as one of the top five pitchers by that stat in all of baseball. If pitching wins championships, then the Indians will enter this postseason much more prepared than last year.
Delightful. What about the offense today?
Is it true that our “new” center fielder hit a bomb?
It’s true. Jason Kipnis connected on a Trevor Hildenberger pitch in the 6th inning to break the 0-0 tie. He continues to hit well since returning, though there are indications that he is not going to impress anyone defensively. That’s fine by me; peak Kipnis at the plate more than overcomes pitiful Kipnis in the field.
The rest of the team continued a recent trend of three players driving the bulk of the offense. Other scores came courtesy of a Roberto Perez shot in the 7th, and a Jay Bruuuuuuuuuuuuce homer in the 8th. Plenty of players contributed with hits, but Kipnis, Bruce, and Perez were responsible for all five runs batted-in on the afternoon.
I think one of the most encouraging things is that it’s always different players stepping up. At times during the season the team relied on one or two players getting hot to pull them through a victory. Since the end of July, it feels that any given night, somebody is going to explode.
Is every single comment in this recap going to turn blue?
They had better.
Other items of note
- Lonald Q. Beisbol started for the first time in quite a while today. He slapped a double and drew a walk before being replaced by Greg Allen. Allen also pitched in with a hit.
- Not that I expected him to make the playoff roster, but Tyler Naquin vociferously demanded that he be left off it by making a terrible read on the run-scoring triple by the Twins in the ninth. It was clear that the ball was over his head and probably going to hit the wall; Naquin kept running toward the wall and looked surprised when it bounced off rather than sticking to it.
- Ervin Santana left after the 5th inning on 57 pitches, but he is not injured. The Twins used today’s game as a tune up for the upcoming AL Wild Card game.
- Is Slider the coolest mascot in baseball? Probably:
I guess the only real competition would be the Tribe hot dogs.
- Is Roberto Perez the X-Factor for the Indians playoffs hopes? Is this a tease for an article I’m posting tomorrow? Maybe.
The Indians go for 101 tomorrow against the White Sox, who are hilariously bad this season. I wouldn’t expect to see Francisco Mejia and Greg Allen start; the Magic Number for home field throughout the pennant race is two. We’ll see what the Astros do later today against Boston, who can still lose the AL East oh god that would be hilarious. If not, they might end up playing nine consecutive games against each other; the would play each other in the first round of the playoffs, too.