The return of Danny Salazar to the rotation was supposed to be a triumphant occasion. Instead, the Indians found themselves utilizing their bullpen for 8.1 innings in Tuesday night’s match against the Chicago White Sox in what could have been the first loss since August 23. Thankfully, the Indians have one of the best bullpens in baseball and the combination of Nick Goody, Dan Otero, Zach McAllister, Joe Smith, Tyler Olson, Bryan Shaw, and Sean Armstrong shut the Sox down for almost 9 innings while striking out 9 and walking 3.
As tonight’s game dwindled towards conclusion, I told my girlfriend that it would be better if Danny Salazar just sucked tonight instead of being injured. Being terrible can be remedied, but injuries are a much more fickle matter. After scouring the Twitterverse, I cannot seem to find a report of any injury to Danny Salazar, which leads me to believe that he just plain stunk this evening. The Dzar lasted just 0.2 innings and gave up one hit. That hit, however, was a 3-run home run to Matt Davidson which put the White Sox in front by a score of 4-3 after one inning. The deficit was just one run thanks to back to back home runs by Jose Ramirez and Austin Jackson in the top half of the first as well as a ground out by Brandon Guyer.
The Indians would tie the game in the very next inning on another home run by Jose Ramirez. Player of the Week honors was apparently not good enough for the Angry Hamster as he seems poised to earn the monthly honor at the end of September.
In the top of the third inning, rookie Greg Allen lined a scorcher over third base that rolled into left field, allowing Brandon Guyer and Yan Gomes to score. Allen got himself caught in a pickle to end the inning, but his hit put the Tribe on top where they would remain for the remainder of the game. Allen was also superb in the field, flashing his range and athleticism in the fourth inning by catching a ball in right center field before crashing into the wall.
To seal the deal, Yan Gomes blasted a three-run home run to the bullpen in left field in the top of the ninth inning to put the game well out of reach. Sean Armstrong pitched a fairly uneventful ninth inning (save a wild pitch) to lock down the Indians’ thirteenth straight victory. With tonight’s win, the Indians have secured their fifth consecutive winning season. They are now 11 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins and the AL Central is virtually theirs. Now only three games back in the loss column of the Houston Astros, thte Cleveland Indians have a legitimate shot to take home field advantage as the best team in the American League. It’s shaping up to be an exciting September.