Pop quiz hot-shot: Who started this game for the Indians? I briefly forgot because it was so inconsequential to the final outcome. Combine 2018 Josh Tomlin with the May Cleveland Indians bullpen and they would still probably have won today with how well the offense pounded the trio of hapless pitchers sent out by the Detroit Tigers.
The Indians offense came alive for 19 hits. That alone is outstanding, but it’s also pretty great that the top four hitters in the lineup combined for 14 of those hits while every starter at least had one. Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Michael Brantley all had three-hit days and only Brantley failed to homer. Jason Kipnis and Edwin Encarnacion each had a pair of hits, and each had a ball leave Progressive Field screaming.
Even with all the homers of the afternoon, the hardest-hit ball was Francisco Lindor’s double in the sixth inning. He scorched it 107.4 miles per hour off the bat. It was one of only two pitches Lindor saw in the at-bat. The first was a low called ball (that was probably a strike) and the second was a pitch juuuuust a bit higher and to the outside edge that was absolutely crushed.
Also featured in this game was the Indians’ sixth grand slam of the season. Courtesty of MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, this is the most salamis the Indians have had in a single season since 2010, when the likes of Travis Hafner and Shin-Soo Choo were hitting bombs. Literally moments before Edwin broke the game wide(r) open, my six-year-old turned to me and said “If he hits a grand slam I’m gonna go crazy.” He hit a grand slam. He went crazy. It was awesome.
One more Encarnacion note: We got to see him slide into second. He is very much not a slider, but he did it, dangit. And it was glorious.
With that, the Indians have now won seven games in a row and they’ve opened up a massive lead in the AL Central. It’s a little early to claim anything is over, but with this division an eight-game lead in late June seems almost a sure thing.
The answer to the first paragraph was, of course, Adam Plutko. He was great over six innings with four strikeouts and no walks.