Last night’s game was set to be an easy victory and it quickly turned into a nail biter. The Indians snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in extra innings. Today, instead of leaving any chance for a late inning implosion, the offense put up 16 runs en route to their dominating 16-3 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Carlos Carrasco settles in
Cookie hasn’t looked consistently like his dominant self in 2018. There have been moments of greatness (he does, after all, have two shutouts this year), but they have been interrupted by moments of unfortunate ugliness. Pair that with the fact that he was hit yet again with a lien drive in the first half of the season, and the year hasn’t been what Carlos Carrasco hoped for. Tonight, however, he started off his second half of the season on a strong note with 6.2 solid innings of work. At one point, he sat down 11 hitters in a row with a strong mix of fastballs and offspeed pitches. The highlight was the third inning when Carrasco needed just ten pitches to get through the inning, which included two strikeouts. He got into a bit of trouble in the seventh when Adrian Beltre hit a two-run shot to right center field, but it hardly mattered. All in all, Cookie showed that he’s back on the right track after his first half injury and will play a key role for the Indians come October (perhaps out of the bullpen?).
The offense shifts into MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE
Bartolo Colon was cruising for a while. Despite a Francisco Lindor double to lead off the game, there wasn’t a real offensive threat for the first four innings of play. Even when Jason Kipnis and Melky Cabrera were on first and second with 1 out in the 2nd inning, a fly out by Yan Gomes and a ground out by Tyler Naquin ended the threat prematurely. Those two outs started a string of eight in a row retired by Colon, who somehow continues to be an effective major league starter at the age of 45.
Then the fifth inning happened.
From the fifth inning onward, the Cleveland Indians would score a run in every remaining inning. The fifth started out with Melky Cabrera’s second hit on the night, a double to right field. Yan Gomes then singled Cabrera in for the first run of the game. A Francisco Lindor double and a Michael Brantley single plated two more runs. Jose Ramirez then drove in another by smacking a ball off of Jurickson Profar that bounced to Joey Gallo, who misplayed the ball. Ramirez, the ever aggressive hamster that he is, tried to stretch his luck but was thrown out at third. Of course, Edwin Encarnacion would then double, as is tradition after a TOOTBLAN. Yonder Alonso capped the scoring in that inning with his first home run on the day. When all was said and done, the Indians entered the bottom half of the inning with a 6-0 lead, which ended up being enough for the victory. But the Tribe wasn’t done yet.
In the sixth inning, Yan Gomes was beaned and subsequently scored on a Tyler Naquin home run. Michael Brantley then walked and Jose Ramirez, angry that he was thrown out at third in his previous baserunning attempt, decided to just hit a triple this time. Another three runs tacked on for the good guys.
The seventh inning was boring because it only featured Yonder Alonso’s second home run of the game. The next three Indians all got out. #RallyKiller
The eighth was fun because two singles and another double from Encarnacion plated two more runs, putting the Tribe up 12-2. In Little League, this is what is known as the “10 run rule”, and it entitles you to end the game early and get to your free snow cone earlier than normal. Unfortunately, because this is the majors, the Indians played for one more half inning. And it was exciting.
After the Rangers made their spring training-like defensive switches, the Indians got to work. Melky Cabrera tallied his third hit of the day (a double) and then scored on Tyler Naquin’s second hit. Yandy Diaz continued his hitting ways and singled on the first pitch he saw, which allowed him and Naquin to score on Brandon Guyer’s second hit. The final run of the inning was scored when Erik Gonzalez got his second hit of the game (a double).
All in all, a monstrous showing by the Cleveland offense. My only worry is that today’s excellence by Melky Cabrera will buy him some more time on the big league club. While I appreciate his contributions today, I don’t believe that they will continue with such frequency, and I wager that he will be an offensive hindrance more often than not. But today, ya done good, Melkman.
Mike Clevinger and the Tribe go for the sweep in day baseball tomorrow at 3:05 p.m.. I can only assume that the field will be actual molten lava.