Let me just start by saying “you’re welcome.”
My kingdom for a Frankie walk-off grand slam— Let's Go Tribe (@LetsGoTribe) September 20, 2018
Did I technically call a walk-off grand slam literally seconds before it happened? Yes. Did I prematurely assume Kipnis would walk or pop out and give Francisco Lindor a chance to bat and redeem an early defensive miscue by crushing a ball 400 feet to the elation of countless Indians fans everywhere?
If you ask me it still counts either way.
There was baseball today. Let’s start with the defense.
On the plus side, Josh Donaldson was dazzling multiple times. I’m not a smart man who writes these things down as he’s going through the game, but I vividly remember who great plays by Donaldson, and according to the FanGraphs play log, Ryan Cordell grounded out to third base twice tonight — once in the third and once in the seventh. He was the only White Sox batter to do it, and I’m assuming he’s going home to throw darts at a picture of Donaldson’s face as we speak.
Here’s video proof of the first gem, with a nice little play on words from the official Indians account.
That’s... about the end of the good? Francisco Lindor missed a routine-as-routine-gets ball behind second base, Jose Ramirez booted a ball into the outfield, and Jason Kipnis had a hard time handling a ball that Sports Time Ohio just sort of glanced over and never mentioned.
But forget all that. Did you see that dinger?
Overshadowing Carlos Carrasco’s outstanding performance (11 K, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 H, 6.2 IP) — that was almost wasted by a dead offense, mind you — was Jason Kipnis saving us all a lot of heartache and bad takes over the next 20 hours with a monster grand slam that gave the Tribe a 4-1 lead and put them in position to sweep the Sox with another win tomorrow.
It’s more than about that one play, though. You can’t forget Josh Donaldson barely legging out a swinging bunt single that he should have had safe by a mile. Or maybe you can ignore it if it worries you seeing him be that slow running to first after all his leg issues this season.
There’s also Rajai Davis wreaking havoc on the bases without even stealing one. He was deep undercover in pitcher Caleb Frare’s head, as well as the defender who tried to drift over to cover second when he looked like he was going to steal a base. Instead, Rajai slammed the brakes and Yandy Diaz hammered a ground ball (as only he can) right into the vacant area that Rajai’s deception created. It’s hard to say if Rajai did that on purpose to draw the runner over (probably not), but the way it all worked in harmony was amazing to watch.
Then I blacked out for a couple at-bats and suddenly Kipnis was up to bat and you know the rest.
As per usual, the Indians tweeted out the salami with Tom Hamilton’s call as soon as they were able to splice it together, but I think this is one time where I have to go with Matt Underwood’s call. Hamilton’s is the classic “a-swing and a drive, awaaaay back,” which is great, but I really enjoy Underwood’s simplicity in his call and the rhythm of it.
Exactly 1,000 hits after he walked off the Angels with his first career base knock back in July 2011 — and as he’s done numerous times in his seven years in Cleveland — Jason Kipnis helped the Indians win a baseball game. It doesn’t get any better than that.