They said it on the broadcast this afternoon, but in case you didn’t know, the Indians have been pretty good for the past few weeks. Since the calendar flipped to June, the Tribe was 12-6 coming into today’s game. This record is also known as “the best record in MLB in the month of June”. Now, we can add a thirteenth mark in the W column thanks to a stellar outing by Aaron Civale and some timely offense.
Welcome to the show, Aaron
It helped that Aaron Civale got to make his MLB debut against one of the worst hitting teams in baseball, but the Detroit Tigers are still a major league team. And for six innings, Civale silenced this major league team. He was laser-like in his command of the strike zone at times, collecting six strikeouts in as many innings. There were a few instances that he lost the strike zone for a bit (three walks), but when he gave up just two hits, it’s hard to complain about the results. The game started with three strikeouts in the top of the first (two swinging, one looking). His two-seam was dancing all over the zone and his four seam got up to around 93-94 mph. Over the next five innings, he was never really in any danger. A runner reached second base just twice during his outing. Civale was in the top-30 Cleveland prospects coming into tonight’s game, and it’s looking like he’s going to be a guy to watch closely as the season unfolds.
The timely offense
The Indians were not the offensive juggernaut that we’ve seen so far this month. But they didn’t need to be with Civale & Co.’s pitching performance. They were able to do just enough in just the right places to get a couple of runs and the win. The first run came in the second inning. After Jason “New Hands” Kipnis singled up the middle to leadoff the inning, José Ramírez roped a ball into the right field corner. The Hamster hustled around the bases and ended up a third on a sliding triple. Unfortunately, the helmet stayed on. But every success by Ramírez and Kipnis seems to be compounding on one another, and if those two can continue to find ways to produce, the Indians may be in business after all this season.
The second and final run of the game came when Oscar Mercado blooped a floater into center field that fell between three Tiger fielders. Mercado got a pair of hits today and his batting average (if you’re into that sort of thing) is up to .311. Not a bad guy to have in the No. 2spot in your lineup.
A few tids for your bits
- Tyler Naquin made a fantastic, athletic catch out in right field that would’ve surely been disastrous had he timed the dive incorrectly. Thankfully he didn’t and JaCoby Jones was sent back to the dugout to start the sixth.
- If there’s one area that the Indians looked poor in today, it was on the base paths. By my count, there were three TOOTBLANs in the first two innings. I’m sure there may have been more, but it was an ugly sight at times.
- Brad Hand had an uncharacteristically tough game. After retiring Brandon Dixon to start the ninth, back to back singles by Niko Goodrum and Ronny Rodriguez put the tying run on base and the go-ahead run at the plate. Thankfully, Hand found his form and struck out the next two hitters to end the game.
The Tribe is in a position to sweep if they can nab a win tomorrow. Zach Plesac, another exciting Tribe rookie, takes the mound tomorrow against Daniel Norris in day baseball.