At times tonight, you’d never have guessed that the Indians played on the road against the Angels. Much of the crowd backed the Indians in tonight’s 6-2 victory in Anaheim. The majority of those came out to watch hometown hero Shane Bieber carve up the home team. They even started a “Let’s Go Bieber” chant as he worked his way through the seventh inning! You could hear in on the broadcast, but our own Tyler Griffith caught a great clip of it from the stands.
Bieber pitched with support from the offense all night.
Francisco Lindor walked and moved to second when Oscar Mercado singled in the first. From the three hole, Yasiel Puig poked a good changeup off of the end of his bat. It rolled down the first base line, waved at a lumbering Albert Pujols, and continued its journey into right field. Lindor scored and Mercado scampered to third. In another time, Pujols would have fielded that ball with ease and scooted to first to convert the out. Father Time remains undefeated and added that RBI to his unaccountable total tonight.
A walk contributed to some more runs in the second inning, too. Franmil Reyes laid off of a high fastball to gain free admission to first base. Sandoval tried to sneak a four-seamer past the next hitter, Jason Kipnis. He left it over the middle of the plate, so Kipnis left it over the center field wall.
The Indians piled on more when Yu Chang blasted his first career home run in the top of the sixth. This one can safely be filed away as a no-doubter, settling itself into the right-center field bleachers 432 feet away. Somewhere, Pooh Bear is smiling.
Even without an outpouring of offense from the Cy Young candidate (Yeah I’m saying it fight me why don’t you) it’s likely that Bieber would still have earned a win.
Bieber commanded the zone and worked his way out of rare troublesome pockets. Although ... speaking of Father Time, Pujols did defy Him by knocking a solo shot off of Bieber. That will happen when you leave one up against one of the greatest hitters in history. If I’m Bieber, though ... it’s got to be kind of cool to be able to say, “Yeah, I screwed one up against Pujols and he crushed it. Right in front of my family.”
Not that anyone wants to miss a pitch and give up a dinger, but it might as well be to a future first-ballot guy. Pujols nearly took him deep again in the sixth, but Mercado ranged to right center and stretched out for a catch on the warning track. He doesn’t seem to be feeling any ill effects from colliding with Puig last night.
Carlos Carrasco came in to pitch the eighth. He continues to struggle a little bit as he transitions to the bullpen and also battles leukemia. I have no quarrel with him at all, and it was nice to see him get some low-leverage work tonight to continue his journey back. Did he give up a random solo home run to someone I’ve never heard of? Yes, but he also struck out two and showed a nice slider tonight.
In times of Tid, there must be a bit of Tribe
- As expected, Andrelton Simmons made three excellent plays tonight. Lindor spins a ton of web gems but its tough to watch Simmons and work and not quietly acquiesce that he’s still the best glove at short in the game. Other players (like Paul DeJong) manage to have a great season in the midst of a noisy career, but Simmons just keeps on wizarding.
- Charlie Nagy helped the OoOoOoOoOold Rosebud out with the radio call tonight. He settled in and seemed to get his bearing as the game went on, and I think it’s going to be fun to listen to him for the rest of the series. There were some odd moments, like when Nagy read the ads. Or, when Rosenhaus prodded him to explain why Tyler Clippard can be effective with an 88 MPH fastball. “Cause he’s got a great changeup,” Nagy said, and silence filled the booth for six or seven seconds or so until Rosie segued with something like “A master at mixing his pitches, Clippard. Here’s the 3-2 ...”
- Greg Allen, Kipnis, and Roberto Pérez all earned two hits tonight. Chang and Puig mixed a walk with a hit to reach twice. Overall, there was a nice distribution from the lineup.
With tonight’s win the Indians inched a little bit closer to each of its postseason competitors. They’re a game back in the loss column from both Oakland and Tampa Bay.