The Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox on Labor Day. That’s great. We should always celebrate a Cleveland Indians win.
We’re in that odd part of the season now where all wins are not equal, however. The Minnesota Twins defeated the Detroit Tigers, and so we gained no ground in the AL Central. The Tampa Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles, and so we gained no ground on the Wild Card leaders. The Oakland A’s did not play today, and so we gained a half game on them.
We can say that patience led the Indians to victory tonight. The Tribe drew six walks off of Ross Detwiler alone, using those to propel them to four runs in his two and a third innings pitched. Tito Francona even leaned into a patient approach by easing Jordan Luplow into live baseball; he allowed him to hit only against the lefty starter before inserting Jake Bauers into the game. That decision paid dividends when Bauers homered in the fourth to drive in two.
I just—a normal recap that goes over the happenings of the game tonight as they occurred doesn’t feel like it taps into what matters. Sure, the Indians dunked on a team. They dunked on a bad team upon whom they should be capable of dunking. Many players contributed in delightful ways, and we’ll get to most of them.
I just don’t know what to make of it outside of, “All right, a win. We need a lot more.” It’s not summer anymore in the baseball world. There isn’t any progress upon which we can hang a hope or even a hat. It’s all results and good luck from here. Tonight, we got the result. So did every other team in the pennant race.
Mike Freeman is still a golden god
I don’t understand it anymore than you do. Maybe he has a Philosopher’s Stone in his pocket and uses it judicially. Tonight, he stroked a double to drive in a run and also walked once, coming around to score. Not too shabby for the ninth man in the order and an absolute afterthought when the season opened.
He might be due for the most regressive regression of all time, but that doesn’t change the level of production he’s given the team up to this point.
Aaron Civale pitched fine/well/what are unearned runs worth, really?
Civale finished the game with 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K. The two unearned runs came courtesy of throwing errors; Mike Freeman made one on a double play ball that led to a scored run. Meanwhile, Yasiel Puig made another with no outs that came home on a sacrifice fly. Just based on the official line, sure, Civale looked great. Those unearned runs weren’t quite as... unearned as many can be, though? Both coming on plays when nobody was out they feel slightly more significant than, say, a pitcher forgetting to cover first base on a play that should end the game.
That being said, most are. I’m not here to pick on a rookie pitcher and say that he should have done better. If anything, tonight is another indication that he can be an effective Major League Baseball Pitcher, and even when things go a bit awry he’s able to keep a level head and pitch through it.
Many other baseball players did fine things
There were eighteen total walks in tonight’s game. Eighteen. The Indians took pleasure in ten of those. Yasiel Puig and Yu Chang led the way with two each, while Lindor, Mercado, Luplow, Bauers, Reyes, and as mentioned previously Freeman all joined in on the fun.
Reyes, Roberto Perez, Lindor, and Carlos Santana all notched two hits this evening. One of Santana’s happened to be his 32d home run on the season.
Adam Cimber retired two hitters on three total pitches, which is kinda dope if you forget many of the other times that it felt like he failed to retire two hitters on thirty pitches. He joined Tyler Clippard, Nick Goody, Nick Wittgren, and Hunter Wood in four innings of scoreless relief.
Look, tonight was a great night of Indians baseball. We’re just stuck in this weird place where the rest of our games have to be watched in the context of how it improves our chances at the playoffs. Beating the White Sox was expected, and on a night when all of our adversaries also won, it is hard to celebrate.