Well, José Ramírez is back, without a moment to spare.
Fresh off a month-long stint on the IL, Ramírez crushed a first inning grand slam in his first at-bat since August 24, leading the way for a 11-0 drubbing of the Chicago White Sox to help the Cleveland Indians keep pace with the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild card chase.
It’s a small miracle that Ramírez is even back in the lineup so soon after having surgery to repair a fractured right hamate bone, and more than a few Tribe fans were understandably skeptical that he’d be able to pick up where he left off. Fortunately, the White Sox were kind enough to welcome him back by serving up not one but two home run pitches.
The first came in the first inning, after the Indians had loaded the bases with two outs. White Sox opener Carson Fulmer didn’t last long, exiting soon after surrendering a grand slam to Ramírez to spot the Tribe a 4-0 lead. Ramírez’s second homer of the night was a three-run shot in the third inning, his second at-bat of the game. Both home run pitches were four-seam fastballs.
Ramírez was responsible for seven of the Indians’ eleven runs on the night.
Not to be outdone, Roberto Pérez and Oscar Mercado contributed home runs of their own. Pérez’s was a solo shot in the second, whereas Mercado deposited a three-run homer into the left field bleachers in the fifth inning. The Indians’ center fielder has been red hot in the month of September, coming into this game slashing .325/.393/.584 with six doubles and four home runs over that span. Mercado’s strong finish to his rookie season has certainly been a boon to a ball club in the midst of a postseason push.
Mike Clevinger took the mound for the Tribe and was on cruise control for much of the game. He posted seven shutout innings — regardless of whether the Indians needed him to, with the lopsided score — and struck out 10, allowing only a handful of hits.
With that said, no one had a better night than this guy: