Player of the Game
Matt LaPorta just edged out Justin Masterson to win his second player of the game in 2011. LaPorta earned a ‘Player of the Game’ score of 4.86 by hitting two doubles and a sacrifice fly to knock in three runs. The two run double he hit in the second inning tied the game and the sacrifice fly gave the Indians an insurance run after Shelley Duncan scored to take the lead. The Indians ended up needing that run as Chris Perez gave one up in the ninth. Justin Masterson would probably have won had he finished the 8th inning, but as it was he scored a 4.55. Masterson and Tuesday’s starter, Josh Tomlin (and Alex White, but he’s only pitched one game) are the only Indians yet to have a negative game in 2011.
The Indians sweep again, making it the 5th sweep of the season, more then they had in the entirety of 2010. Most importantly two of the sweeps have come against Central Division foes, both in this last home stand, the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers. The Indians have won 6 in a row and every game at home since game 2 against the White Sox.
Justin Masterson has firmly established himself as the Indians new ace. Although Fausto Carmona may still have the title, it is in name only, as Masterson has mowed down the opposition every chance he has had. Today, Masterson pitched 7 innings and only allowed 2 earned runs, one of which was given up by Rafael Perez. Masterson struck out 7 and only walked 2. He now has a 2.25 ERA and is 5-0 on the season. So far the starting pitchers in Indians losses have been as follows; Carmona, Carlos Carrasco, Carmona, Carrasco, Jeanmar Gomez, Josh Tomin, Carmona, Carrasco. There’s only one pitcher who has been on the team all year who’s name isn’t on that list and that pitcher is Justin Masterson.
If Matt LaPorta keeps this up, I’ll have to stop calling him “Hero” sarcastically and start calling him that for real. LaPorta owned Tiger pitching this series and was an integral part of the Indians sweep. His performance today was already mentioned, but he also hit a single and a double yesterday and a home run in the first game of the series. While it used to seem that all his hits came at unimportant times, this series every hit has been clutch. Every game of this series came down to the ninth inning and the only reason the first game wasn’t a one run win, was because Carlos Santana hit a grand slam instead of a single. Without Matt LaPorta, this series could have ended a lot differently.
Matt LaPorta messed up once today as well, and since nothing too bad happened in today’s game I’ll make a note of it here. On a pop fly hit in front of the plate, Carlos Santana called for the ball, but the wind pushed it out of his range and it fell for a single. Matt LaPorta or Justin Masterson could have easily caught this ball, as it was about ten feet in front and to the right of the mound, but they let the guy with the padded glove and all the equipment on go for it. Rick Manning and Matt Underwood blamed LaPorta for not calling Santana off, but I think it was Masterson’s fault as much as anyone else. There is a reason the pitcher wears a glove on the field. Move ten feet, catch the ball and help yourself out next time.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 5 runs on 8 hits, Detroit Tigers 4 runs on 10 hits.