Player of the Game
Josh Tomlin threw 6.2 innings, only allowing 6 hits and one run to win tonight’s ‘Player of the Game’. Tomlin is coming off 4 straight negative games, so it is great to see him getting back to where he was before that. Prior to those games, Tomlin had been positive every game of the season and won 4 ‘Player of the Game’ awards. Carlos Santana put up a nice effort as well with a home run and two singles, knocking in 2, and his ‘POG’ score of 5.07 would have won in all but one of the last 8 games. Overall, every single Indian had a positive score except for Adam Everett, who was only in the game as an injury replacement. It is the first game in recent memory that only one player was negative.
The Indians had all 9 starting hitters in the lineup tonight for the first time since May 10th. Don’t expect this to last long, however, since Matt LaPorta was injured during the game and will certainly be out tomorrow, probably going on the 15 day DL.
Travis Hafner played well in his first game back, which is not surprising since he has been taking batting practice all week and had multiple hits in both his minor league rehab starts. The best thing that could possibly happen for the Tribe’s offense was the return of Travis Hafner. Pronk went 1 for 3 with a double, a walk and an RBI.
Matt LaPorta’s injury shows the weakest part of the Indians depth chart. While the Indians are stacked in the minor leagues with second basemen, third basemen and outfielders, first basemen are in short supply. Right now the only real options are the return of Shelley Duncan, the resurrection of Nick Johnson or the major league debut of Jared Goedert or Chad Huffman. Every player has negatives, but there isn’t much of a choice if LaPorta does go on the disabled list. Huffman and Goedert are young and first base is not their primary position, Johnson is a complete unknown offensively at this point in his career and Shelley Duncan plays defense like a tree.
On a side note, Jack Hannahan played very well at first in LaPorta’s absence, bringing up the possibility of the Indians bringing up a third baseman rather than a first baseman. The ‘Feathers Down’ in this is that top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall recently went down with a concussion and is now on the disabled list himself.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 5 – Pittsburgh Pirates 1