Chris Perez was placed on the bereavement list for today’s game so he could deal with a death in the family. Josh Judy was called up in his absence and no interim closer has been named, so we can assume it will be a closer by committee. The best we can hope for is that Chris Antonetti will forget who he brought up for Perez and will release Chad Durbin to open up a roster spot when he returns.
Player of the Game
Justin Masterson won his 7th ‘Player of the Game’ of the year and his 4th in his last 5 games. His ‘POG’ score of 7.67 continues a trend of Indians starters getting back on track to where they were early in the season. Excluding Mitch Talbot and Fausto Carmona who have continued to struggle, the other three pitchers have had a score over one in each of their last 4 appearances (the last 3 for Josh Tomlin) and have averaged 4.81 points per game during that time. Masterson earned his score today by pitching 8 innings and only allowing 4 hits, while picking up a single for himself. The only run he allowed was a solo home run and he struck out 5 batters.
Justin Masterson finally got some run support as the Indians offense saw a bit of a resurgence tonight. Most impressive was the fact that the offense was able to add on to an early lead and was able to hit more than one home run in a road game. Time will tell whether this was just because they are playing in a hitter friendly park in the Great American Ballpark and because they faced Bronson Arroyo, or if it is a real improvement in power hitting.
Not only did Masterson get himself a lead, he got a win as well, and it wasn’t just because of the hitting. He only allowed a single run in 8 innings, and it was on a fantastic pitch that Brandon Phillips was somehow able to turn on. It is Masterson’s first win since April and his sixth on the season. His 8 innings pitched and the large lead allowed the Indians to give the bullpen some much needed rest.
Travis Buck pulled his hamstring on a 2 RBI single. Since I’m a doctor, I can tell you that he probably won’t miss much time, but it will really hurt an already thin outfield. While he may not need to go on the DL, even going one game with another player who is unable to play in the field will be difficult for the Indians and it could necessitate another move of Buck down to AAA.
This will be the first bad thing I’ve ever said about Travis Hafner. It is completely ridiculous that he cannot play a single game at first in an entire season. With Matt LaPorta injured and 9 straight games in National League parks now would be the first time for him to take over a couple starts. Instead, Carlos Santana has been forced to play first almost every game and Lou Marson has had to catch. Marson has now played in 10 of the last 12 games and Santana hasn’t had a game off since May 25th. There is no way it would be harder for Hafner to play first once than it is for Santana and Marson to play that often. It doesn’t matter how his elbow feels as a first baseman rarely has to make more than one or two hard throws a game. If Prince Fielder can play an entire career at first, Pronk can play one game a season. Stop being lazy and get back on the field.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 8 – Cincinnati Reds 2