Justin Masterson did it again, further establishing himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the American League by pitching another 7 innings and only allowing one run. Masterson did allow 9 hits, but the defense behind him turned three double plays and only one of the hits was for extra bases. He won his third ‘Player of the Game’ of the season with a score of 5.23. It would have been nice to tack on another win for the big guy, but the Indians offense was nonexistent tonight.
Shin-Soo Choo threw out his 5th base runner of the season today, tying him for the AL lead in outfield assists. Not only did he throw out a runner at third (the longest possible distance to throw from right field) with a perfect throw, but he also delayed the end of the game by one batter when a single was hit to right with a runner on second in the 12th. The Angels won anyway, but were at least stopped for the moment as their fear of Choo would not let them risk sending the runner home.
The bullpen stood up and pitched something ridiculous the past two games. Both games went deep into extra innings and the bullpen was forced to pitch 9.2+ innings in the span of two games. The pen as a whole gave up only 3 runs in what amounted to an entire game. Vinnie Pestano, Rafael Perez and Joe Smith each pitched in both games and all were as good or better in the second game compared to the first. Pestano did blow the save yesterday and Chris Perez gave up a run, but it didn’t matter since the Tribe won anyway. Tonight Justin Germano gave up the game winning run on 4 straight singles (including a ground-rule single to end the game), but you can hardly blame him as he hasn’t been allowed to pitch since April 28th, over a week ago. No pitcher can expect to stay sharp when he doesn’t get to pitch in a game for a week.
Justin Masterson had some bad luck today, leading to him giving up 9 hits. As a ground ball pitcher, Masterson is extremely dependent on the fielding of his infielders and the luck of where the ground balls are hit. Tonight things did not go his way, and he gave up 5 infield singles out of the 8 total singles allowed.
Its really hard to win when you don’t score, even with the dominant pitching performances that have been turned in of late by Masterson and Tomlin. For some reason the Indians offensive juggernaut that has destroyed every pitcher to take the mound in Progressive field, turns into a bunch of Pete Rose style slap single hitters on the road. Right now the Indians have played 16 games on the road and 15 at home. In Cleveland, the Indians are scoring a very impressive 6.2 runs per game, but on the road they only have managed 3.9 runs per game. Progressive Field has never really been known as a hitters park, especially this early in the season, but there is something there that is bringing out the Tribe bats. If any further evidence is needed, the Indians have hit 27 home runs at home and only 7 on the road. They are yet to hit a homer on the current road trip. While the Indians have faced tough pitching, especially in Oakland and Anaheim, the pitchers in Seattle, Kansas City and Minnesota were mostly AAAA scrubs.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 1, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California Angels 2