Player of the Game
It was Lilly Time tonight as Brent Lillibridge stole the show. Lillibridge started with a homerun and added on a single and a hustle double. He knocked in two and scored two while recording each of the Indians first three hits. He also made a couple slick defensive plays, although he did make one mistake that lead to a couple runs. Of course that was nice, but the Player of the Game was Zach McAllister who threw a career high 8 innings and struck out four. McAllister just gave up two runs, which could have been unearned if there had been a different scoring decision (the error still would have been his own). He only allowed three hits all game, all of which were doubles. His final score was 6.40 while Lillbridge pulled a paltry 6.08. The last time an Indians player had a Player of the Game score over six was Travis Hafner six games ago and two players did it tonight.
Gaylord Perry was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame prior to the game today. His All-Time Indians profile can be found here. Jack Graney was also inducted into the non-uniform Hall of Fame. His ATI profile can be found here. Indians long time athletic trainer, Jim Warfield, was also inducted.
Brent Lillibridge hit his first home run of the season tonight as he was the only hitter able to figure out Franklin Morales. Lillibridge is playing at his best so far with the Tribe. He currently has a batting average of .310 after holding a career average of .218 and a season average of .181 prior to today. This can partially be explained by a BABIP of .316 while with the Indians, the second highest of his career. The good news for the Indians is that this isn’t an unsustainable BABIP and it is more likely that he has been unlucky in past seasons.
When you can’t hit, you have to do something else to score runs and the Indians did that by taking advantage of a walk and a hit batter to take the lead in the sixth inning. After Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo reached base, they had a double steal, forcing the Red Sox to intentionally walk Carlos Santana, basically getting a free base runner and bringing a more consistent hitter to the plate. Brantley hit a sacrifice fly to score Cabrera, giving the Indians three runs on two hits.
The Indians scored single runs in five separate innings tonight. This is a great sign of an improving (and improvising) offense, but is not very efficient. It is much easier to score five runs in one to two innings than it is to score in five different innings.
Jason Kipnis is being held out of his third straight game with a sore neck. Kipnis is the last player the Indians wanted to go down at this point and there has been little news on his progress and imminent return to the lineup.
A couple mental mistakes lead to two Boston runs in fourth after Jacoby Ellsbury lead off with a double. Instead of taking the sure out at first on an attempted sacrifice bunt, Zach McAllister looked to third and was too late to get Carl Crawford at first. Dustin Pedroia was then also safe at first on a grounder to third as Brent Lillibridge fielded it and looked to throw to third, but there was no one covering. Adrian Gonzalez then hit a bases clearing double. Luckily for the Indians, the last runner that was cleared was thrown out at home by a great throw from Shelley Duncan.
Play of the Game
Michael Brantley and Brent Lillibridge combined to make a great out at third base as Jacoby Ellsbury tried to turn a single into a double. Brantley’s strong throw was slightly off base and Lillibridge was forced to dive back to the base to get the out.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 5 – Boston Red Sox 2