Unimportant Roster Update: The Indians traded J.C. Romero to the Baltimore Orioles after signing him recently to pitch for Columbus. He had signed a short term contract allowing him to request his release on Wednesday, but the Orioles decided they couldn’t wait. In return, the Indians picked up Carlos Rojas, a career minor leaguer hitting .226 across AA and AAA so far this year. The Orioles are desparate for relief help right now and the Indians were going to lose him anyway, so it doesn’t really matter that they got nothing in return.
Player of the Game
When he’s good, he’s really good and Justin Masterson was good again tonight. For his second start in a row he threw into the seventh and won the Player of the Game. This time he didn’t allow a single run or extra base hit and struck out four. His defense also recorded three double plays behind him to keep his baserunners to a minimum. He had a final Player of the Game score of 6.70, good for his team leading 12th award of the season. As a huge catalyst of the Indians offense tonight, Brent Lillibridge earned a season high 5.32 points and came in second.
The Indians really stepped up their defensive game tonight and were even helped out a bit by the umpires. Asdrubal Cabrera made two fantastic plays against consecutive batters and Brent Lillibridge had another good snag. The umpire aid came on a double play that shouldn’t have been. Casey Kotchman dropped a line drive and tagged first for the force. He then threw to second and the runner beat the throw back to first, but was called out. Mike Scioscia argued, but to no avail.
Lilly Time continued tonight as Brent Lillibridge hit his second home run of the year. The blast brought his batting average with Cleveland up to .289, the highest he has had with any team over his career. He now has more home runs and RBI with the Indians in 13 games than he had in his 59 previous games with Chicago and Boston. He also added three runs scored today, giving him 9 already with the Tribe.
Ezequiel Carrera came in, got a single and scored after being used as a late inning defensive replacement for Shelley Duncan. He has had either a hit, run or RBI in every game he has played in this year except one. While he has played in every game since being called up, he is still not starting as he should be. Tonight he could have been used in the starting lineup if Manny Acta had benched Casey Kotchman against the left hander (like he usually does) used Carlos Santana at first and DH’d Duncan.
Jason Kipnis made his return from his sore neck in the 9th inning as a pinch hitter in tonight’s game. He had taken batting practice prior to the game but was held out against a tough left hander. Kipnis hit a sacrifice fly to deep center in his only at bat.
Milestone Alert: Chris Perez’s 100th career save was also his 32nd of the season, tying him for 10th all-time as an Indian in a single season with Doug Jones and Bob Wickman. Perez is just 14 saves from the record that Jose Mesa set in 1995.
The unhittable Vinnie Pestano gave up just his third home run of the season tonight to Albert Pujols, ending his month and a half (21 inning) long run of scoreless outings (no runs allowed since 6/28). The home run allowed to Pujols should not be considered a negative to Pestano as there are no pitchers immune to his power, however the walk before the home run is reason for blame. Pestano knows he can’t walk hitters (and he usually doesn’t) especially those that bat in front of Albert Pujols.
Manny Acta allowed stats to determine his pitching moves, which is usually a mistake. When the Indians increased their lead to four runs in the 9th, Acta decided to go with Esmil Rogers instead of Chris Perez in the bottom of the inning. Rogers came in and immediately gave up two hits, forcing Acta to bring in Perez anyway. The way the Indians have played of late they should be much more worried about getting the win than someone getting a save.
Play of the Game
Plays like this are why Asdrubal Cabrera will eventually win a Golden Glove, as soon as he stops making errors on very easy plays. This play came one play after another bare handed grab. This play is definitely in the running for defensive play of the year.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 6 – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2