Player of the Game
In a competition of relievers, Nick Hagadone (2.56 POG score) takes the cake with two innings pitched as he allowed just two walks and no hits or runs. The lefty struck out three as well and just barely edged out Bryan Shaw (2.51 POG), who struck out four in 1.1 innings. It is Hagadone's first award of the season and just the second won by any relief pitcher in 2013.
Cody Allen was phenomenal, throwing two more innings than he should ever have had to. In three innings, he struck out six and allowed no earned runs of his own, although he did allow his three inherited runners to score. The fact that he was needed in the second inning is a "Feathers Down."
In a similar vein, Nick Hagadone was also excellent, coming in for relief of Allen. He threw two innings and showed that he has no trouble getting out hitters on either side of the plate. In fact, he struck out the last two batters to end the sixth inning, both right handers, looking. Hagadone allowed no hits or runs while striking out three.
In conjunction with the things already said about the effort by the bullpen in long relief here is an interesting stat. In the second inning, the Red Sox outscored the Indians 7-1, but in the other 8 innings the Indians held the advantage at 1-0. This is further testament to the ability of the Indians pitching and defense to concentrate and keep the game close, even if the offense can't hold up it's end of the bargain.
Ubaldo Jimenez looks exactly like he did last year and his ability to switch from looking like the best pitcher ever to the worst at a moments notice is second to none. After a great opening start, Jimenez has floundered, giving up 14 runs in his last six innings. Tonight, he threw a perfect first inning before walking in two runs in the second, part of a five walk, two hit, seven run inning. He was unable to make it out of that second, ending a streak of three straight pitchers to throw at least six innings.
The Indians had a chance to come back (thanks to a magnificent effort by the bullpen) in the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with one out for Carlos Santana. Prior to today, Santana had been the Indians best hitter and, down six runs, this was the Indians best chance to get back into the game. Santana struck out, after which Ryan Raburn scored from third on a wild pitch. Mark Reynolds ended the inning with a fly out down the right field line, but the pivotal at bat was Santana's inability to hit even a sacrifice fly.
Boston deserves a lot of credit for their defense. Coming into the game they were second in the league in fielding percent, so everyone knew they were solid and they continued that throughout the game. While there weren't really any fantastic individual plays, there were quite a few difficult plays that the Red Sox made without any trouble. Their outfield deserves special recognition as they play extremely well as a unit.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 2 – Boston Red Sox 7