Player of the Game
Justin Masterson was dominant again today against the Mariners, striking out 11 in seven shut out innings. Masterson was never really in trouble and allowed just six base runners while recording the win. It is his third straight start that he has won the Player of the Game and his team leading sixth overall. His POG score of 9.79 is the best score since his last start (11.14) and the fifth best score of the year.
In what has become a recurring theme with the Indians this year (as expected), speed kills. Michael Bourn lead off the bottom of the first with a line drive to the outfield and took advantage of a lazy play by right fielder Michael Morse to take second on what should have been a single. Michael Brantley then singled and scored Bourn from second easily and getting to second himself in the process. Brantley then used his above average speed to score from second on an error by first baseman Justin Smoak.
Another example of Bourn's speed came an inning later when he beat out an infield single hit straight to second. This play allowed the inning to continue, which was a very good thing for the Tribe. After Jason Kipnis singled, Michael Brantley hit a three run home run that rocked King Felix's world.
If you need another example of speed/very aggressive base running, just look to the fourth inning. After a Mike Aviles double, Drew Stubbs grounded out to the catcher. When Aviles saw the catcher leave the plate to field the ball, he ran home and scored from second on a ball that didn't travel more than 20 feet from the plate. The Indians knew they were facing one of the best pitchers in the league and a former Cy Young winner in Hernandez, so they were working hard to score every run they could. They were much more successful than they would have expected, scoring six runs in four innings playing small ball against a pitcher who came into the game with an ERA below 2.00. Most impressively, Felix Hernandez is the seventh (of eight) former Cy Young award winner that the Indians have beaten in 2013.
For the first time in years, Indians starting pitchers have started striking batters out with regularity. The two most adept at doing so, Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez, have now struck out 52 batters in their past six starts (8.67 K/G).
The Indians kept David Huff on the roster instead of Nick Hagadone when Vinnie Pestano was recalled, but he has been completely unutilized out of the pen. Today would have been a perfect game to get him some innings, but instead, Rich Hill was used for the third time in the series. In the first two games against Seattle, Hill pitched two innings, blowing a save and allowing a home run and a double. In addition to Huff, who hasn't been used since May 13th, Joe Smith (who pitched today) and Matt Albers had been kept out of this series.
Carlos Santana may be working on a little bit of a slump. No one expected Santana to maintain an average near .400 as he did during the first month of the season, but as the rest of the team has heated up, he has cooled down. He is hitless in the past two games (going 0-8). This comes after a streak where he reached base at least once in 18 of his previous 19 games.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 6 – Seattle Mariners 0