Player of the Game
Scott Kazmir had his best start to date with the Indians as he won his first player of the game of 2013. Kazmir set a new team high with 10 strike outs in just six innings. He allowed only five hits, four of which were singles, and just a single run on a solo home run by Josh Donaldson. For his effort and the win, his POG score was 6.39. Mark Reynolds had the strongest offensive day with two RBI and two runs scored for a POG score of 5.91.
After a day off, the Indians offense resurfaced today, behind the resurgent Jason Kipnis. The dirt ball started everything off in the first inning with a two run home run, but wasn't alone as Yan Gomes and Drew Stubbs added two more in the second. Mark Reynolds added to the scoring as well, hitting a two run home run, his league leading 11th of the season.
Drew Stubbs' speed makes a big difference in every single game, whether it means tracking down balls easily that others wouldn't get near or running the bases. Today, he went first to third on a Michael Brantley single that barely made it through the right side of the infield. By getting to third safely, he was able to score on a fly ball by Kipnis. In the 8th inning he repeated an event that has become commonplace. He was safe on a ground ball hit directly at an infielder as he outran the throw. The times Stubbs has been able to beat out an infield single or force an error due to his speed are an incalculable bonus for the Indians offense.
Scott Kazmir has progressed significantly in every single start so far in 2013. In his first start, he lucked out by pitching in the Indians biggest outburst of the season, but struggled himself, throwing less than four innings and allowing six runs. In his next start, Kazmir threw five innings and allowed two runs, a much better attempt, but still a loss. His third start saw a vast improvement as he pitched another inning and four more strike outs. Today, he tied his season best in innings pitched and set new marks for strike outs and runs allowed against Oakland. While the early injury was certainly a set back, it now a appears that the Indians made the right choice for their fifth starter.
With the sweep, the Indians improve to 18-14, their high water mark on the season. They finished 8-1 on the home stand, sweeping both Oakland and Philadelphia, losing just a single game to Minnesota. Including the two previous games, the Indians have won 10 of 11 after starting the year 8-13.
Going into April 28th, the Indians were just 3.5 games behind Detroit and have since went on a 10-1 tear. However, they have only gained two games on the Tigers, who are currently 19-12, 1.5 games above the Tribe. The Indians will now go on to play the Tigers in Detroit for three games and an early chance to grab the lead in the AL Central.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 9 – Oakland Athletics 2