Player of the Game
Mike Aviles got a rare start at short stop with Asdrubal Cabrera getting the day off. He came through enough to win today's Player of the Game. Aviles had a single, knocking in two of the Indians three runs. A generally sad pitching performance all around handed this one to Aviles.
The Indians finally got on the board in the fourth, when they had four consecutive two out hits to score three runs. Mark Reynolds and Carlos Santana singled before a Yan Gomes double that should have scored both runners. For some reason, Santana was not running with two outs so the Indians needed another hit to get him across. Mike Aviles came through this time with a single up the middle that scored both Santana and Gomes.
Santana had a pretty nice game overall, especially considering his recent dip in batting average. He started off by bunting against the shift for a single and hit one through the hole in the shift for another single his next time up. He finished with a third single, this one a solid line drive to center field. The hits showed a nice progression and if this continues, he should be back to hitting home runs in a game or two.
Zach McAllister allowed two runs in the first inning for the second start in a row. A one out walk helped the Rays score that inning, a rarity for McAllister. Prior to this game he had allowed 18 walks in his 10 starts and just one of those was in the first inning. In general he had a tough day with his command as he walked four in 4.1 innings. This marks the first game this year that he didn't pitch at least five innings and breaks his 12 game streak of allowing less than three runs per game.
While getting hits with two outs can be a huge bump to a team's offense, the Indians seemed to only be able to get hits that way. During the first four innings the Indians had seven hits, all of which came with two outs. This is great if you have had walks or hits prior to getting two outs, it is a hard way to ignite an inning.
Part of McAllister's command problems may have stemmed from a shifting strike zone. The Indians had a problem with Bill Welke's strike zone all game, with McAllister going as far as to ask him where he should throw the ball in between innings. After an outside pitch was called a strike against Nick Swisher in the 5th inning, Terry Francona was ejected for the first time this season. This was the most animated we have seen Francona this year and it was well deserved after seeing replays of the strike calls.
In "welcome to the big leagues, kid" news, Matt Langwell allowed a two run home run to perennial MVP candidate, Evan Longoria on his second Major League pitch. Langwell did recover to strike out the next batter and he can't be blamed for the loss as Rich Hill came in to pitch before him.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 3 – Tampa Bay Rays 11