Player of the Game
In the surprise of the year, Rich Hill took home his first ever Player of the Game for his role in tonight's game. Hill threw an inning and a third, keeping one runner from scoring when he came into the game and pitching a perfect sixth with two strike outs. This is the first POG won by a reliever since May 21st (Cody Allen) and just the fourth overall by a reliever, a testament to the Indians success this year as it generally takes a very bad game (like tonight) for a relief pitcher to be the best player in the game.
Big "Feathers Up" to the Indians fans in Cleveland who sold out Progressive Field for just the second time in 2013 and the first non-Opening Day since 2011. All it took to get the fans to the park was a battle for the Central Division lead taking place the day after the Fourth of July with the Indians ace (and possibly All-Star representative) on the mound and fireworks after the game. It is also possible that at least 30,000 of the people at the game tonight went just because it was Dollar Dog night, making Progressive Field the cheapest place for dinner in Cleveland. During the Indians non-sell out home games this year they have averaged just about 17,700 fans per game, less than half the capacity of the stadium.
Hit-Streaking: After striking out in his first two at bats, Jason Kipnis singled in the sixth to extend the streak to 16 games. He has reached base safely in 36 straight games.
The difference between Justin Masterson's last start and tonight's was largely just the difference between the Tigers and the White Sox offense. In his last game he threw a complete game shut out against Chicago, but was unable to make it through the fifth inning tonight as the Tigers' potent offense got the best of the Indians ace. Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and Ramon Santiago all had RBI hits against Masterson who gave up six runs on seven hits.
An interesting note after this game is that Masterson has had ten games where he has allowed two or less runs (including the three complete game shut outs) and four where he has given up six or more. This odd dichotomy has made the decisions in his starts less a matter of run support and more a matter of whether or not he "has it" during his starts.
Mark Reynolds has been some kind of awful ever since starting out with a great first month of the season. Most recently, Reynolds has gone 0-18 with ten strike outs in five games. He has left eight runners in scoring position during that stretch, although he did knock one in when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
With three losses in a row including game one of this series, the Indians will now need to win the last three games of the series against Detroit to catch them during this series.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 0 – Detroit Tigers 7