Player of the Game
Ubaldo Jimenez was tremendous for his seventh game in a row, something never expected of him after his first year and a half in Cleveland. The White Sox only managed eight hits during the near shut out effort, seven of which were singles. Most impressively, Jimenez kept his walks down again, forcing a double play the after his only base on balls on the day. He has also been able to be a little more thrifty with pitches overall lately, getting into the sixth inning in his last five games, despite striking out 42 hitters during that span. Tonight, he struck out six in 8.1 innings while allowing just a single earned run, which actually scored off C.C. Lee after Jimenez was removed from the game.
Scoreboard Watch: Things went really well for the Indians even before the game started with the Yankees losing on national TV to the Red Sox and the Orioles losing late to Toronto. The Red Sox have been aiding the Indians a lot lately as Cleveland has had to worry more about the other Wild Card contenders than actual play-off teams. Since August 23rd the Red Sox have went 16-4, winning series against the Orioles and Rays while going 5-1 against New York in two series. They will move on to face the Orioles next, where they can help the Indians again. Texas also lost early today, decreasing their lead on the first Wild Card spot to just a half game over Tampa.
Milestone: Michael Brantley played in his 500th career game today, making him just the 101st Indian hitter to stay with the team that long. He and Asdrubal Cabrera are the only two current players on the roster with at least 500 games played.
The Indians continued their success against the White Sox, scoring five times in the fourth against Andre Rienzo on two home runs. Asdrubal Cabrera came through first with a two run shot that was followed three hitters later by a Lonnie Chisenhall three run home run. It was Chisenhall's tenth home run of the year, giving the Indians eight players with at least that amount. The Indians also have three players with nine home runs and two more with eight.
While it may be fun to see a starter strike out ten batters a game as Ubaldo Jimenez has been of late, it was great to see him be able to go into the seventh inning with a pitch count under 90. In fact, his pitch count was under 70 at that point and he was able to pitch into the ninth, retiring a batter in the final inning of a game for the first time in his Indians career.
With the series win established, the Indians will try for the sweep tomorrow against Chicago's ace, Chris Sale. If they are able to take that game, it would be 12 in a row against the South siders (three four game sweeps) and a historically significant winning streak. The Indians will play the White Sox two more times as well, just prior to the last series of the season.
If there is a negative to take out of this series so far, it is the disparity between the the series between the Indians and lower level teams like the White Sox and play-off contenders like the Tigers. The Indians have been good enough to outscore Chicago 24-4 this series to go ahead 3-0, but were outscored 14-25 in the two series against Atlanta and Detroit where they finished 1-5. Beating the White Sox senseless will possibly be enough to get into the play-offs, but it will not be enough to beat the Red Sox or Tigers afterward.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 7 – Chicago White Stockings 1