Player of the Game
The Indians had three hitters provide most of the offense today, but Nick Swisher was the best of the best. He hit two solo home runs to lead off innings, giving him a team leading 20 on the year. This is Swisher's ninth straight season of at least 20 home runs and was his 13th game with one home run from each side of the plate, tying the Major League record. His final POG score was 6.10, just edging out Zach McAllister (6.03), Asdrubal Cabrera (5.62) and Matt Carson (5.55).
Matt Carson stepped up his game in a rare start today. Terry Francona decided to go with an all right handed lineup against Chicago ace, Chris Sale, so Carson took over right field with Drew Stubbs moving to center and lead-off in place of Michael Bourn. Carson hit a two out RBI single in his first at bat, scoring Carlos Santana from second and hit an opposite field home run in his second at bat in the fifth, giving the Indians their first two runs. The solo shot was Carson's first home run since he was with Oakland in 2010. He singled and was hit by a pitch later in the game to reach base in all four at bats.
The Indians offense put things away in the sixth, scoring four more runs on two home runs (a solo shot by Nick Swisher and a three run homer by Asdrubal Cabrera). This was really impressive as it all occurred off one of the best pitchers in the league and was facilitated by an Indians lineup featuring four reserve players. Beating Sale and completing the sweep shows a lot more about the Indians as a play-off contender than any of the previous three games in the series did.
Slightly less impressive than the Indians offensive onslaught was Zach McAllister's pitching performance. For the first time in four starts he was able to finish the sixth inning, ending a three game streak that saw him allow 13 runs in 13.1 innings. He ended up pitching 6.2 innings and allow just a single run on six hits.
This was a huge win for the Indians, getting them to an above .500 season for the first time since 2007 and gaining a full game on Tampa and Texas. The sweep of Chicago was the Indians third four game series sweep this season, marking this as a historical drubbing. On the year they have went 15-2 against the Sox with two games remaining near the end of the season.
A five hour rain delay pushed the Indians departure from Chicago back until after 5:30 PM local time. The teams needed to get the game in as it may have play-off implications and the Indians only other series against Chicago this year will be in Cleveland. While the teams waited out the rain, most of the fans did not and the game was played in a mostly empty stadium.
Justin Masterson threw today without any pain, but has not progressed enough to make a start during the regular season in all likelihood. He will throw from 120 feet this weekend, but considering the remaining schedule, that would leave him able to pitch in just the last two or three games assuming he is ready to come back then.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 7 – Chicago White Sox 1