Player of the Game
Going 4-5 on Sunday wasn’t enough for David Murphy who took it to another level tonight. He was responsible for six of the Indians eight runs, aided by the fact that he scored after each of his first three at bats. First, he walked and scored in the third, then he hit the big blast, a three run home run in the fourth. He added another RBI on a double in the sixth and scored on a Nyjer Morgan single. In all, he earned a POG score of 9.54, the best score by any Indian in 2014.
This was a sloppy game overall with five errors, two wild pitches and a passed ball, but the box score doesn’t tell the whole story. In the third inning the Tribe put three on the board without getting a hit, thanks to a slew of Padres miscues. First, Yan Gomes and David Murphy lead the inning off with walks, before Gomes took third on a passed ball. Nyjer Morgan followed with a grounder to second that Jedd Gyorko turned into a two base error when trying for a double play. Yonder Alfonso then made a nice play to retire Nick Swisher, but Gomes and Murphy had already scored and Morgan moved to third. Morgan scored on a Jason Kipnis sac fly to complete the three run, no hit inning.
Two players who had low expectations coming into the season have already impressed early on. Lonnie Chisenhall was moved to a “bench role” prior to the season, but after missing the first two games, has not only played in every game, but has a hit in every game. Today, he had a single in the fourth, giving him six hits on the year and scored, giving him five runs. The other impressive player was the one who knocked in Chisenhall with a three run home run, David Murphy. Despite small expectations, Murphy has looked great in the past two games, going 4-4 yesterday and hitting the huge home run today. Even more surprising is that the two rank one (Chisenhall .400) and three (Murphy .364) in batting average on the Indians.
Corey Kluber calmed down after a rocky start to allow just three runs in six innings, but what was most impressive was his swing and miss ability. This was something he didn’t have in his first appearance and it improved as the game went on. Kluber struck out five in his first five inning, but once he neared 100 pitches he really turned it on. In his sixth, and final inning, Kluber struck out batters for all three outs.
Corey Kluber’s results were better than his last time around, but it had more to do with the opponent than a change in pitching style. He still had issues leaving the ball up and the Padres had little trouble pounding it all over the park as they hit five doubles off Kluber, surpassing their total from the entire season (4) to this point (for comparison, the Marlins and Rays lead the Majors with 19 doubles). The one that really cost him was in the fourth inning with runners at second and third with one out. Kluber pushed Gyorko to a full count, but then gave up a meaty pitch that Gyorko deposited in the gap between left and center. Both runs scored as Gyorko got an easy double.
The Indians have a roster decision to make soon and a few options of who to send down. Vinnie Pestano had a chance to take his name off that list today, but didn’t make the most of it, allowing a home run to Xavier Nady on a hanging slider in the ninth inning. He then almost threw away an easy ground ball and allowed a triple to light hitting Chris Denorfia. The doubles were already mentioned, but with the two extra base hits off Pestano, the Padres ended up with eight extra base hits in the game after having just seven in their first six games.
Nick Swisher committed his second error of the game at the worst possible time, with two outs in the ninth inning. The bobbled ball allowed Denorfia to score and lead to another unearned run after a Yasmani Grandal single. Luckily for the Tribe, John Axford was able to come in and get the one out, two run save.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 8 – San Diego Padres 4
Up Next: Let’s play two. The Indians and Padres will play a traditional double header, starting at 12:05 PM. Trevor Bauer is expected to be called up for the second game as the Indians’ 26th man. Zach McAllister and Eric Stults will face off in the opening match.