Roster Update: Despite being available to pinch hit yesterday, Jason Giambi has been placed on the 15 Day DL with a sore calf. The real reasoning behind this move is discussed here, but for now it is enough to say that Yan Gomes will be returning from the Paternity Leave to take Giambi’s roster spot.
Player of the Game
Zach McAllister has been the Indians top starter all season and he continued that trend tonight with 6.2 innings of shut out baseball. Although he is not specifically a strike out pitcher, he was painting the corners so well he K’d five of his eight batters struck out, looking. He did start to lose control once he reached 100 pitches in the seventh inning, but still allowed just five hits all game and his only walk came against his final batter faced. His final POG score was 6.74.
After a dreadful start to the season, Indians starters are finally starting to put things together this time through the rotation. Justin Masterson and Corey Kluber combined for 13.1 shut out innings with 19 strike outs in the Indians last two games and McAllister added another 6.2 scoreless today.
The Indians limited their errors tonight, with the only misplay coming on a tough hop ground ball to Carlos Santana. The defense has been the Indians biggest fault this season and is paramount in pitching duels like this one. Mike Aviles deserves special mention for a couple nice plays at second, as do McAllister and Bryan Shaw for getting out hitters the way they needed to in tough situations.
Before the game started, Lonnie Chisenhall’s lack of RBI opportunities was discussed on burningriverbaseball.com. Today, he got two different scoring opportunities, first with runners at first and second and later with a runner at second and made an out in each situation. While everything in the article remains accurate, these are exactly the type of situations Chisenhall will have to start coming through during or doom himself to the bottom of the line-up or worse.
Other hitters who deserve recognition for their failures in tonight’s low scoring affair were Nick Swisher, who went 0-4 out of the two hole, Asdrubal Cabrera, who went 0-4 with a RISPLOB and David Murphy, who went 0-3 with a double play. There are never many positives in a games when you don’t score and this game was no exception.
For as much credit as Aviles deserved for his defensive effort, he deserves an equal amount of shame for getting picked off first in the eighth inning. After he hit a one out single, Terry Francona pinch hit Ryan Raburn for Nyjer Morgan against left hander Brian Duensing. During the at bat, Duensing paid close attention to Aviles at first and despite this, he still left at first motion and got caught between bases after a pick-off throw to first. Aviles just gave up and stood half way between, letting Chris Colabello tag him instead of at least forcing a throw to second base. Raburn then grounded out to end the threat before it even got started.
The Indians played their first extra inning game of the season tonight and John Axford used the situation to remind Terry Francona not to use him in non-save situations. Of course, he made himself questionable in save situations as well after yesterday’s appearance. Tonight, he gave up a solo home run to the first batter he faced, Eduardo Escobar, to give the Twins the 10th inning lead. He then walked Brian Dozier and gave up a single to Sam Fuld for the Twins biggest inning of the night.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 0 – Minnesota Twins 1
On Deck: Game two of the four game series will take place tomorrow night at 7:05 PM. It will feature Josh Tomlin in his first Major League start since having Tommy John surgery against Sam Deduno.