Player of the Game
There wasn’t much clutch hitting to speak of in this game, but it was Asdrubal Cabrera knocked in the first run of the game in the third, driving in Michael Bourn who singled. He also doubled to lead off the seventh inning, scoring after Michael Brantley singled and Kipnis hit into a fielder’s choice. Kipnis’ ball could have been a double play, but Dustin Pedroia threw home instead and Cabrera scored as A.J. Pierzynski never caught the ball.
The Indians wouldn’t have had all the scoring chances detailed later if the top of the lineup hadn’t been doing their job and getting on base all game. The Tribe’s first six hitters all reached base at least once with Jason Kipnis leading the way with three singles. Lonnie Chisenhall also had a great day at the plate, seeing a ton of pitches and drawing two walks.
The Indians late relief was solid after a less than perfect appearance in last night’s game. Kyle Crockett retired two batters and struck out one to get a hold, then Bryan Shaw went 1.1 scoreless with just two base runners allowed for a hold of his own. Cody Allen threw the ninth and retired each batter he faced including two strike outs to earn the one run save.
The Indians remain the lead in strike outs in the Majors, but that might not last much longer if the current trend continues. After an entire turn through the rotation when the Indians starters struck out at least eight per game, they haven’t struck out more than five in the past eight including none struck out yesterday by Justin Masterson and just three today by T.J. House. While this isn’t necessarily a big deal, it can be as productive outs can be eliminated by well timed K’s, keeping the opposition from cheap runs. An example of this occured in the sixth, when John Axford came into the game with a runner on third. He got two outs without allowing a hit, but had he struck out the first batter, the Red Sox wouldn’t have scored the go ahead run.
David Murphy has been a top RBI player for the Tribe all season, but he was given two great chances early and was simply unable to come through. In the second inning, he came up with runners at second and third with just one out, but popped out to shallow left, keeping Jason Kipnis from scoring. Two innings later, the same situation appeared and this time he struck out, keeping the runners where they were.
Murphy wasn’t the only Indians hitter to fail in the clutch as Carlos Santana, Yan Gomes and Nick Swisher each made outs with two runners in scoring position. Fearing failure, it was a rare Swisher sacrifice bunt that set up the second RBI situation for Murphy in the first place. Swisher ended up making the biggest out of the three, grounding out weakly to end the inning after Lonnie Chisenhall walked to load the bases in the fifth. He wasn’t done yet as Swisher stranded two more in the seventh, leaving them at first and second after a fly to center.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 3 – Boston Red Sox 2
On Deck: The Indians will attempt to gain something positive out of this road trip as it wraps up Sunday afternoon at 1:35 PM in Boston.