Player of the Game
Carlos Santana was the only batter with four hits for either team tonight and he reached base safely in six of seven plate appearances with two walks as well. His biggest at bat came in the 11th with Michael Brantley on first. Santana homered into the Indians bullpen, giving Cleveland a quick two run lead that would be vanquished in the bottom of the inning. Santana scored earlier in the game as well and had a nice, and very busy, defensive outing at first base.
There were a few positives to take from this extra long game (over 5:30 hours), but one big one was the defense. The Indians committed no errors and had a few above average plays as well with excellent outfield defense and some slick moves by Carlos Santana to keep things close.
Early on, the Tribe offense was impressive and, even though it died down in the later innings, they still ended the game with 14 hits or one per inning. Santana lead the way with four while every player who received at least three at bats reached base at least once. Yan Gomes and Jason Kipnis each reached base safely three times and Lonnie Chisenhall had two singles. Kipnis’ 13th inning triple was a short lived burst of excitement as he was thrown out trying to turn it into an inside-the-park-home run.
This is neither positive or negative, but interesting. The Indians used 23 of the 25 men on their roster in tonight’s game while Arizona used 22. Cleveland worked all nine relievers into the game as well as tomorrow’s starter Corey Kluber who pinch hit. All bench players for both sides pinch hit at some point and the Diamondbacks went even deeper into their pitching staff than the Indians, using starter Josh Collmenter to finish the game. Only Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer did not play for the Indians.
A lot of positive and negative things had to happen in this game for it to span 14 innings, but the biggest problem the Indians faced was Terry Francona’s horrendous bullpen management. Justin Masterson was only able to pitch four innings, but instead of using his long reliever, Carlos Carrasco, Francona used Kyle Crockett, Vinnie Pestano and Marc Rzepczynski to get him through seven. Scott Atchison pitched a quiet eighth, but then Cody Allen pitched the ninth, instead of Bryan Shaw, despite the tie game. Shaw was then asked to pitch two innings, leading to a John Axford blown save in the 11th. Had Shaw pitched the ninth and Allen the tenth, this most likely would not have happened. It also could have spared the loss and burning out every single member of the relief corps had Carlos Carrasco, who ended up pitching two perfect innings, had been used earlier and/or longer in the game.
While it was Axford who actually threw the pitches that allowed Arizona to come back, he can’t completely to blame as he was obviously very sleepy. He was the first pitcher to warm up after Kyle Crockett in the fifth inning and took the bullpen mound at least three times before actually being called to pitch. He was stretching, trying to keep loose when Carlos Santana almost hit him with his home run.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 8 – Arizona Diamondbacks 9
On Deck: There is no rest for the weary, at least not until Thursday. The Indians wrap up the short two game series tomorrow at 9:40 ET.
Less than half of the over 20,000 fans made it to the finish of this marathon game.