Player of the Game
Michael Bourn started the game with a single, his third game in a row to get on base to start the game, and went on to be involved in almost all the Indians scoring for the rest of the night. He scored in the first on a Michael Brantley single to give the Indians their first lead, then drove in two in the seventh to give the Indians another lead after the Red Sox had tied the game. Yan Gomes, who singled, and Mike Aviles, who was safe on a fielder’s choice score the runs with Aviles almost catching up to Gomes by the time they crossed the plate. Bourn has been on fire the past three games as he is 5/11 with three extra base hits, two walks, five runs scored and four RBI including two on a walk off home run. This was his second Player of the Game in the past three games and third on the season. Of course, this was made all the more special because it was Bourn’s bobble head night.
A common thread with the Indians successful games of late has been their ability to score first in games and they did it again tonight. Starting with the first batter of the game, Bourn, the first five Indians hitters hit singles, including RBI safeties by Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall. In between the two, Jason Kipnis laid down a perfect bunt that Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski collided on, loading the bases. Ryan Raburn put a damper on the Indians rally with a double play, but it still knocked in Brantley for the Tribe’s third run.
T.J. House contributed his second straight great start as he makes his case for staying on the team even after Zach McAllister returns. Tonight, he went 5.2 innings, striking out five and allowing just two earned runs. Although he wasn’t as historically accurate as Justin Masterson was last night, he only walked two and gave up six hits. House helped his own cause as well with a fantastic play running towards first and one double play induced. The headline is a little misleading however, as the Hagadone got the win in this game.
Despite the failings by the rest of the bullpen, Nick Hagadone and Cody Allen shut down the Red Sox when they needed to, finishing the final 2.1 innings without allowing a run. Hagadone struck out three of his five batters faced, allowing just a single and stranding two runners. Allen came in during the eighth and completed the first multi inning save by an Indians pitcher in two years.
There was another questionable relief decision tonight as T.J. House was pulled from the game in the sixth, despite just giving up one run on the night and one base runner in the inning. His replacement, Marc Rzepczynski, then hit a batter and gave up a single to Jonathan Herrera to allow House’s last runner to come home. The reason this move was questionable was not necessarily the result, but the fact that Zep has been used in three straight games, now 31 on the season the most in the Majors. On the contrary, John Axford, Carlos Carrasco and Nick Hagadone have now been unused for six games. If the Indians can only trust five of eight relievers to throw while they are winning, they will have to make some roster moves or start losing more often.
Continuing this trend of abuse, Scott Atchison pitched the seventh, his fourth appearance in the past six games and 23rd on the season and blew his second save of the week. Atchison gave up doubles to Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia, eliminating the slim, one run lead before retiring a batter. He then intentionally walked David Ortiz and got a pop out before being relieved by Hagadone in his 2014 debut. Hagadone struck out both batters he faced swinging to strand two runners keep the game tied.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 5 – Boston Red Sox 3
On Deck: The Tribe will go for their third straight home sweep in a row as they finish up the series with the Red Sox at 7:05 PM Wednesday night.