Player of the Game
Yan Gomes was a huge part of the Indians offense and defense tonight, catching both Yasiel Puig and Dee Gordon on the bases while using some nifty base running of his own to grab two doubles and two RBI. Gomes scored after each double, giving him a POG score of 5.38 on the night, just barely ahead of Lonnie Chisenhall, who hit a two run home run in the first inning, then scored after a walk later on for a 5.35. This was Gomes first Player of the Game of the year, despite being the starting catcher all season.
After two straight one hit shut outs, it doesn’t take much to see something as positive and the first inning was very positive for the Tribe. Asdrubal Cabrera came through with a one out single, matching the Indians total hit total from each of the last two nights, then took second on an overthrown pick-off. Michael Brantley doubled him in on a deep fly to right center, then the new clean-up hitter, Lonnie Chisenhall, did him one better with a two run home run tonight. This almost doubled the team’s average of 1.75 runs per game over the past two series in just one inning.
While Justin Masterson was less than magnificent, he did have pretty good command and struck out seven batters in just three innings (with one ground out and one fly out). He used this ability to get out of some tough spots, including a bases loaded two out situation in the first and a bases loaded one out situation in the second. The second inning was especially impressive as he allowed two doubles (including one to opposing pitcher Josh Beckett) and a walk (intentional), but no runs as he struck out Matt Kemp and got Andre Ethier to ground out to first.
The Indians had one of the made one of the most rare plays in baseball and did so in the weirdest way possible. With none out in the fourth and runners on first and third, Kyle Crockett got Adrien Gonzelez to fly out to short left. Gordon attempted to score on the play and was thrown out at home by Michael Brantley, then Yan Gomes through to second to catch Puig. Puig was called safe at second, but Terry Francona challenged and the call was reversed, giving the Indians a triple play. Don Mattingly then challenged the play at the plate for the Dodgers, but the call stood, in what was possibly the first play ever challenged by both managers and the first triple play to be decided by instant replay. Lost in the situation is the fact that Crockett came in to face one hitter in the fourth and got all three outs with four pitches.
Continuing with the theme of getting out of tough situations, Crockett left the fifth with two on and none out, but Vinnie Pestano struck out two of the three he faced, then left for Marc Rzepczynski, who struck out rookie pinch hitter, Clint Robinson, to leave the bases loaded for the third time of the night.
Three Indians who had been struggling turned the page on June and each hit RBI doubles today. Nick Swisher had a two RBI double in the third, then both Yan Gomes and David Murphy knocked in a run a piece with their doubles in the sixth. In fact, it was the only hitter who did hit safely in last night’s game, Michael Bourn, who didn’t reach base safely in tonight’s among the starters. Jason Kipnis also added two hits and a walk, possibly ending a long slide for him as well. In the eighth, Gomes hit another RBI double, Murphy added his third hit of the night and another RBI along with Swisher, who singled and scored.
In a season full of errors, Nick Swisher may have made the worst so far when he dropped a routine throw to first, allowing the Dodgers to extend the first inning. While LA didn’t score again that inning, Justin Masterson walked the next two hitters and was forced to throw an extra 19 pitches due to the error. With his eighth error of the year, Swisher has to be considered the worst defender on the Indians (in addition to being the worst hitter) and possibly the worst first baseman in all of baseball in every way possible. There is no possible way that Jesus Aguilar wouldn’t be better than Swisher, although his gigantic contract seems to be keeping on the roster, however undeservedly.
Somehow, Masterson gave up two runs and two doubles to Josh Beckett before giving up his first single, but he picked a bad time for it even so. After the second Beckett double, Gordon hit a bunt single, then Puig hit a bloop to right, bringing home a Dodgers run and shrinking the Indians lead to two. Masterson had already thrown 85 pitches and was pulled from the game with none out in the fourth, giving him his third start in his last four where he didn’t make it through the fifth inning and his seventh on the season.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 10 – Los Angeles Dodgers 3
On Deck: The Indians will finish up their third series against the Dodgers in club history at 3:10 PM ET.