Player of the Game
Whether it is because the other team starts pressing or if Corey Kluber actually improves as the game goes on, there is no question that he takes his game to another level in the late innings. He allowed just one run on five hits though seven innings, but his most impressive innings came starting in the sixth, when he retired nine straight Tigers starting with Miguel Cabrera, striking out five including all three in the seventh. In total, Kluber allowed just two runs through 8.2 innings, striking out 10.
After knocking in just 25 runs in the Indians first 82 games, Nick Swisher has drove in 15 RBI in his past 14 games. While he has not been on fire during July, he has batted over .300, raising his average from .192 on June 30th to .213 today. Swisher still strikes out too often, but has become a more “clutch” hitter, with almost all his 16 hits in July knocking in runs.
In addition to Swisher, the Indians had a few other offensive performances of note. For the second night in a row, Jason Kipnis came through with two outs and runners on, eventually hitting two RBI singles. David Murphy matched his feat with two RBI hits of his own in addition to two talks. Of course, someone had to score all those runs and today that someone was Yan Gomes. Gomes reached safely in each of his final three at bats including a double and scored each time.
It’s only been two games, but the Indians defense appears to be significantly improved after the first half horror show. In the first two games of the second half, the team has committed just a single error, an overthrow on an attempted steal by Yan Gomes and have made multiple amazing plays including a diving catch by Lonnie Chisenhall and diving stops by Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana today. Kipnis also turned a slick double play in the fifth to get Corey Kluber out of a jam.
Another rookie making his MLB debut frustrated the Tribe today as Drew VerHagen kept the Indians offense scoreless through the first four innings, giving up just three total runs in five innings. Before the four hit fifth, the Indians hit safely just once during the first four innings and struck out four times.
The Indians were very aggressive on the base paths today and it didn’t work out very well. David Murphy and Lonnie Chisenhall were each caught stealing on straight steals, while both Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley were caught between second and third, leading to four easy outs for Detroit. Officially, the Indians went 0-3 on steal attempts today, a surprising stat as they came into the game with 55 steals in 68 attempts. While they don’t steal often, they generally pick their spots well and are very efficient, but the opposite was true today.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 6 – Detroit Tigers 2
On Deck: Don’t blink, the Indians and Tigers will be right back for game two at 7:05 PM.