Last week during the Tampa Bay series, the Indians went a combined 4-28 with runners in scoring position, as they lost consecutive home games for the first time since April 1-2 against the Chicago White Sox. They improved upon that number during Friday night’s contest against Seattle, when they were 2-4 with runners in scoring position (and we all remember how the ninth inning played out).
I was a bit concerned about how the two unexpected days off would impact the team. Would they lose the momentum from Hafner’s dramatic walk off home run? Would the offense struggle as it did at times during the Tampa Bay series? How would Josh Tomlin respond to an extra day’s rest? All of my concerns evaporated rather quickly during this one.
Josh Tomlin was sharp yet again; he pitched six solid innings, allowing 5 hits and one earned run. He left the game after 81 pitches in order to give the bullpen some additional work. The combination of Justin Germano, Chad Durbin, and Vinnie Pestano were sharp as well; they pitched three perfect innings. Since Germano and Durbin have struggled at times this season, it was nice to see them have a great outing against a talented Royals offense.
The offense quickly pounced on Kansas City’s pitching issues, as Kyle Davies left in the first inning with an injury and the team ended up going with tomorrow night’s starter, Vin Mazzaro, by the third inning. A ten run fourth (that included six consecutive two-out hits) really put this game to bed, although the Indians continued to add runs throughout the latter innings. In the end, the team amassed 20 hits (all of the starters got a hit) and were 13-26 with runners in scoring position. Just a few of the highlights – Matt LaPorta was 4 for 4 with 4 RBI, Orlando Cabrera was 3 for 4 with 3 RBI, and Michael Brantley was 2 for 4 with a home run and 4 RBI. What was most impressive about the offensive onslaught – Brantley’s home run was the only one that left the park. The Tribe hit seven doubles (LaPorta had two of them). For a team that really seemed to rely on the long ball recently, they managed to put together an impressive offensive performance with only one home run.
The Indians also announced prior to tonight’s game that Sizemore was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 11. I think this is a good move, as it’s better to be safe than sorry where Sizemore (and his knees) are concerned. I only question why they waited so long to place him on the DL; it seemed like a bad idea to play down a player for almost a week, especially when the primarily substitute was the struggling Austin Kearns. I saw that Travis Buck was putting up good numbers at AAA Columbus (.333 with three home runs and 21 RBI) so I’m glad that he gets another shot at the Major League level. He had an impressive spring, and I know he was glad to leave the Oakland organization and get a second chance with the Indians. He responded by going 3 for 6 with an RBI during the Indians’ 19-1 victory over Kansas City.
While this game was a fun one to watch, I can’t help but think in the back of my head, “Oh please tell me they didn’t use a series’ worth of offense tonight!”