If yu want to establish yu-rself as a contender, these are the types of games yu have to win.
The Indians took the rubber match from the Rangers with ace Yu Darvish on the mound, handing the Japanese sensation his first loss as a major leaguer. The victory gave the Indians their first series win against the Rangers since a three-game sweep in August of 2008.
While the Tribe hardly looked comfortable against Darvish, striking out 11 times, they managed to capitalize on the few mistakes he made.
The first mistake came in the 3rd inning when Darvish walked Damon and then left a cutter out over the plate to Asdrubal Cabrera who ripped a double down the right field line. It was Cabrera’s 6th hit of the series, who remains red hot, extending his hit streak to five games.
Also extending his hit streak was Jason Kipnis, who belted his 5th home run of the season on another pitch which got away from Darvish. Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba was set up on the lower outside part of the plate, a location in which Kipnis has struggled against fastballs, as you can see from his heat map. But Darvish’s pitch sailed up and in and landed over the right field wall.
Both Kipnis and Cabrera’s hits were encouraging signs for an offense which hasn’t exactly been tearing the cover off the ball. Going up against an ace like Darvish, you only get so many opportunities to capitalize on mistakes, and the Indians made Darvish pay in a big way.
On a negative note, I’m starting to worry about Ubaldo Jimenez. The fact that he held the Rangers scoreless was more fluke than anything else, considering he walked five batters for the third time this season. Over the past five seasons, 28 pitchers have walked at least five against this potent Rangers offense and Jimenez is just the second to survive without allowing a run.
While it’s certainly nice to steal a win like this, the Tribe can’t expect to continue to come out on top with Jimenez channeling his inner Jaret Wright.