Tonight was just one of those games where everything was clicking for the Tribe on all cylinders. Tonight was also a night in which many members of the Tribe that had previously been struggling may have broken out of their slumps. All around it was just a night that made you feel good about the team and the potential it has.
It was great to see Jason Kipnis hit out his first homer of the campaign this year. Though he was helped by the wind blowing out to center, I think Kipnis will take whatever he can get right now. It’s been a rough first month of the season for him, and the Tribe is obviously going to need him to pick it up moving forward as he is such a huge part of this team. I’m not really concerned about Kipnis yet, and I think hitting out his first homer might let him relax a little as well. He’s definitely had a couple games in this series that indicate he’s moving in the right direction.
Speaking of taking steps in the right direction, Asdrubal Cabrera seems to have finally broken out of his own early season funk. Asdrubal had a great night by going 2/3 with a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored. As Rick Manning mentioned today, Asdrubal is definitely using the whole field more as of late, which was demonstrated by what he did tonight. He slashed his first hit of the night the other way for an RBI single, and then he followed that by roping an RBI double to right in his very next AB. Asdrubal now has 7 hits in his last 12 AB, and has raised his AVG from .156 to .225 during this series alone. Needless to say, I think Asdrubal is back.
The next contestant to play for some early season redemption was Ryan Raburn, and boy did he hit the jackpot. Honestly, Raburn might have just gone from having a poor season to a good season in one night. Raburn was a perfect 4 for 4 on the evening with 2 HR and 4 RBI. I’ve said this before, but the Indians got a HUGE steal when they picked up Raburn this offseason. He is a really good hitter who just had one bad year last year. I was relieved to see him have the night that he did. His versatility combined with his offensive potential gives him a chance to be an extremely valuable member of this team.
However, the biggest redemption story of the night went to Ubaldo Jimenez. This was one of the best games I’ve ever seen Ubaldo pitch in a Tribe uniform. We all know about the inconsistencies of Ubaldo, and the real challenge will now be to see whether he carries this momentum into his next start. I don’t know if we have ever seen Ubaldo put together a string of successful starts as a member of the Indians. However, with his gem tonight he has given himself an opportunity to do so. I know that he and pitching coach Mickey Callaway have been working extra sessions on his mechanics in between starts, and it certainly showed tonight. He was simply in complete control all game: 7 IP, 3 hits, 4 K, and only 2 BB. Again, let’s see if he can carry this into his next start, but at the same time let’s give him some props and enjoy the victory as well.
The Tribe outscored the Royals 19-3 in the last two games of this series, so we should certainly be feeling good about ourselves coming back home. The Tribe will be facing Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee in their upcoming two-game series with the Phillies, so it will be a good challenge to go against a couple of big veteran guns. These past couple of games could turn out to be a major spark in the season, so let’s hope the Tribe can continue to ride this momentum back home.