Throughout the Indians’ 5-game winning streak, the team has enjoyed MAJOR contributions from unheralded and unexpected sources. First, it was Ryan Raburn being possessed by the spirit of Babe Ruth that left Kansas City and Philadelphia pitchers shaking their heads. Then, last night it was Drew Stubbs who put together three doubles and drove in the winning run. For the most part, the parts of the Indians lineup that were expected to be major contributors have been hurt or slumping (with the obvious exception of Mark Reynolds), but still this team has found a way to win five straight games for the first time in over two years.
This game, however, was something altogether different from the other wins this team has had in the past week. Nick Swisher, sidelined for a couple games by a sore shoulder, came back and swatted a long home run in the first (smiling all the way… boy, does that guy enjoy life or what?). Mark Reynolds stayed within himself and drove some nice soft singles to center, a nice change of pace from his normal swing-from-the-heels approach. Jason Kipnis is starting to heat up, with his second triple in as many days to go along with a homer and a couple runs batted in. Even old friend Zeke Carrera managed to chip in a couple hits and an RBI. All in all, it was a very efficient and complete effort from the offense, very much in line with what we expected coming into this season.
The pitching was shaky but effective. Scott Kazmir continues to shake off the rust as he gave the team a quality start (6IP, 2 ER, 7Ks). Apparently Vinnie Pestano felt some elbow ouchies but he’s okay, but that’s what is behind all the bullpen insanity. Joe Smith looked a bit shaky in the 8th, but got through it (I really think he’s simply more comfortable in the 7th). Chris Perez came in for a little bit of work and worked around a couple base runners to finish off the game and extend the Indians winning streak to 6 games.
The Indians are now one game over .500 for the first time since early April, and will go for the sweep of the Minnesota Twins at 1pm tomorrow at Progressive Field. Corey Kluber will square off against righty Mike Pelfrey. Last I checked the weather still looked good, so hopefully a nice crowd will turn up to cheer on the Tribe to a sweep.
It certainly feels good to be winning.
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