Looking at all the post titles from my fellow IPL writers over the past few days can make a person kind of depressed. Up until today, the Tribe was 1-4 coming off the All-Star Break, and folks were getting ready to throw ballast and Mark Reynolds overboard to right things. And then today happened: the last of a three-game series with Seattle and a game of some grand firsts.
- The first time Kazmir pitched into the 8th inning this season
- Kazmir’s first win on the road this season
- Michael Bourn’s first career grand slam*
More importantly, the offense had one of those hit-the-snot-out-of-the-ball days where almost everybody got a hit. The only exception was Jason Kipnis who went 0-4 and is, I suppose, allowed an off day once in a while. In all, the Indians scored 10 runs on 13 hits and drew 6 walks. The high point was Bourn’s grand slam in the 5th, with Asdrubal Cabrera’s solo dinger in the 6th inning and two-run double in the first a close second and third. (Is it looking a gift horse in the mouth to note that we had bases loaded two other times in the game and only got one run out of it?)
For his part, Scott Kazmir had another magnificent outing: 8 innings, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, 1 hit, and 1 run (unearned), all of which lowers his ERA to 3.96. (Having 4 of our 5 starters with sub-4.0 ERAs makes me disproportionately happy.) Kazmir’s comeback is absolutely my favorite story this season. Baseball is a never-ending tale of failure and redemption, and Scott Kazmir’s redemption has been nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Since the break, the Indians have seen some great starting pitching, and they’ve even been hitting. Jordan Bastain noted that the Indians outscored their opponents 25-14 on this road trip and went 2-4. Like most of the season, it’s been feast or famine–either they win big or lose by a run. The bullpen and defensive mistakes haven’t helped matters either. We had two more errors today, bringing the total to 10 for this six-game road trip and 64 for the season.
We know our boys are a streaky bunch, that’s part of their charm. But as the evidence shows, streaking will only get you so far. Nonetheless, it was a big win, and I’ll take it.
*Incidentally, Michael Bourn needs one more run to reach 500 career runs scored.