Well, the Nyjer Morgan talk can quiet down (for a day, at least). Behind 3 hits and 2 RBI from their $12 million CF, the Indians rallied past the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday evening by a score of 5-3. Justin Masterson allowed two HR in the 2nd inning, but otherwise limited the damage en route to 6.1 IP, 2 ER and 6K on the night. Masterson did not figure into the decision (and may end the month of April with a record of 0-0), but it was great to see him pitching well (for the most part).
The Indians bullpen shut down the Royals over 2.2 innings while the offense rallied to turn a 2-2 tie into a 3-3 tie and eventually a 5-3 lead. John Axford looked great, registering a very low-stress save (following a 1-2-3 save two nights ago). The Indians are now 10-11, and the Royals fall to 10-10.
Takeaways from the game:
-Santana continues to look lost at the plate, registering another 0-fer with a walk. While Swisher has turned it around of late (he had a hit and a walk tonight), Carlos continues to be a gaping black hole. He will turn it around, but he’s hurting the team right now.
-Ryan Raburn has an OPS of .433. Yes, I am a little worried about a 2012-repeat.
-While Bourn had 3 hits tonight, he got caught stealing twice. It doesn’t mean anything, but it is a little concerning considering he got caught 12 times last season (against 23 SB, not a good ratio).
-Jason Kipnis is looking fantastic, and he looks ready to explode offensively. He had some bad luck early in the season, but he never looked overmatched. His double in the 7th inning was just smoked.
-Lonnie Chisenhall got an at bat in this game, and true to his early season form spotted a perfect BABIP blooper down the left field line. As long as the Chiz Kid is taking balls the other way, I will be content… even when these balls stop dropping in.
-I admit, I was never enthusiastic about Cody Allen, but I’ve changed my mind. He’s dealing right now, and he’s making me forget about the artist formerly known as Vinnie Pestano.
-In postgame interviews, I noticed Swish said that the team is “starting to get” those feel-good solid team vibes again. He also threw an unsolicited plug at Chisenhall, which was nice to see. I know players say a lot of fluffy stuff, but I want to believe this team is starting to gel again.
News Around the League:
There’s no other tactful way to put this: New York Yankees SP Michael Pineda is a friggin’ idiot. As you may know, he’s had a brown smudge on his hand or neck or glove or face in several starts this season, most notably the last time he pitched against the Red Sox. The Red Sox, to their credit, didn’t want to make a big deal out of it the first time (as the practice is probably commonplace), but when Pineda showed up with a big brown smear on his neck, the Red Sox had to levy a complaint.
Pineda was ejected for use of a foreign substance and faces a 10-game ban. I don’t care how common it is, if you do it so blatantly start after start after start, you are an idiot. Michael Pineda is now one of my least favorite players in MLB, and it has nothing to do with the team he plays for. What an idiot.
On Deck: The Indians take on the Royals at 12:05 tomorrow at Progressive Field. Bruce Chen will take on Corey Kluber. Thankfully, rain is not in the forecast.