Every time the Indians are on the west coast, I always feel a little bit of dread in signing up for the recaps on weeknights. If the game finishes in a reasonable amount of time, it’s not that bad. The secret fear is a game like last night’s – some 4-5+ hour marathon that will leave you with about two hours of sleep when all is said and done. After the terrible baseball I’ve watched over the past few days, my patience was wearing a bit thin. I was honestly a little afraid that between the sleep deprivation of a late night, mixed with the way the Indians have been playing, the night would end with me launching the television out of my living room window (or just setting it on fire if I had to watch another game like Sunday’s). If I could have come up with a “perfect” situation earlier this evening, I would have wanted a dominant game by Corey Kluber, success from the offense, and a game that ended by 12:30-1:00 a.m. Tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks was close enough to the ideal for me.
Whenever I see that Corey Kluber set to pitch, I immediately feel much better about the game. Although he can’t hit for the offense (well, technically now in the NL parks he can) I at least feel like he’s going to give the team a good chance to win. He was fairly dominant tonight, and even when he got into a bit of trouble, he managed to escape unscathed. When he turned the game over to Scott Atchison in the eighth inning, I still felt confidence. Not just because of the 6-0 Indians lead, but because I’ve come to rely on Atchison. He’s been one of the more pleasant surprises to me so far this season, and one of the better additions of the offseason. Marc Rzepczynski came in to finish out the game, but couldn’t get the job done. He was done in by walks and a single by Miguel Montero…Cody Allen was forced to come in to get the final out (a strikeout of Aaron Hill). Rzepczynski has struggled a bit lately – over the past two weeks (five appearances), batters are hitting .300/.333/.400. He’s also been the stereotypical lefty specialist this season – right-handed batters are hitting .370/.474/.543 off of him (lefties are hitting just .153/.219/.186).
The offense didn’t fill me with anger and anxiety tonight either. After they loaded the bases with nobody out last night, and still couldn’t even get one stupid run home, my patience with them was paper thin. Plus I have little to no faith in the situational hitting abilities of much of the lineup at this point (although not all of the lineup). But after Michael Bourn’s historic two triples in his first two at-bats (something no Indian had done since 1949) they managed to get him home. After the first triple I thought “this inning will end with Bourn still standing on third.” But in the first inning Asdrubal Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly to get Bourn home. Cabrera wasn’t able to get a deep enough fly ball with the second triple, but at least Bourn was able to score on a Michael Brantley ground out to first. The Indians also benefited from two solo home runs from Yan Gomes and Michael Brantley, as well as a seventh inning with a Jason Kipnis RBI double and an RBI single from Lonnie Chisenhall. I’ve found Kipnis really frustrating lately, so it was good to see a good plate appearance.
With the end of this odd two-game series, the Indians have another off day before they head to Seattle to take on the Mariners. They announced today that Justin Masterson will miss his scheduled start in Seattle with a knee issue. The Indians have implied that his struggles on the mound are connected to the bum knee. It seems nice and tidy to be able to say that his problems are something that can be fixed with some rest, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. It’s possible that it really has been causing his problems; or it could be that his problems go far beyond a knee issue.