With a start to the season that has been disappointing to say the least, the Cleveland Indians began their seven-game road trip with an 8-3 win over the Texas Rangers, a team that has struggled almost as mightily as the Tribe. While it’s far too early to say that this is the game that turns everything around for the Indians, it was a fun win for Tribe fans.
It didn’t quite start out that way though. The Indians scored two runs off Rangers starter Wandy Rodriguez in the top of the first inning after a single by the red-hot Jason Kipnis followed by a pair of doubles by the almost-as-hot Michael Brantley and Nick Swisher. That lead didn’t last long though, as Indians starter Bruce Chen gave up three runs in the bottom of the first after a two-run home run by Prince Fielder followed immediately by a solo shot from Adrian Beltre. Chen lasted just two and one-third innings while giving up seven hits, and while you have to admire his work ethic in returning to the Majors, you also have to wonder if his time at the highest level is through.
The score remained 3-2 Rangers until the top of the fourth inning, when the Indians struck again. Nick Swisher doubled, moved to third base on Brandon Moss’ sacrifice fly, and scored on a single by Zach Walters. This tied the game at three until the fifth inning, when the Indians began to blow the game open.
Swisher continued his great night with a single to right field to score (who else?) Kipnis and Brantley and give the Indians a 5-3 lead. In the top of the sixth, the Tribe scored three more runs when Brett Hayes homered to left center, Brantley doubled in Jose Ramirez, and a Lonnie Chisenhall sacrifice fly scored Kipnis. The 8-3 lead stood for the rest of the game, thanks in no part to the to the pitching efforts of Ryan Webb, Zach McAllister, Scott Atchison, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen, who combined to pitch six and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball in relief of Chen.
This win brings the Indians’ record to 13-21, and while that isn’t where they want to be at all, there is always time in the long season of Major League Baseball. That being said, the time for the Indians to make a run may be now. Starting with this game, the Indians play every day for the rest of the month, with games against the Rangers, White Sox, Reds, and Mariners. While all of these teams have better records than the Indians right now, none of them are currently above .500, and if the Tribe wants to get back on track, the rest of this month may be the time to do it. If they continue to struggle during this stretch, then the season may slip away from the Indians far earlier than anyone would have imagined.