I hope the Cavs game was exciting, because, early on, the game I watched was a delayed snoozefest. Then it got interesting as both offenses gained some life, with some timely fundamental hitting allowing the Tribe to take a lead in the seventh that proved insurmountable for the White Sox. Shaun Marcum provided a veteran presence with a quality start, though Cody Allen nearly blew it.
Marcum was strong his first time through the order, retiring eight of nine hitters. The second time through, leadoff hitter Adam Eaton lined a home run over the right field fence to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Otherwise, he had a noticeably strong outing. Aside from two mistake pitches, the White Sox struggled against Marcum just like they did against Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer each of the last two nights. The veteran didn’t allow many baserunners and only got tagged for two solo shots by Eaton and Conor Gillaspie. Zach McAllister relieved Marcum and had a solid outing despite some command issues.
Carlos Rodon pitched like a veteran, not getting flustered by the rain delay or some timely situational hitting from the Tribe lineup in the sixth inning. ChiSox manager Robin Ventura showed his faith in Rodon by keeping him in with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth even though two pitchers were warmed up in the bullpen at the time. Rodon got Mike Aviles to fly out to left field, but the ball was just deep enough to score Jose Ramirez from third base. The ensuing hitter was Brandon Moss, who gave the ball a ride to left, but it died just in front of the wall, with Melky Cabrera under it to make the catch.
Dan Jennings relieved Rodon in the seventh. I should mention that the former Miami Marlin player happens to share a name with his former GM, who has since added field manager to his title. Dan Jennings, the pitcher, should really consider an off-field position after his performance tonight. He allowed the first two runners to reach before a Jason Kipnis sacrifice bunt moved them both into scoring position. Kipnis’ bunt was a smart play, as Gillaspie was playing back at third base and had to make a great barehanded throw to just barely beat Kip at the bag. That brought up Jose Ramirez, who is in the midst of a major hot streak and has magically learned how to hit left-handed pitching. After entering the series 1-28 against southpaws, his go-ahead RBI single was his fifth hit in the series off of a lefty. Then Michael Brantley hit an RBI double to end Jennings’ night and give the Indians a 4-1 lead. Jake Petricka cleaned up Jennings’ mess to send the game to the seventh inning stretch.
I’d be lying if I said Cody Allen didn’t scare me in the ninth. He loaded the bases with just one out, but got lucky getting Gillaspie to pop out for the second out of the inning. An Alexei Ramirez infield single cut the home team’s deficit to just one run for another former Indian, J.B. Shuck. Allen’s 0-1 pitch nearly blew his save as it skipped away from Brett Hayes, but the backup catcher pounced on it quickly to prevent pinch runner Emilio Bonifacio from tying the game. Shuck swung and missed at that curve as well as Allen’s next one to end the game with a strikeout. I was nervous for Chicken Al on the hill, but he got the save, even if it was in Joe Borowski fashion.
Shaun Marcum earned the win, his first since June 26th, 2013, while Dan Jennings took the loss. The final game of this four-game series is tomorrow night at 8:10 eastern. Danny Salazar (4-1) is on the hill for the Indians while John Danks (2-3), yet another Chicago lefty, is slated to start for the White Sox. If the Indians win, it will be their first three-game winning streak of the 2015 season.