We have seen the future, and it is Us. Or rather, Urshela. And Lindor. The new face of the left side of the Tribe’s infield helped the Indians beat the Cubs 4-3 on Thursday night in a game that started 25 minutes late due to rain and then had 1:41 rain delay in the middle of the 5th inning.
The Indians started out strong, scoring two runs in the 1st, thanks in part to Lindor’s timely base running. Jason Kipnis led things off with a walk, followed by a ground ball single by Lindor, which advanced Kipnis to 3rd base. Michael Brantley smashed a ground rule double that scored Kipnis and put Lindor on 3rd. With Carlos Santana batting, Cubs catcher Miguel Montero bobbled a pitch. Lindor was ready, scoring from 3rd on the passed ball. I hesitate to add that with a man on 3rd and no outs, the Indians failed to score any more runs that inning. Instead, Cubs starter Jason Hammel struck out Santana, David Murphy, and Brandon Moss.
Baseball is a funny game, because you can be a hero one moment and the goat the next. Lindor learned that the hard way in the 3rd inning. With two outs, Kyle Schwarber on base, and Dexter Fowler batting, Lindor made a throwing error to 1st base that allowed Schwarber to score, making the score 2-1.
Schwarber came back in the 5th to smack a two-run homer that tied the score at 3-3. Danny Salazar, who started the game for the Indians, looked good the first few innings. Giving up the homer seemed to rattle him. He walked Addison Russell and gave up a single to Fowler. He managed to induce Anthony Rizzo to fly out to give him two outs and two men on. Then Kris Bryant hit a piddly little grounder that both Salazar and Carlos Santana chased. Of course, the problem with the pitcher going after a ball that the first baseman can easily field is that there is no one covering the bag when the ball is actually fielded. Thus it was that Salazar found himself with two outs, the bases loaded, and the score tied.
What a perfect moment for a rain delay.
One hour and 41 minutes later, the 5th inning resumed. This time, it was Cody Allen in the unenviable position of facing a tied score with the bases loaded. Fortunately for everyone wearing an Indians uniform, Allen got Cubs’ catcher Miguel Montero to fly out to left, finally ending the inning that wouldn’t die.
Allen came back to pitch the 6th inning, facing four batters and striking out three of them. Zach McAllister started the 7th inning for the Tribe and struck out the side. Combined, Allen and McAllister struck out seven batters in a row. Throw in four strikeouts from Salazar and one each from Scrabble and Shaw, and Indians pitchers struck out a total of 13. The Indians still lead both leagues in strikeouts with 614.
Cleveland broke the tie in the 7th. Yan Gomes and Michael Bourn singled. Then rookie Giovanny Urshela, whom we must remember has been in the majors all of nine days, got a clutch single to score Gomes. That was all the Indians needed. Final score: Indians, 4, Cubs, 3.
Urshela and Lindor have started 8 and 3 games, respectively, in the majors. If they were puppies, they’re eyes wouldn’t even be open yet. However, Urshela is batting .269 (7-of-26); Lindor is batting .267 (4-of-15). It seems that both can hang in there against major league pitching. They have 1 and 2 errors, respectively. Obviously they have some growing to do on the defensive side. Even so, the future looks pretty good.