How do I put this nicely? For much of the 2015 season, the Indians were hot garbage at the plate when the bases were loaded. As a team they were batting well under .200, and seemed to find new and creative ways to screw up prime opportunities. This weekend against the Angels, in a span of just two games, the Indians managed to hit two grand slams. In both cases the Angels opted to intentionally walk Lonnie Chisenhall and it ended up coming back to bite them. Last night the very next batter, Yan Gomes, was the one to put the nail in Anaheim’s coffin. Today, the very next batter (Giovanny Urshela) popped out, leaving the fate of the inning in the hands of Abraham Almonte with two outs. Like Gomes last night, Almonte made the Angels pay for their lack of faith in the batters that followed Chisenhall. Josh Tomlin’s solid outing meant that it was more than enough to solidify the victory and the sweep.
The final score on this one could’ve looked quite different without a couple of boneheaded plays by the Angels in the field. Both Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun lost routine fly balls in the sun (both off the bat of Carlos Santana), which led to Indians runs. One was in the first inning, which helped the Indians take a 2-0 lead. The other was in the fifth inning and helped set the table for the Almonte grand slam. Calhoun’s missed catch left runners at second and third prior to the Chisenhall intentional walk. The Indians probably still did enough to win even without the Angels’ miscues, but they did an excellent job of capitalizing on their mistakes. That’s something we haven’t seen that often during the 2015 season.
I moan and complain about Tomlin, and always expect him to implode at any given moment. He was good against the Angels today, and pitched well enough for a win even without the Indians’ offensive outburst. Zach McAllister seemed a little shaky in relief, but when you’re up 8-2 late in the game you can spare a couple of runs. He ended up allowing Tomlin’s inherited runner to score, but then pulled it together to get out of the inning without further damage. The Indians scored one last run to make the final score 9-2.
A bit of fun to complete your Sunday – Lonnie Chisenhall and Abraham Almonte are becoming national treasures in the outfield. I’m not sure if I would’ve noticed this if not for the fact that my seats are directly behind the right fielder, but Chisenhall and Almonte continually make hand gestures to each other during the course of an inning. Usually they do something after an out; I saw Chisenhall pretend to shoot a basketball jump shot after Tomlin struck out a batter. I managed to snag a couple of videos of Chisenhall on my phone since he was closest. Usually he and Almonte do these kinds of things back and forth to each other, and it seems to be something between just the two of them; it did not continue once Jerry Sands came in to replace Chisenhall in right. It’s definitely one of my new favorite things.