Mike Napoli and Francisco Lindor celebrate after scoring on Lonnie Chisenhall’s double in the first inning.
The Indians didn’t let two separate weather delays rain on their hit parade on Thursday night. Despite an hour and 10 minutes worth of game stoppage, the Indians clobbered the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 14-4 behind a 4-for-4 night from Mike Napoli and home runs from Napoli, Carlos Santana, and Jose Ramirez. The Tribe jumped on Angels starter Jhoulys Chacin from the first at-bat of the game – Santana led off with a solo home run. By the end of the first inning the Indians were already up 5-1, and they just never let up. The only negative moment from tonight’s game was a bizarre, bad-luck injury to Carlos Santana in the bottom of the fifth inning. Francisco Lindor hit a sharp fly ball that flew into the Indians third base dugout and hit Santana on the head. The team is currently saying that he has a “contusion” on his head, but have not mentioned whether or not he’ll need to go on the 7-day concussion disabled list.
I mentioned in the game preview that Chacin is a different pitcher as a starter, as compared to when he enters the game as a reliever. I thought that may mean he could struggle the second or third time through the lineup; I never realized they’d clobber him so quickly. The Indians knocked him out before the end of the second inning, at that point already up 7-1.
This game could possibly be considered compensation for Corey Kluber’s abysmal run support in 2015. He gave up a solo home run to Mike Trout in the first inning, but by the time he took the mound for the next inning he already had a comfortable lead. Kluber gave up another solo home run to Cliff Pennington in the top of the third, and a third run in the top of the fifth after the Angels had two singles and Jefry Marte scored on a double play. The fourth run came during a slightly rocky ninth inning from Kyle Crockett. I typically shudder this season when Zach McAllister and Jeff Manship (just off the DL) come out of the bullpen, but a 10+ run lead was meant for guys like that. Both pitched solid inning, with McAllister surrendering one hit.
Every single starter in the lineup tonight got a hit except for Tyler Naquin, who also struck out three times. I’m hoping that this isn’t the start of a prolonged slump for Naquin; teams seem to have figured out how to pitch to him (fastballs) as opposed to low breaking stuff. Now it’s up to him to adjust and continue his strong season. Other than Napoli, players with multiple hits included Lonnie Chisenhall (2-for-5) and Abraham Almonte (3-for-4). Perhaps Almonte was trying to make up for some of his defensive miscues yesterday. There’s not much more to say about this one. Other than the Santana injury, this was a pretty great night for the Indians.
The Angels have struggled this year, and are currently in last place in the AL West at 49-65. They could still potentially wreak havoc though, as the Indians have learned from the last-place Twins. Plus, even though they’ve been decimated by injuries (particularly to their pitching staff) they still have the greatest player in baseball in Mike Trout. It feels good to start the four-game series with a big win. You just have to hope the Indians can keep rolling this weekend.