8-29 7:10 EST Indians vs. Twins
At what seems the worst time possible, the struggling Indians meet an also struggling Twins team that has gotten the best of the Tribe all year; 5-8 to be exact. The last place Twins had dropped 10 games in a row, giving up a ridiculous amount of runs during their record setting losing streak. On the other side, the Indians have lost 6 of their last 7, being outscored 32-3 in their last 5 losses.
The miserable play has haunted the Twins all year, and luckily only the Indians for a week. The upside is that many would think that the first place Indians have the talent and perseverance to get out of this funk, but the funk’s been real, REAL BAD.
The two pitchers to start the series, however, showed both teams not to lose faith. While both had struggled of late, this pitching duel was very refreshing, but reminded many with a gut feeling of Danny Salazar’s last start when the Indians lost 2-1 in Arlington. Both teams clawed and scratched at each other, but could not get by the great stuff shown tonight. Trevor Bauer pitched 6 scoreless innings, 5 hits, and 4 K’s, but most importantly, no long balls, which he has struggled with. Hector Santiago had been awful since being acquired by the Twins, yet pitched an even better 6 scoreless innings, striking out 2, and only allowing 3 hits. Santiago did walk 4, and the Indians seemed to smack the ball right at defenders to save his start.
Andrew Miller had been unhittable since the trade, yet gave up 2 hits in an inning and a third. The seasoned pitcher made up for his struggles by taking all 3 outs by himself, making his opponents wave themselves out of the inning. With the game still tied at 0, both teams showed us how much they really needed this game. Both teams entered their closers, the Indians in the 9th sent Cody Allen after Shaw relieved Miller, and the Twins threw Brandon Kintzler in the bottom 8th.. on the road… for game 1…
The 9th continued the same story landing the cold bats into extras.
The top of the 10th finally started the action in what should have been game 2. Cody Allen got the first two batters, but at 30 pitches, lost his stuff. Two walks and one hit later, Zach McAllister cancelled the 10 o’clock drama facing the Indian killer from Germany, Max Kepler.
The bottom of the inning started out fast with a swinging bunt by Abraham Almonte. Almonte was tagged, but pitcher Brandon Kintzler forgot to pick up the ball. Two missed bunt attempts later, Chris Gimenez poked one through to make it 1st and 2nd, no outs. After a very long at-bat, a groundout by Rajai Davis sent the umpires to the booth but still left runners in the same position with 2 outs to go. With Kintzler gassed, Kipnis came up clutch, slapping the game winning hit to score Gimenez walk off style.
The win was a giant relief for the down Indians but may have raised some more questions about the offense. Yes, both teams have been losing, but Cleveland’s poor tries at the plate have given the fans nothing to look forward to except for a nice breeze. This series, while losing out will still hold first place, is a major test for the Tribe. Can they finish out competing with the big bats, and more importantly, put lackluster teams like Minnesota in their place? We’ll get another look tomorrow at 7:10 as the Cleveland Indians try to extend their 1 game winning streak behind Josh Tomlin against Andrew Albers’ first start at the Major League level in three years.