Friday night was one of those games that could have had a very different outcome, without a little luck going the Indians way. In the first inning, Carlos Santana led off with a walk. The next batter, Jason Kipnis, appeared to go around on a 3-2 pitch. However, when the Marlins appealed the swing it was called a ball, and Kipnis was awarded first. This was a very, very lucky moment for the Indians, and I’m not simply being magnanimous toward the Marlins here. Even Kipnis flinched and made a face, obviously frustrated that he wasn’t able to hold up on the swing. He appeared shocked when it wasn’t called.
The Indians made the most of this opportunity. First, Lindor singled to load the bases (with nobody out!), followed by Marlins pitcher Andrew Cashner walking Mike Napoli to make the score 1-0. Cashner was already struggling with his command before the bad call against Kipnis and it certainly didn’t seem to help matters. By the end of the first inning, the Indians were already up 3-0. A couple of timely hits and a sacrifice fly eventually put the Tribe up 6-0 by the end of the fifth inning.
Even though I said this game “could have” had a different outcome, the strong pitching performance from Carlos Carrasco meant that the Indians didn’t even really need to put a big number up on the scoreboard. The only runs the Marlins scored were from a two-run homer by J.T. Realmuto in the eighth inning off of Jeff Manship. (You sunk my Manship!) Even if you remove the runs from the first inning, the Indians still win 3-2. And that’s not even considering the fact that Manship likely doesn’t enter the game if the score was only 3-0.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly didn’t seem to care about the fact that the Indians win even if you remove the runs from the first inning. After the game, he had this to say:
— Brian Dulik (@BrianDulik) September 3, 2016
I mean, I can’t really blame Mattingly’s frustration (first base coach Perry Hill was eventually thrown out of the game for sniping at the first base umpire) but perhaps you should worry about winning the wild card and getting into the playoffs before you worry about the pennant?
Overall, this was a pretty fun game if you were a Tribe fan. You almost wish that they could’ve rolled some of those runs over to Saturday night since they’ll face Jose Fernandez. Trevor Bauer will need a performance that mimics Carrasco’s, and the Indians will have to hope for another night that includes timely hitting and a little bit of luck.