Sunday afternoon’s game against the lowly Minnesota Twins was a game mostly devoid of drama for the Cleveland Indians. The script played out much like you would probably have expected: the Indians struck first against a young, raw pitcher, and Corey Kluber mostly breezed through seven scoreless innings. The Indians offense scored first and added on throughout the game, while the Twins only managed to sneak one run across the plate on the day. The Indians looked and played like they are the AL Central leading 83-59, and the Twins frequently reminded us all why they’re 53-90. They say you can’t predict ball, but everything seemed mighty predictable today.
The Indians struck early in this game, but they had plenty of help from Twins “pitcher” Jose Berrias (2-6, 9.27 ERA) as he walked two men in the first inning and committed an error on a pick-off. Unfortunately, the Tribe couldn’t get a hit (just like last night) and they failed to score in the first inning. The second inning seemed very similar to the first inning, in that the Indians got two runners on with two outs (an Abraham Almonte single and a Tyler Naquin walk), but this time they got a run scoring hit.
And what a hit it was, too. Carlos Santana golfed a low fastball deep down the right field line and likely out of Target Field on a hop altogether. Check it out:
That hit gave the Indians a huge cushion with the Klubot chugging along – indeed, the 3-run lead felt basically insurmountable.
To the Indians credit, however, they added more runs on throughout the game. In the third they chased Berrios out of the game. I know he’s a young and raw pitcher, but he does not belong at the major league level – he demonstrated absolutely no control over his location and it burned him badly. In the third inning, Pat Dean relieved Berrios and immediately got into a 12-pitch war with Tyler Naquin, who won the skirmish and knocked a two-run single right back up the middle. If three runs felt like a huge lead, five runs certainly seemed like a good case for a mercy rule to be implemented.
Kluber was fantastic today, as he has been for most of the season. He went seven innings, struck out 10, walked two, and only allowed four hits. The Twins lone run came in the fourth inning when they strung a few of those opportunities together, but it turned out to just be a little blip on the radar.
The rest of this game was pretty unremarkable, honestly. The Twins defense was comically bad, committing four errors on the day (Byron Buxton‘s botched… something in center field easily being the most egregious). I know the Twins have given the Indians some trouble this season (#CantPredictBall), but this is a really bad team that is going to be bad for quite some time.
The Indians now turn their attention to the South Side of Chicago, where they will attempt to further build their lead on the Detroit Tigers in the standings. The Motor City Kitties lost again today, and now sit seven games back of the Indians.
The Magic Number for the Central is 14.