Brandon Guyer and his teammates celebrate the Indians’ Major League-leading 11th walk-off win against the Royals Tuesday night
There weren’t a lot of runs Tuesday night (or even hits) from the Indians. This was a little frustrating, considering that they were facing a pitcher that has struggled in the second half of the season in Edinson Volquez. However, Indians pitchers matched the Royals inning for inning until Brandon Guyer was able to knock in the game-winning, walk-off hit. It was the eleventh walk-off of the season (most in the majors) and Guyer was the ninth different player to play hero (and his first career walk-off).
Before I talk about the game a bit, let’s look at the different walk-off wins:
1. Wednesday, June 1 vs. the Rangers – Yan Gomes single in the 11th off of Alex Claudio
2. Thursday, June 2 vs. the Royals – Mike Napoli sacrifice fly off of Joakim Soria
3. Friday, June 17 vs. the White Sox – Carlos Santana home run off of Nate Jones
4. Sunday, June 19 vs. the White Sox – Jose Ramirez single in the 10th off of David Robertson
5. Tuesday, July 26 vs. the Nationals – Francisco Lindor single off of Oliver Perez
6. Thursday, August 18 vs. the White Sox – Tyler Naquin sacrifice fly off of Jacob Turner
7. Friday, August 19 vs. the Blue Jays – Tyler Naquin inside-the-park home run off of Roberto Osuna
8. Monday, August 29 vs. the Twins – Jason Kipnis single in the 10th off of Brandon Kintzler
9. Sunday, September 4 vs. the Marlins – Lonnie Chisenhall single off of Fernando Rodney
10. Saturday, September 17 vs. the Tigers – Jose Ramirez single in the 10th off of Justin Wilson
11. Tuesday, September 20 vs. the Royals – Brandon Guyer single off of Joakim Soria
True story about that September 4 walk-off against the Marlins – we were down in the old visitor’s bullpen to watch the 9th inning. After Chisenhall got that game winning hit, Ichiro picked up the ball and tossed it into the old bullpen…and my cousin’s son ended up with the ball.
Back to the rest of the walk-offs – so far they’ve gotten the most against the White Sox (3) and 7 of the 11 have come against AL Central teams. This is the second time the Indians earned a walk-off win against Soria and the Royals.
And speaking of Soria, I almost feel bad for him (not tonight, just in general). He keeps blowing games, yet the Royals keep using him in pivotal situations. At this point it’s probably on Ned Yost for continually going to him, despite his struggles. The rest of the Royals pitchers seemed to keep the Tribe bats off balance for most of the night though.
There are several people I think you could nominate for “hero of the night” for the Indians. Josh Tomlin had another strong performance, limiting the Royals to 1 ER on 5 hits in 6.2 IP, walking none and striking out 3. Then Bryan Shaw and Andrew Miller put up zeros after that, including stranding runners at third on two separate occasions. Brandon Guyer got the game winner, but Carlos Santana hit a monster home run to give the Indians their other run. Mike Napoli gets a lot of the attention for big home runs this year, but Santana has hit some really majestic shots this season. Plus, Santana is just one behind Napoli for the year, 33 total (counting tonight) to Napoli’s 34.
There were some annoying moments in this game, and despite the happy ending I feel they need to be mentioned. Abraham Almonte really mishandled a ball in left during the fifth inning, that likely cost the Indians a run. There’s still a chance Salvador Perez scores if he fields it cleanly, but with Perez’s speed (or lack thereof) on the base paths, I highly doubt it. Then in the ninth inning, the Indians have two on and no out, when Almonte comes to the plate. I’m not a huge fan of bunting to begin with, but late in a tie game is the time to do it. Coco Crisp actually bunted for a single (with a mishandled play from the Royals as an assist) right before Almonte. Almonte hits it barely in front of the plate though, and Salvador Perez is able to grab it and throw out Jose Ramirez at third, leaving runners at first and second with one out.
Mike Napoli had a pretty bad night; but so did a lot of people in the lineup. However, Napoli’s two strikeouts tonight (as he went 0-for-4) brings his season total up to 186. While this is still one shy of Napoli’s career-high 187 in 2013 (although we still have time left), it is the Indians’ new single-season strikeout record. The previous record holder was Jim Thome in 2001, when he struck out 185 times. Thome managed to hit 49 home runs that year, so like Napoli lots of homers and lots of strikeouts.
Even though Detroit won tonight, the magic number still drops to 6. It’s Corey Kluber vs. Ian Kennedy tomorrow night.