If you avoided Sunday’s game and just checked the box score, you’d see that the Indians had more errors (3) than hits (2). Then you may wonder “wow…was this really as bad as it seems?” And it was. It totally was. With Detroit’s loss to the Royals today (they were already down 4-0 after the first inning) a Indians victory would’ve clinched the AL Central. Instead, the Indians will likely clinch in Detroit this week, where they play from Monday to Thursday. Since the magic number is down to 1, just one win in the 4-game series with the Tigers would clinch it.
Let’s get all of the bad news out of the way first, since there were a couple of bright spots to the game. The defense was terribly sloppy, and part of that was due to the fact that Francisco Lindor had the day off and Michael Martinez was playing shortstop. Lindor has been struggling lately, and is probably a bit run down…I completely understand wanting to give him a day off to rest and recharge. It’s just that his absence was definitely noted at points during this game. Plus Martinez is pretty much a career minor leaguer at this point, so how much can you really expect from him? I keep joking that he’s going to find his way onto a playoff roster, but he’s such a favorite of Francona’s that I’m starting to think it may really happen.
Carlos Rodon pitched a strong game for the White Sox. Part of that was due to the fact that he just had good stuff today, mixed with the fact that the Indians always have problems against him, mixed with the fact that this was not necessarily the best lineup Francona’s ever put together. They managed just two hits over the course of 8 innings against him – lowly singles from Brandon Guyer and Carlos Santana. I kept hoping that at least the Tribe would find ways to extend their at-bats and run up Rodon’s pitch count. However, he was very efficient throughout most of the game, which allowed him to throw 8 complete innings.
The one bright spot from Sunday’s game was Josh Tomlin. He had his third solid start in a row, allowing just 1 earned run over the course of 6.2 innings. For the third straight start, he also avoided surrendering a home run; out of Tomlin’s 28 starts this year, he’s allowed at least one home run in 23 of them. So three of his five homer-less outings were his most recent starts. Even though Tomlin didn’t make it out of the seventh inning on Sunday, part of that was due to some sloppy defense. He’s likely out of that inning without incident if there is strong defense behind him.
Zach McAllister has been much better since his return from the disabled list on July 31, but he was shaky in relief Sunday afternoon. The run he allowed was unearned, but he just didn’t seem to be that sharp. Luckily, Joe Colon came in from the bullpen and was able to get Leury Garcia to fly out for the final out in the eighth inning.
Corey Kluber will take the mound on Monday night against Buck Farmer as the Tribe will try again to close out the AL Central title.