A calm May night. One of the top hitters’ ballparks in baseball. Two red-hot offenses. Two pitchers prone to giving up runs. It sure seemed like a high-scoring game was in store in game one of the 2017 Battle of Ohio on Monday night.
That, as they say, is why they play the game.
Scott Feldman struck out the first five Tribe batters of the evening and would never look back as Cincinnati scratched out a gritty 5-1 victory Monday night in Great American Ballpark to take the first of four matchups between the Ohio squads this week.
Let’s take a look at some key moments and stats from this game:
- The K Factor: Feldman–who struck out nine Tribe hitters–had a season high of six strikeouts in his ten starts entering play Monday night. The Indians struck out 12 times as a team overall.
- A Game of Inches: After striking out in his first two at bats, Edwin Encarnacion launched a towering 400+ foot ball down the leftfield line on an 0-2 pitch…the ball was just foul to the point where Tito Franconca nearly challenged the play. Instead, a near game-changing two-run home run was indeed a foul ball and the at bat ended in another Edwin strikeout. A potential Indians lead was instead an inning-ending knockout.
- Please, Tito!: Franconca had originally penciled Bradley Zimmer in the lineup in center field, giving Encarnacion a day off. Instead, Edwin talked his way into the lineup, shifting Carlos Santana from first base to right field and rendering Zimmer a late-inning pinch hitter off the bench.
- Edwin’s Faulty Plea: Santana would avoid a near injury when he crashed into the side wall chasing a foul ball in right field. Encarnacion would have three difficult strikeouts en route to a frustrating 0-4 night at the plate.
- Nearly Solid: Tomlin pitched far better than his line (6.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) would indicate. The Little Cowboy gave up just two runs entering the seventh inning, but was doomed in by several soft hits, a timely squeeze bunt, a throwing error by Tomlin himself, and a clutch two-out two-run Cozart single surrendered by Dan Otero. What looked like a solid start ended up being a tough loss for Tomlin.
- Big Veteran, Big Turnaround: Boone Logan had a difficult beginning during the first three weeks of the 2017 campaign. Since then, he’s been brilliant. Logan has lowered his ERA to an impressive 1.93. With just 9.1 innings pitched in 23 appearances, the lefty specialist now has 13 strikeouts and just three walks, and has yet to surrender a home run.
- On Deck: The Battle of Ohio continues Tuesday night in Cincy, as Carlos Carrasco (4-2, 2.60) takes on young southpaw Amir Garrrett (3-3, 5.18) during the front end of this home-and-home four-game series.