Mark June 17th down in your calendars, folks, my own personal game recap losing streak has been broken — and what a streak-breaking game it was!
The Indians waltzed into Minnesota playing some pretty lackluster baseball, and facing an upstart Twins team that thinks it can shock the world and seize the Central Division from the reigning AL Champs. To be fair, the Indians have done a tremendous job of leaving that door open thus far this season, but they started this weekend series trailing the Twins by a mere 3 games (and really, based on percentage points, it was more like 2.8 games).
Well, as Saturday night drew to a close (and crept into Sunday), the Indians finished off a sweep of a double header in taking the first three games of the series. None of the games have been particularly close, either, and if the Tribe can finish off the sweep on Sunday, they’ll head out of the Twin Cities in sole, undisputed possession of first place.
But let’s calm down here, let’s just talk about the Saturday night game, which was started by Mike Clevinger (2-3, 3.89) – now, I’m not a big fan of Clevinger or anything (the old man in me screams at him to cut his darn hair and look respectable!) but he’s been pretty solid this year… except, of course, when he’s been awful. Given how the Indians took Friday night’s game and then destroyed the Twins in the day game, I fully expected the Indians to do their part to continue my agonizing game-recap losing streak.
And, for the first three innings, the Twins and Indians did a good job of that! The Indians loaded the bases in the top of the first only to come up with a big fat zero on the board. Nothing of import happened until the bottom of the third inning, when a walk and an error (after a steal confirmed by replay) led to a Twins run. Given the fact that the Indians have struggled against mediocre pitching this season, and given the fact they were surely tired after the first game, I was ready to resign myself to another loss.
“Nay,” said Austin Jackson and Lonnie Chisenhall, in a weird, awkward unison.
After Carlos “Please, Let Me Lead Off” Santana got out, Jackson rocketed a no-doubt shot into the left-center field seats to tie the game. Then, after a Yan Gomes groundout, Lonnie Chisenhall launched his 9th home run of the season to give the Tribe a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish. Following a lengthy rain delay, Chisenhall again homered in the sixth inning, this time with Carlos “Please, Seriously, My Best Skill is Walking” Santana and Austin “I’m doing a good impression of Rajai Davis” Jackson on base. This gave the Indians an insurmountable 5-1 lead.
Brian Dozier homered in the bottom of the 6th, but the Twins would get no closer as the Tribe tacked on an insurance run in the top of the 8th inning.
It was a great baseball game, and a great day to end my dreadful recap losing streak. The Indians will look to conquer the Twins in a 4-games-in-3-days sweep to get a 1-game lead in the division.
I will go out on a limb and say that if the Indians win on Sunday, they will never be outside of 1st place again this season.
Now we just need to get Kipnis, Lindor (to an extent), and “Seriously, I am so good at getting on base let me lead off, please” Santana going, and the Indians will look like the 2016 version that came so close.
First pitch on Sunday is at 2:10 EST. Trevor Bauer (5-5, 5.85) takes on Kyle Gibson (4-4, 6.79) in a battle of disappointing pitchers. Hopefully the Indians can lay the hammer down on the Twins.