With one pitch, one swing, and one huge blast, Lonnie Chisenhall may have finally jump-started his major league career.
Saturday night was Turn Back the Clock Night at Progressive Field, as the Indians donned extremely retro 1902 jerseys. These jerseys came from a different time period, when uniforms resembled a strangely appealing mixture of business casual and pajamas. Nick Swisher reportedly popped his collar during his first at-bat, which was awesome, predictable, and strangely appropriate.
The Kansas City Royals didn’t wear anything special on this particular evening, choosing to wear their standard road greys (boring!) but they did participate in turning back the clock by starting Miguel Tejada at 2nd base. I must say, I am surprised Tejada has managed to stick in the major leagues as well as he has, but just like Jason Giambi for the Indians, Tejada is in the part of his career where he can provide leadership and some clutch hitting off the bench.
All uniform frivolity aside, there was a baseball game to recap.
Scott Kazmir (5-4) followed up Corey Kluber’s gem on Friday night with a great outing of his own. Kazmir struck out 6 over 6.1 innings, though he was charged with two runs when Matt Albers couldn’t provide any relief after Kazmir ran out of gas. Vinnie Pestano made an appearance in the 8th inning, allowing zero runs while working around a couple soft base hits. Chris Perez pitched a very clean ninth inning and is quietly rounding into form following his injury earlier in the season.
The reason that the Indians won this game, however, was one Lonnie Chisenhall. The Tribe’s young third baseman has had his share of detractors (including yours truly), but he has rather quietly been more than serviceable since returning from the minor leagues. I had very high hopes for the Chiz Kid coming into 2013, as I picked him to have a breakout season in IPL’s Opening Day predictions, but Lonnie struggled mightily to start the season.
In the sixth inning, Lonnie took a big step towards exorcising those early season demons once and for all, as he came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs and sent the first Jeremy Guthrie (8-7) fastball he saw deep into the Royals bullpen. That blast made the score 5-0 and practically put the game out of reach. Lonnie has also been seen taking some walks in recent days, which is a great sign for his developing plate discipline. Personally, I’m loving what Lonnie is doing right now, and I think he’s finally starting to fulfill his potential.
-Max Scherzer (13-1) finally lost a game, giving up four runs over 6 innings in a loss to the Texas Rangers.
-The Indians fell just short of drawing 30,000 fans (29,740), but they did have to compete with Justin Bieber, whom was playing a concert at the Q. The Indians decided to get in on the festivities by playing Bieber’s “music” at every opportunity. Sometime before first pitch, this intrepid blogger overheard a young girl say the following to her father:
“Dad, I know there is a Justin Bieber concert going on, but do they need to play his crappy music here?”
I don’t know who you are, mysterious dad, but I just wanted to personally commend you on a parenting job well done. You are one of those every day heroes.
-MLB needs to seriously evaluate their Blackout restrictions on nationally-televised games, especially on Saturdays. It is one thing to be unable to watch the Indians when I lived in Florida (because they were on Fox and my area was on another game), but it is another thing altogether to not have a game on TV on Saturday night in the middle of July in 2013. I like to think that some team executive saw that Indians fans would be relegated to WTAM 1100 on this evening and said to themselves “Gee, being forced to listen to the radio, it’s like turning the clock back… hey that sounds like a promotional idea!”
To clarify, if I still lived in Florida, I could have watched this game on MLB.TV. But fans in Cleveland had no recourse to view the game in HD, regular-D, or any other kind of D you can imagine. That isn’t right.
-The Indians will go for a sweep Sunday, as Ubaldo “Five and Dive” Jimenez will take on James Shields at 1:05pm at Progressive Field. It’s Kids Fun Day, and looks to be a gorgeous (if sweltering) day, so head on down to the ballpark.
I also want to apologize for the delay in getting this recap posted. Moving sucks, and not having internet sucks even more. Thanks for your patience.