After losing to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, in a game where the Indians’ offense was only able to score two runs, the Tribe bounced back on Monday night with a decisive 7-3 win over the Oakland A’s at Progressive Field.

The Indians did lots of different things well to win the game. They got home runs from Jason Kipnis, Mark Reynolds, and Asdrubral Cabrera, who hit two. They got an early lead, thanks to the first-inning homers from Kipnis and Cabrera. If I recall correctly, the Indians are 12-2 this season when they score before their opponent does, so it’s good to see them score right away and play from ahead.

Although the Indians were only 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position, those two hits were big. In the seventh inning, a bases-loaded single from Jason Giambi took the score from 4-2 to 6-2, and Ryan Raburn’s double drove in the seventh run. It’s always a luxury to be able to go into the eighth inning with a five-run lead instead of a two-run lead. It’s a measure of the offensive capability of this year’s team that despite going only 2 for 11 with RISP, they were still able to put seven runs on the board. Had that happened last season, they probably would only have scored three or four runs all game, tops.

The defense was solid, too, with the Tribe committing no errors, and with Raburn making a good catch against the right field wall in the second inning to take a double or triple away from Brandon Moss.

And then there was the pitching of Ubaldo Jimenez. When you look at his line on the evening, it doesn’t seem wildly impressive: two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings, four hits, one homer, three walks. But: eight strikeouts, and 14 first-pitch strikes to the 24 batters he faced. Half of the hits and two of the walks Jimenez allowed took place in the sixth, when his pitch count began to rise and he grew tired. And while you’d assuredly like to see your #2 starter give you at least six, maybe seven, innings before calling on the bullpen, even the best of them falter from time to time, and Jimenez kept the Indians in the game and got the win, his second of the season.

The bullpen did its job well too, allowing only one run over 3 1/3 innings. Joe Smith pitched a scoreless ninth inning, throwing nine strikes in eleven pitches.

All told, a fine victory for the good guys, and a great way to begin the four-game series against the A’s. Taking two of the remaining three games would be very nice indeed. It’s not easy to win a four-game series, but it’s certainly within the Indians’ grasp. This team has scored six or more runs in seven of their last eight games, so if the bats stay hot, they might very well be able to pull it off.

Note: as you might already know, less than three miles from Progressive Field, the city of Cleveland made the national news on Monday evening with the discovery that three young women—two of the three were actually girls at the time—were found safe in a residential home after having gone missing nine, ten, and eleven years ago. Baseball is important to the people who write for IPL, and presumably to those of you who read it, but let’s not forget that the true heroes in Cleveland on Monday weren’t Jason Kipnis or Ubaldo Jimenez, but rather men and women like Charles Ramsey, the man being interviewed here. A friend of mine put it better than I could when she said that Ramsey is “a true Clevelander: kind, ready to help in a crisis, and candid.” It is people like that who make a city strong.

11 Comments

  • I am a newcomer to this blog, and it is heartening to see such quality writing, reporting, a generous point of view, and the cherry on the blog sundae was the reference to the city’s good news. Baseball is a huge component of life, but keeping it all in perspective is what makes it all fit so well. Good work.

  • Adam Hintz says:

    I love the swagger Mark Reynolds brings to this team. He seems like a nice guy, but he has already hit some “angry” home runs this season. He’s been a revelation.

  • Mary Jo says:

    The Cleveland news was the lead story on the Boston TV stations! Nice to see good news after all these weeks of Marathon Bomber coverage.

    Now on to the game. Guess you weren’t listening to it on radio. Hammy kept commenting on Angel Hernandez’ Texas sized strike zone. The record books will show 8 SOs for Jimenez but not all the pitches he (and the other pitchers) got inches off the plate. Still, it was a great and honest win since both teams were getting the same calls. Go Tribe!

    • Josh says:

      If you were watching the game, Santana eventually started setting up inches off the plate to take advantage of the huge strike zone. Jimenez was hitting his spots on or off the plate. In the 6th inning, Jimenez didn’t seem to be anymore on or off than he was previously, it seemed to me like the zone shrunk for a few AB’s.

    • Drew says:

      Yes, both Rick Manning and Tom Hamilton were critical of Angel Hernandez last night but many of the strikes were within the zone when FOX Sports Ohio used the PitchFX feature. Carlos Santana’s first strikeout was ridiculous and the game nearly got out of hand when Reynolds got beamed.

      I agree with Josh’s comment that the 6th inning was rough on Ubaldo and that he was hitting his spots before that. His Ks were on some excellent pitches where he got the hitter to either chase or hit his spots. But in the 6th, he allowed a lead-off walk and then produced a ground ball that should have been a double play if it weren’t for the shift. The next batter flew out, and he very easily could have been out of the inning with a pitch count under 90. But in 5 innings, he struck out 8 batters, walked 1, and allowed 2 hits and if I remember correctly, 47 of his 74 pitches at that point were strikes for a 64% strike rate and this is against a team that gets on base (4th in MLB in OBP).

      • Cale says:

        I think that’s going to be the story with Ubaldo this year. It seems like he’ll put together a streak in every game where he’ll retire 9 or 10 in a row…then he’ll have an inning where he just loses it. It’s fun to watch at times, and so frustrating at others.

        Anyone think it has to do with him pitching out of the stretch? Maybe mechanics a little off?

  • Steve Alex says:

    Things are clicking. Now all we need is some fans at the park.

    • medfest says:

      I was at the game ,with 9500 of my closest friends,and of the people sitting immediately around me four were from out of town!

      These are the games where you’ll get the best ticket value for the money,especially when the weather is just ideal.
      I paid $14.53 for my season ticket and the same seat was available at the box office for $32.00….six rows from the field right behind third base.

      I don’t what else it should take to get a decent crowd(15,000 to 20,000) downtown.Maybe they have to open up a casino in the ballpark?

  • Art Mowle says:

    It’s very refreshing to read an article every day, that is honest, to the point and well written. Keep up the great work and Tribe fans, COME TO THE GAMES. This team is a young, growing and on the brink of contention. Believe that :)

  • Chris Burnham says:

    I have a mancrush on Mark Reynolds. That is all.