On Friday night Nick Swisher came through in the clutch to lead the Indians to victory. Yesterday afternoon it was up to Mark Reynolds, another of the Tribe’s key offseason acquisitions, to come through in the clutch.
The Indians were clinging to a 3-2 lead in the bottom half of the fifth thanks to a Reynolds RBI single back in the bottom of the third. This time, Reynolds stepped to the plate with the bases loaded following a single by Asdrubal Cabrera, double by Ryan Raburn, and Nick Swisher being hit by a pitch. Chicago ace Chris Sale had not been himself most of the day. Now, the Indians had him on the ropes and were looking to land the knock out blow. With the count 1-1, Sale hung a 77 MPH breaking ball that Reynolds smashed into the left field bleachers to put the Indians up 7-2.
For Reynolds, the home run continued an impressively hot streak to begin the 2013 season. He leads the team in home runs with five, RBI with 13, runs scored with eight, and is OPS’ing an impressive 1.032. So far so good as it’s beginning to look more and more like Reynolds was a solid financial investment for the Tribe as he has quickly become the right handed power bat the team had been lacking in years past.
Reynolds wasn’t the only offensive hero on the day, though. Nick Swisher got things going in the bottom half of the first. Trailing 2-0 thanks to a Reynolds error and Konerko RBI single, Swisher belted his first home run as an Indian to tie things up at 2. In the bottom of fifth, following the Reynolds grand slam, Yan Gomes delivered a two run homer of his own to put the Indians up 9-2 and capped off the scoring on the day for the Tribe.
As for Tribe starter Zach McAllister, it was more of what we have come to expect from the 25-year old right hander. He allowed three runs, only one of which was earned, over the course of 6.1 solid innings of work. He also struck out six and walked none while lowering his ERA to 2.19 on the young season. If he can maintain this type of solid performance he gives the Indians another legitimate starter to follow Justin Masterson in the rotation. With the win, the Indians pushed their record back to even at 5-5 and clinched the series win over their division rivals.
Today they’ll go for the series sweep. Easier said than done, however. The Tribe will send Brett Myers and his less than stellar 12.19 ERA top the hill against White Sox’ veteran right hander Jake Peavy. Can Myers have a reversal of fortune and finally deliver a quality start? Or, will Peavy silence the Tribe’s bats and save at least one game of the series?
The Good: Mark Reynolds was pretty good yesterday going 2 for 4 with 5 RBI. It can;t be emphasized enough just how good Reynolds has been in the first two weeks of the season. The other good, of course was Zach McAllister’s 6.1 innings of quality pitching. It was refreshing to see a dominant Justin Masterson performance be followed up by a solid start from one of the Indians other starters.
The Bad: Not much. Michael Bourn and Michael Brantley both went hitless on the day, but other than that everything went the Wahoo’s way. And honestly, why nitpick a game in which the Indians scored 9 runs and jacked 3 homers? So, we’ll just stick with the idea that Saturday was just a bad day to be named Michael.
The Huh?: The Indians struggled mightily against lefties all of last season, but so far this season they have performed much better. in fact, two of the team’s biggest offensive outputs have come against lefties. First, it was the reigning AL Cy Young award winner David Price and then yesterday against AL Cy Young award contender Chris Sale. My, what a difference a year makes.