Saturday’s game between the Indians and the Astros was seemingly over before it could even get started. Looking to end a five game skid, the Indians entered play with a renewed sense of focus. That focus became more than apparent as they exploded for 8 runs in the top of the first and followed it up with 6 more in the second. Before anyone could grasp what was going on, the Indians were off and running with a seemingly insurmountable 14 run lead (Don’t believe me? Check out the Fan Graphs leverage index graph below).
For simplicity’s sake, here’s a run down of how it all unfolded.
Top of the 1st:
Michael Brantley flied out
- Jason Kipnis singled
- Asdrubal Cabrera singled
- Nick Swisher RBI double
- Jason Giambi 2-RBI double
- Carlos Santana walked
- Mark Reynolds 3-run home run
- Lonnie Chisenhall doubled
- Drew Stubbs singled
- Brantley 2-RBI double
- Kipnis and Cabrera grounded out
Top of the 2nd:
- Swisher singled
- Giambi walked
- Reynolds RBI single
- Chisenhall struck out
- Stubbs RBI single
- Brantley walked to scored a run
- Kipnis fielder’s choice, Stubbs scores on a throwing error
- Mike Aviles RBI single
- Swisher RBI double
- Giambi popped out
Whew, that was nuts.
Of course, things couldn’t all work out perfectly. As has been the case for most of the season thus far, the starting pitching was less than spectacular. After working through a scorless first inning, the Astros lit Tribe starter Scott Kazmir up for 6 runs in just 3.1 innings of work. In his first start of the year, it was a bit disappointing considering how well he had pitched this Spring. To not qualify for a win in a game in which your team scores 19 total runs is a bit disheartening. However, it was only one start and despite the outcome, Kazmir was consistently hitting 92-93 MPH with his fastball. He should be fine. At least we hope he’ll be fine.
Pitching aside, last night’s game was all about the offense. After the 14 run outburst, the Indians continued to build the lead as the game wore on.
In the top of the third, Carlos Santana led off with a solo homer to left to make it 15-3. Then in the top of the fourth, Jason Giambi belted a three run homer out to the bull pen in right center field to push the score to 18-6. Finishing off the night for the Tribe, Santana doubled home Mike Aviles to make it 19-6 and officially put a cap on the scoring for the night.
The series will conclude this afternoon as Ubaldo Jimenez takes on Erik Bedard. Will the Tribe bats still have some life in them and provide Jimenez with adequate run support? Hopefully, they didn’t waste all of their hits in their bats during last night’s game. More importantly, can Jimenez overcome a couple of difficult outings and get himself back on track, or will it be more frustration?
The Good: This one is a no brainer. The offense was magnificent last night. Led by Jason Giambi (a spectacular addition) and his 5 RBI, the Indians put together the type of production you don’t see every day. The 19 runs scored are easily the most they’ve scored this season. Everyone got involved except for Ryan Raburn, who was hitless in one at bat. For last night’s performance it was truly a job well done.
The Bad: Unfortunately, Scott Kazmir. He didn’t pitch that great but there were signs of encouragement, particularly the life on his fastball. He also had a bit of bad luck. An RBI single off of the diving glove of Mike Aviles and a home run that bounced off the top of the right field wall and into the stands. If either of those break the other way, maybe Kazmir lasts five innings and gets the win. It’s also worth taking into consideration the amount of down time he had between innings. The top of the first went on forever and the top of the second was just as long. Kazmir essentially warmed up, sat around, warmed up again, sat around again, and then had to warm up again. Let’s see how he does in a game with a normal pace before making any decisions.
The “Huh?”: Oh, Asdrubal. According to Paul Hoynes’ Twitter feed, prior to the game, Cabrera slipped and fell down the dugout steps and injured his wrist. He was able to make the start and actually batted twice in the first inning, but he was eventually lifted from the game in the bottom of the first for Mike Aviles. X-rays came back negative and he’s been diagnosed with a wrist contusion, but you can’t help but feel like this is a “D’oh!” type of moment. Cabrera was already struggling offensively, now he has to deal with this. Great. Wonderful even. Here’s hoping he’s fine and only misses a few days, at most.