Just when it looked like the only way the Indians could win a baseball game was to bludgeon teams to death with the long ball, they go and win a 1-0 nail biter. Funny how things work out sometimes. But, make no mistake about it. The Indians have hit their stride and look like a legit player in the wild card shuffle come October.
However, last night’s game was all about the pitching. More specifically, it was all about starter Zach McAllister. Over the course of 7.2 innings of work, McAllister shut out the A’s, giving up only 5 hits and walking only 1. He also struck out 4. As a result, McAllister was magnificently efficient. He threw 111 pitches, 74 of which went for strikes. It was fantastic.
He also got some help in the form of Bryan Shaw and Chris Perez. Shaw entered the game in the top of the eighth and shut the door to earn his first hold of the year. Then in the top of the ninth, Chris Perez entered the game and slammed the door shut, picking up his fourth save of the season in the process.
A’s pitcher Tommy Milone pitched equally well. Over his 7 innings of work, he allowed only one run, a fifth inning sac fly from Yan Gomes that proved to be the difference maker. Milone surrendered only 5 hits while striking out 5 and walking no one. But alas, it was that one run that proved to be the difference in the game.
Last night’s performance was a drastic difference for both teams. The Indians were tied for the most home runs in baseball entering play last night while the A’s led the majors in runs scored. For both teams to score only one run combined is a true testament to just how well both Milone and McAllister pitched during last night’s game.
The Good: Give credit where credit is due, and in this instance the good belongs to both Zach McAllister and Tommy Milone. This was a classic pitcher’s duel and both starters brought their A-games. This also continued a crazy good run of starting pitching by the Indians over the past eight games.
Another positive was the continued reemergence of Jason Kipnis. After an absolutely terrible start to the season, Kipnis has bounced back well of the past eight games and counting. The biggest reason for the change appears to be a new-found commitment to taking the ball the opposite way.
The Bad: The Indians had a stretch of three innings in a row where they got their leadoff man to second base but couldn’t find a way to bring him around to score. This seems like nitpicking, but in a game this close those lost runs could have made a difference.