After five straight losses and a less than spectacular road trip, the Indians came back to Progressive Field looking to right the ship and get back to playing winning baseball. Mission accomplished and then some. The Indians defeated the Cincinnati Reds by a score of 5-2 and in the process may have found the spark they needed to get back on the right track.
Of course, that spark may have come courtesy of a joint effort between Wahoo’s on First and the Tribe’s top pitching prospect, Trevor Bauer. Earlier on Wednesday, we released the new podcast intro song, “Gutter to the Grail,” which was written and performed by Bauer himself, and it immediately went viral. The song was literally everywhere, including inside the Indians clubhouse where reaction was mostly positive. In fact, Mark Reynolds enjoyed it so much that he made it his walk up music for last night’s game.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first thanks to a Joey Votto home run to center, the Indians were able to pull even when Reynolds stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third. On the first pitch of the at bat, Reynolds destroyed the baseball and sent it 3/4 of the way up the bleachers in left center. We like to think that Reynolds new, super awesome walk up music had a part to play in that.
Meanwhile, Justin Masterson continued to chug along in the same way he has all season long. In his six innings of work, Masterson allowed only that one run on four hits while striking out seven. The only real blemish on is box score was four walks issued to the Reds. Luckily, none came back to haunt him as he was able to continually work his way out of trouble, included a bases loaded jam in the sixth.
The Indians eventually took the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Nick Swisher doubled to left center to score Asdrubal Cabrera. Then in the bottom of the sixth the biggest blow of the game was delivered. With two men on and two out, Jason Giambi drilled a screaming liner to right field that just barely found a way to clear the wall. The three run homer put the Tribe up 5-1 and put the game out of reach for the Reds. They did cut the lead to 5-2 in the top of the ninth thanks to a Xavier Paul home run off of Vinnie Pestano, but all in all the bullpen shut the door on the Red Legs.
The Good: Justin Masterson and his six innings of one run baseball are a good place to start. Mark Reynolds monstrous home run was also pretty great. But, the best of the best on Wednesday night had to be the reemergence of th Tribe’s bullpen. They allowed only one run over the course of three innings and kept the Reds powerful offense at bay.
The Bad: Nick Swisher not scoring from second on a double by Jason Giambi was pretty bad. Swisher simply misread the ball off of the bat of Giambi and poorly judged whether or not it would be caught. As a result, Swisher got a late jump from second and was easily thrown out at the plate. It didn’t come back to hurt the Tribe, but it was still pretty bad.
The “Huh?”: Terry Francona starting Jason Giambi when he was on second base with two outs. Carlos Santana drew the walk, but with the not so fleet of foot Giambi running on the pitch, Ryan Hanigan was able to throw him out easily. Francona took responsibility for the decision, but one has to wonder what exactly he was thinking when he made the decision.