Four game series are a difficult endeavor to deal with. Most normal series last only three days so the idea of facing off against the same team, in the same city, for an extra day can be a bit daunting. Most often a split is viewed as just as big of an accomplishment as winning the series outright. After all, it’s hard to beat a team four days in a row or to take three out of four. For the Indians, this recent stretch in Baltimore was can be viewed as a resounding success.
After losing last night’s game, the Indians officially split their four game series with the Orioles. Baltimore is a quality team in the thick of things in a very hotly contested AL East race. Taking two out of the four and holding their own in the two losses should be a sign of encouragement, not disappointment.
Last night, the Indians had an exceptional opportunity to win last night’s game after the first four innings. They led by a score of 3-2 and their hottest pitcher, Corey Kluber, was on the mound. Unfortunately, last night the wheels finally fell off for Kluber. In the fifth inning, the Orioles exploded for 5 runs and pushed themselves to a 7-3 lead thanks to five singles, a double, and an RBI ground out. It was the first time in almost a month that Kluber allowed this many runs to cross the plate and as a result, the game was seemingly out of reach.
The Indians offense, which put three runs on the board in the first five innings thanks to a Lonnie Chisenhall home run and double, and a Mike Aviles home run, was shut out from the sixth inning on. Oriole starter Miguel Gonzalez was knocked around the park, he allowed three runs on nine hits over the course of 6.2 innings of work, but the Oriole bullpen was fantastic. The combined line for Brian Matusz, Troy Patton, and Darren O’Day 2.2 innings, one hit and a strikeout. They were unhittable.
The Tribe will now travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox in what is now a four game series, complete with a double-header on Friday. Look for the Indians to take advantage of a weaker White Sox team that has struggled to find their way here in 2013. This is the perfect opportunity for the Indians to make up some ground on the Tigers.
The Good: Lonnie Freakin’ Chisenhall… FINALLY! The ever struggling Chisenhall finally broke out going 3 for 4 last night with an RBI double and a solo home run. Hopefully this means that the adjustments he put into place during his time down in Triple-A will finally stick. This was definitely encouraging and hopefully a sign of the good things to come.
The Bad: Corey Kluber’s magical run finally came to an end last night. For the first time in a long time, Kluber got lit up. Let’s see how he responds to the adversity and whether or not he can bounce back his next time out on the mound. Odds are he is still auditioning for a spot in the roster once Zach McAllister returns so look for a refocused Kluber ready to state his case.