Screen Grab: MLB,tv

Early Small-Ball and Strong Bullpen Effort Propels Indians to a Lucky Win

The power of the chicken seems a little odd when compared to the former hankies of the Minnesota Twins, Aubrey Huff‘s thong in San Francisco, and the Rally Monkey of the Los Angeles Angels, but when Justin Masterson brought a live chicken to Progressive Field on Wednesday night for Cody Allen, it may have changed the season.

Behind the new good luck charm, the Indians were able to take two games in the three game series with Baltimore. On Wednesday night, the Tribe erupted in the first inning, scoring four runs off of Orioles starter Zach Britton, who was making his first appearance for Baltimore since July 9. Michael Bourn led the small-ball escapades with a bunt single, which was followed by a Nick Swisher walk, and a Jason Kipnis bunt single. With the bases loaded, Yan Gomes drove in a run with a single to right, while Ryan Raburn would double in two runs before Mike Aviles drove in Asdrubal Cabrera to finish off the early scoring. Shockingly, the Indians made two outs at home in the inning, so things could have been worse for Britton.Screen Grab: MLB,tv

Outside of Britton being run off in the middle of the third inning, things were pretty quiet until Orioles star center fielder Adam Jones homered to left in the top of the fourth before Zach McAllister would run into his own issues in the fifth, allowing a three-run homer to O’s third baseman Manny Machado, which tied the game up. McAllister was removed after just 4.2 innings after following up the bomb by allowing a single to Chris Davis. Bryan Shaw took over at that point and the O’s were basically finished for the night.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Indians were able to attack O’s rookie right-hander Kevin Gausman, as Yan Gomes struck again, this time with a double that scored Jason Kipnis, while Carlos Santana would score the Tribe’s sixth and final run on a wild pitch.

Shaw, Cody Allen, Joe Smith, and Chris Perez combined to allow just one hit over 4.1 innings of scoreless relief, punching out five Orioles while walking a healthy zero batters.

A sexy diving catch by Michael Bourn was a nice way to finish off the game, but the play of the game was probably the absurd range and arm that Manny Machado showed off on the attempted bunt by Carlos Santana (to beat the shift) in the bottom of the seventh (see here).

The Good: The chicken: Feed it. Love it. Be one with it. Let it become the strange item affiliated with the Indians’ potential successful September run to the playoffs.

The bullpen was able to lock down the potent Orioles lineup for nearly half of the game, while none of the relievers went multiple innings to potentially alter their ability to recover for the upcoming series against the New York Mets. With a day off tomorrow, the club should be revitalized and ready to take advantage of a weakened Mets’ club, playing without the recently traded Marlon Byrd and John Buck, and the injured David Wright. After taking two of three from Baltimore, the Indians are now just three games back from Tampa for the second Wild Card spot.

The Bad: Another so-so performance from Zach McAllister, and after losing Justin Masterson to injury, the Tribe really need the other starters to step up and be the workhorses of the pitching staff during his absence. For the second straight start, McAllister failed to reach five innings, as he lasted just 3.2 innings in his August 30 start against Detroit.

More production from the super-sub trio of Raburn, Aviles, and Gomes is fantastic, but Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher, who combined to go 0-for-6 with two walks, could afford to flip the switch at some point this season.




Tags: Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles Cleveland Indians Jason Kipnis Manny Machado Michael Bourn Ryan Raburn Yan Gomes Zach McAllister

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