The Cleveland Indians just keep on rolling. After Sunday’s win, their fourth in a row, the Tribe find themselves only a half game back of both the Rangers and the Rays for one of two wild card spots in the American League. As the Indians continue to charge hard, both teams appear to be in mode of “just hang on for dear life.” For the Indians, this recent hot streak has them within striking distance and in a position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Once again, the story from yesterday’s game was the spectacular pitching and an offensive explosion. Actually, that was the story of this series. The Indians outscored the White Sox 32-6 over the past four days as the continued their domination of the division rival.
On Sunday, it was Zach McAllister‘s time to shine on the mound. For the first time in almost a month, McAllister turned in a solid outing. He lasted 6.1 innings and allowed only one run on six hits while striking out five. It was an encouraging sign for a rotation that has surprised many in the absence of their ace, Justin Masterson, and put to ease some worries that McAllister had either lost his mojo or was dealing with some sort of injury.
Perhaps the most surprising part of yesterday’s game was the ineffectiveness of Chicago starter Chris Sale. Sale, who came into the game with an ERA of 2.90, allowed the Indians to explode for six runs in 5.2 innings of work. He also coughed up three home runs and looked like a pitcher who is ready for a miserable season to come to a close. With the poor outing, Sale’s ERA climbed to 3.08 on the season and dropped his record to 11-13.
The Tribe started off slow on Sunday at the plate. They scored their first run of the game in the second inning when Matt Carson singled home Carlos Santana. Carson followed that with a solo home run in the top of the fifth to put the Indians up 2-0.
Then in the top of the sixth, the Tribe offense exploded. Nick Swisher connected for a solo home run to push the Tribe lead to 3-0. A few batters later Asdrubal Cabrera would make his presence felt. With Ryan Raburn and Carlos Santana aboard, Cabrera ripped a home run to left. The home run was Cabrera’s 14th of the season and his fifth in his last ten games. With the Indians up 6-0, it looked like they were on their way to beating the White Sox yet again.
The White Sox answered by scoring a run in the bottom half of the sixth, but it wasn’t enough. The Indians responded by plating their seventh run of the game when Nick Swisher hit his second home run of the game in the top of the ninth. Swisher, who has had his struggles this season, is now sitting at 20 home runs and 57 RBI for the season.
The Indians will next travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals. The Royals are currently 3.5 games back in the wild card race but can pull themselves right back into the wild card race with a good series against the Indians. For the Indians to keep that from happening they will need to bring their hot bat and stellar pitching along with them from Chicago.