After two separate delays, Indians and White Sox Put on Pitching Clinic
After offense dominated the first three games of the Indians and White Sox four-game series, pitching took center stage on Sunday. Despite two separate delay totaling almost two full hours, the Indians eventually fell to the White Sox 4-3 in dramatic fashion.
As the rain fell in Chicago on Sunday, Corey Kluber more than likely couldn’t help but think, “Not again.” After having both of his first two starts postponed due to rain, Kluber looked to be on his way to a third straight rain out. Not only that, he was probably looking at being permanently dubbed Rain Man by his teammates. However, after about an hour and a half, things got under way and Kluber began his assault on the White Sox lineup.
In his 7-plus innings of work, Kluber held the White Sox lineup mostly in check, even with a rain delay thrown in during the fourth inning. His final line for the day, 7.1 innings with two runs allowed on 8 hits with 6 strikeouts and no walks. It was a superb start and the second time he has gone deep into the game for the second time in as many starts. It was all for naught, though, as Kluber was forced to take the no decision.
The Indians scored the first run of the game off of White Sox starter Jose Quintana in the top of the fourth innings. Michael Brantley lined a Qunitana offering over the wall in right field. The solo shot put the Tribe up with 1-0 and had it not been for the looming rain delay, it may have been all the Indians needed to get the win.
Unfortunately, following the 40+ minute rain delay, Corey Kluber allowed a run to cross the plate. with a runner on third, Dayan Viciedo came through with an RBI single to tie the game up at 1-1. The score remained 1-1 up until the bottom of the eighth inning.
With one out in the frame and the count 3-2 to Marcus Semien, Kluber grooved a 94 mph fastball down the heart of the plate. Semien didn’t miss and crushed a solo home run to left field. That home run ended Kluber’s day and put the White Sox up by a score of 2-1. With the way the Indians were hitting, things looked grim, at best.
However, the Indians have dominated the ninth innings so far in the young season and Sunday was no different. Michael Brantley led things off, reaching on an error. Yan Gome followed with a single to right, putting runners at first and second with no one out. David Murphy, who has been red-hot to start the year, singled to score Brantley. Mike Aviles followed with a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners.
And then Asdrubal Cabrera stepped to the plate. For reasons that can’t be easily explained other than to say that the baseball gods are cruel, these situations continue to find Cabrera. And, like he has so many time previously, Cabrera swung at the first pitch, grounding out weakly to first. That sound you heard was the face palming of Indians fans everywhere.
Luckily, Matt Lindstrom and Tyler Flowers bailed Cabrera out in a big way. Lindstrom through a wild pitch that Flowers was only partially able to block. It scooted away just far enough to allow Gomes to score the go ahead run from third. After Nick Swisher grounded out to end the inning, the Indians led 3-2 with John Axford entering the game.
Unfortunately, Sunday just wasn’t Axford’s day. After walking Jordan Danks to lead-off the innings, and subsequently steal second base, he allowed the biggest hit of the game. With one out, Alexei Ramirez, who has been red-hot to start the season, hitting safely in every game and leading the major’s in almost every major offensive category, homered to left to end the game, 4-3. It was Axford’s first blown save of the season and sends the Indians traveling out of Chicago gone game below .500
The Indians will have the day off on Monday and then travel to Detroit to take on the Tigers starting on Tuesday. First pitch of that game is scheduled for 7:08 with Zach McAllister taking on Anibal Sanchez.