The Indians ended their four-game losing streak with a win at Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon in Boston. Cleveland was the beneficiary of an error at home, when Dustin Pedroia‘s throw to get Asdrubal Cabrera on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jason Kipnis was dropped by Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, resulting in a tie game in the top of the seventh. Craig Breslow would walk the bases loaded, resulting in his removal from the game, when Junichi Tazawa would walk in the eventual winning run when Carlos Santana drew a walk that scored Michael Brantley to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Indians.
In what could have been T.J. House‘s final start before Zach McAllister rejoins the rotation next week in Cleveland, the 24-year-old left-hander pitched 5.1 solid innings (95 pitches), allowing two earned runs, while striking out three and walking one. House only has one quality start in five starts, but he certainly earned another opportunity if he ends up being sent down next week. John Axford picked up the win (2-3) and he has allowed just one earned run over his last nine appearances (9.2 innings), while posting a 12:1 K:BB over those outings. Cody Allen earned his seventh save, while Breslow fell to 2-2 on the year by taking the loss for Boston.
Lonnie Chisenhall was patient, potentially adding to the extreme value that he has already showcased in 2014. While he didn’t have a hit today, Chisenhall saw 33 pitches in his five plate appearances, drawing two walks. He worked Jake Peavy in a 10 pitch at-bat late in the game, which helped lead to his early exit…which led to Breslow coming in and the Indians taking the lead. Going into Saturday, Chisenhall had a career 4.8 percent walk rate, having seen roughly 3.7 pitches per plate appearance in his career. As a comparison, Carlos Santana sees about 4.3 pitches per plate appearance. The at-bats that Chisenhall had on Saturday may not have led to any hits, but they played a huge role in the outcome of the game.
In 11 appearances since May 20, Cody Allen has pitched 11 innings, posting a 12:5 K:BB and a 1.63 ERA while earning six saves. Terry Francona has mentioned Axford taking the closer position back at some point this season, and he has earned another look with his own impressive numbers (mentioned above), but it would be awfully hard to pull Allen off with the grasp he appears to have on that role. Two dominant end-game relievers isn’t a bad thing, though, at least, not until arbitration numbers are passed between agent and management.
The Indians were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They ranked 13th in MLB in RISP batting average going into the game (.250), but, even though the Tribe may seem inept at times, they are 4th in MLB in runs scored. Leaving 10 men on base, as they did on Saturday, would have looked really bad without the “W” today.
Here’s to hoping that the Indians don’t have to face Boston in the playoffs, and, particularly, need to score a run with Koji Uehara on the mound late in a game. In his career against Cleveland, Indians’ hitters are now just 6-for-58 (.103) with 21 strikeouts. Uehara’s splitter made Nick Swisher look like he had never faced major league pitching, and it could be one of the most dominant pitches in history this side of Mariano Rivera‘s cutter. It appears nearly unhittable.
Check It Out
– Boston still loves Francona. He received a loud ovation from the crowd when he went out to check on Michael Bourn after he appeared to pull up a bit on his third inning single. Francona, of course, was the manager of the Red Sox when they won the 2004 and 2007 World Series after a long, long, Babe Ruth-sold-to-the-Yankees-curse “prevented” them from doing so.
– If you’re interested in attending next Saturday’s Hall of Fame induction and jersey giveaway for Omar Vizquel, you may want to act quickly. After looking at tickets online this afternoon, half of Progressive Field sections appear to have ZERO seats remaining. That’s right, folks. You may be looking at a sellout!
– Corey Kluber (6-4, 3.35 ERA) will face Brandon Workman (1-0, 2.86 ERA) in the series finale on Sunday. The Indians are hoping for a series split with their ace on the mound. Workman has pitched very well as a starter, allowing a .182/.267/.260 triple-slash over four starts and 22 innings.
– With no off days until June 23, be prepared to see a lot of changes to the roster and lineup due to the need for fresh arms and legs.