May 22, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley (23) singles in the thirteenth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Indians defeated the Orioles 8-7 in thirteen innings. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Indians Squash Diamondbacks to Split Series


The Cleveland Indians ended their second four-game losing streak in the month of June by taking the second game of a two-game series from the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Wednesday night, 6-1. The Indians were in control of the game from the start, led by a leadoff triple down the right field line that was misplayed by Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra (who wanted a ground-rule double called due to the ball being “stuck” near a security guard). Asdrubal Cabrera drove in Bourn with a sacrifice fly to get the scoring started. A home run in the top of the 2nd from Yan Gomes increased to lead to 2-0, and another triple by Bourn led to a 3-0 lead after three when Michael Brantley had an RBI ground-out to score the Tribe center fielder. Brantley wasn’t finished, however, hitting a solo bomb to right off of Chase Anderson to lead off the top of the 5th inning. The Indians continued to slowly poor it on with two more runs in the top of the 7th, as Brantley scored, after being walked, on a Jason Kipnis double, as Kipnis would score when the next hitter, Lonnie Chisenhall, singled to left center to finish off the Tribe assault. Things got a little shaky in the bottom of the 9th when Marc Rzepczynski walked two and allowed a run, but Cody Allen came in to shut things down.

Corey Kluber recorded his first career hit in the top of the 4th to go along with another dominant performance from the Indians’ ace. After a 14-inning marathon on Tuesday night, which left Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Crockett, and Bryan Shaw unavailable, Kluber manned up and tossed seven shutout innings (113 pitches, 74 strikes), striking out eight, walking one, and allowing just four hits, lowering his ERA to 3.10 on the season. He has gone seven or more innings in nine of his 17 starts. He is now 7-5 on the season, while Chase Anderson lost his third straight start for Arizona to fall to 5-3.

The Positives

Michael Bourn was on base on Wednesday night four times, scoring twice. Bourn had struggled over his previous 19 games, posting a .205/.255/.216 line over 94 plate appearances that led his OPS to drop from a season high .776 on June 3 to .663 prior to Wednesday’s game. Bourn’s two triples put him one behind Rangers’ outfielder Alex Rios, Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford, and Dodgers’ second baseman Dee Gordon, who are tied at eight triples to lead MLB.

- One word: Kluber.

- Michael Brantley continues to rake. His wRC+ is up to 162, which ranks in the top 10 in MLB, and he is on pace to shatter his career bests in runs scores, home runs, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS, while posting a WAR over 3.0 for the first time in his career. If he had any defensive value, he’d likely rank near Mike Trout and Troy Tulowitzki in player value at this point in the 2014 season; however, Brantley continues to have negative defensive value (-4 Defensive Runs Saved, -14.8 UZR/150).

- Cody Allen has struck out 15 of the 35 batters that he has faced in June. Dominant.

The Negatives

Nick Swisher made a pinch-hit appearance and he struck out. The 33-year-old has struck out in 19 of his 39 at-bats since returning from the disabled list on June 12, meaning he has a 48.7 percent strikeout rate since returning. It’s a small sample size, but if Swisher doesn’t get it turned around quickly, he may be forced into a part-time role, even when Cleveland returns to playing in American League ballparks.

- Marc Rzepczynski wasn’t able to keep Cody Allen from making his 38th appearance of the season. “Scrabble” has now walked 15 batters in 28.1 innings.

David Murphy continues to struggle in June. After going 0-for-4 on Wednesday night, he is now just 2-for-41 since June 11 (.049).

Check It Out

- If you had tickets to the June 18th rainout, the game will be made up on September 8 at 1:05 PM EST. Fans holding tickets for the June 18 game can exchange their tickets for the September 8 game, but if they’re unable to attend that game, they can choose the July 30 or August 12 games as alternatives.

- The Indians were the last team to play an extra-inning game in the 2014 season before doing so on May 5 against the Minnesota Twins. They have played nine extra-inning games since, including Tuesday’s game, going 6-3.

- Kluber had his first hit, but the last extra-base hit by an Indians pitcher was a C.C. Sabathia home run back in 2008.

- Francisco Lindor, who was injured Wednesday afternoon at Double-A Akron when a ground ball hit him in the face, should be fine:

 

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