July 31, 2014

Indians win 6-4, knock White Sox out of first place

Baseball is a really weird sport. Well, maybe not weird so much as it has a really grueling, long season with streaks, peaks and unfortunately for the Indians, collapses. What in the world am I talking about? I’m filling in for TD today on the recap, so I’ll just lean on him anyway. These were some of his comments on Twitter last night.

I cannot believe this White Sox team has been in first place this long. Talk about unimpressive.

Stat of the year: The Indians have been in first place 40 days this season. The Tigers? Counting (yesterday,) 38.

Seriously, the AL Central doesn’t deserve a playoff team. The Sox are fighting for their lives with Hector Santiago and Brian Omogrosso?

And that’s always been such an interesting thing about baseball this time of year. Pennant races are being decided not by Johnny Damon, but Russ Canzler. They’re being decided by Ezequiel Carrera and Vinnie Rottino instead of Grady Sizemore. And now when it matters most for the White Sox and least for the Indians, the Tribe plays the role of spoiler.

It was the continuation of a forgettable year for Tribe “ace” Justin Masterson who was chased with two outs in the fifth inning having given up four runs on seven hits. It’s hard to have a good performance when you’re over 100 pitches before the end of the fifth inning. It’s also tough when you take a two-out run delivered by your offense in the bottom of the first and respond by giving the White Sox three in the top half.

Russ Canzler singled to center in the first scoring Jason Kipnis with two out. With all due warnings based on the time of year, it is fun to watch Canzler produce. He hasn’t even had 100 at-bats yet, and the games he’s played in haven’t been meaningful, but it sure beats the alternative. The kid is batting over 0.300 and had two homers and four RBI in the three-game series with the White Sox.

Fast-forward to the seventh inning with the game tied at four thanks to the bullpen mixture of Frank Herrmann, Tony Sipp, and Joe Smith. The Indians score the go-ahead run thanks to a Lou Marson walk, Zeke Carrera double and a well-placed groundout by Shin-Soo Choo scoring Marson. That was followed up by an eighth inning insurance run via Vinnie Rottino bomb. Yep. Vinnie Rottino. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I hadn’t truly seen Rottino play (I don’t believe) before last night.

Chris Perez finished the Sox off for his 38th save of the year. Somehow he was able to coax notorious Indian killer Paul Konerko to pop out to end the game. He also started a pretty impressive double play – pitcher-to-shortstop-to-first – where thankfully Kevin Youkilis was “running.” For Perez it’s just another day at the office this year. For everything that’s gone on with him and the team and the fans, it is pretty astonishing to consider he’s basically had five bad games all season.

And then there were six… games left in the season. The Indians have three with KC, before wrapping up the whole shebang against the White Sox from Oct 1-3.

Other notes from the game… Asdrubal Cabrera left in the first inning with a back strain. He was replaced by Brent Lillibridge.

(AP Photo – Nam Y. Huh)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Just makes what the front office did or more like didn’t do all that worse if you ask me.

  • mgbode

    “It’s hard to have a good performance when you’re over 100 pitches before the end of the fifth inning.”

    Funny enough, Zach Greinke did just that for the Angels. 107pitches in 5IP. Of course, getting 13SO in those 5IP helped matters for him.

  • Wow

    The most frustrating thing for me is how mediocre and winnable the division was this year. A few moves, trades, or free agents could have made a huge difference. What if indeed.

  • markn95

    Gotta agree. Usually I don’t give “September stats” a second look; they’re almost as bad as preseason football. (Too bad the Tribe front office doesn’t take the same philosophy–Shelly Duncan feasted on Triple A pitching last September and parlayed that into being the team’s Opening Day LF this year). But I’m willing to cut Canzler a little slack. His series against the Sox came against a team fighting for their playoff lives. In particular, his 2 homers were off two Tribe-killing-lefties in Sale and Liriano. I don’t think he should be next year’s starting LF (or even 1B or DH) but a roster spot if definitely in order.