Player of the Game: Mark Reynolds (2-for-5 with a grand slam and 5 RBI)
Scoring a total of just two runs over the last two games, The Tribe offense exploded for nine runs on nine hits in route to their second straight win against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. Cleveland starter Zach McAllister left off where his teammate Justin Masterson did, as the Indians right hander McAllister picked up his first made quick work off Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale.
The Top 9
- Bats heat up. It was nice to finally see life out of the Tribe offense, as they scored early and often Saturday afternoon. The team’s biggest inning came in the sixth, as Cleveland scored six of their eight runs off Sale and cruised to the easy victory.
- McFantastic. Finally, an Indians starter the team can rely on besides Masterson. McAllister did a great job settling in after getting into trouble in the first inning. The right-hander pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up just one earned run on five hits, while striking out six without yielding a walk. I don’t think Tribe fans know just how good McAllister can be in the rotation this year, as I think he could breakout to give his team 15 wins by season’s end.
- Swishalicious. Don’t tell me you weren’t smiling with Nick Swisher after he blasted his first home run as an Indian in the first inning. The Tribe first baseman is really heating up after coming to Cleveland, as he went 6-for-11 through his first four games at Progressive Field. With his two hits on Saturday, Swisher also extended his Progressive Field hitting streak to 20 straight games.
- Everything on Sale. What is it about defeating opposing aces this season? First R.A. Dickey, then David Price, and now Sale. Coming into the game having never lost to the Tribe in his career, Sale wouldn’t last past the fifth inning. The eight earned runs he gave up were the most the left-hander surrendered in a game in his career.
- Gomes goes yard. In his second straight start behind the plate, catcher Yan Gomes hit his first home run as an Indian in the fifth inning. It was also his first hit as a member of the Tribe, as he has done a decent job filling in for the injured Carlos Santana.
- Grand Slam blast. What else is left to say about Mark Reynolds? He is the right-handed slugger the Indians have been in search for over the past five years. His huge grand slam in the fifth inning now gives him a team high five homers and 13 RBI through the team’s first 10 games.
- Bullpen rest. For the second straight game, the Tribe bullpen was hardly used, as McAllister would pitch through the sixth inning. Bryan Shaw, Nick Hagadone and Joe Smith came into relieve, while Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez stayed in the pen. The Indians two backend guys haven’t pitched in a week.
- Keeping momentum. After the Tribe’s walk-off win on Friday night, it was nice to see the Indians keep that momentum alive with another victory on Saturday. It’s important for Cleveland to win these early season series’ as they look to make their mark on the Central Division early.
- Win the series. With the win against the Pale Hose, Cleveland won their second series of the season. Defeating division opponents is what it is all about when trying to contend, and the Tribe did just that as they look for the sweep on Sunday.
The Bottom 3
- Errors continue. McAllister gave up just one run in the ballgame, but would also yield two unearned runs after Reynolds’ throwing error in the first inning. Already, it was the Indians ninth error through the team’s first 10 games.
- Brantley struggling? After going 6-for-11 at the plate through the first three games, Michael Brantley has just two hits in his last 20 at-bats. With players like Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera still in a early season slump themselves, the Indians need Brantley to snap out of it fast.
- Attendence. With a game time temperature of 44 degrees, only 11,422 fans braved the cold downtown weather in Saturday afternoon’s contest. I don’t want to get on fans too hard for not attending games yet, but I know many fans in this “Tribe Town” are also Browns fans. If you “fans” can brave the cold weather for those games year after year, there’s no excuse to not being able to attend Indians games in colder months like April.
With the win against Chicago, the Indians move back to .500 on the season with a 5-5 record, just a half game in back of first place in the American League Central Division.
Up next for the Indians: The rubber match of the three game series Sunday afternoon, as it will be Brett Myers (0-1, 12.19 ERA) taking on Jake Peavy (1-1, 5.56 ERA).
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.