Second Thoughts Game #125: Indians 5, Angels 2
McAllister and Chisenhall pave way for rare series opening win
McAllister Rounding Back to Form
Over the last several weeks, the Indians have dealt with complications within their starting rotation even though they’ve been among the top in the league in post-All-Star break ERA of 3.46. With Corey Kluber injured, Scott Kazmir dealing with fatigue and Danny Salazar inching ever-closer to his predetermined innings limit, the Indians found themselves searching for an equalizer. Well Zach McAllister returning to his consistent, pre-injury self may be just what the doctor ordered.
The right-hander pitched his second straight quality start against the Angels on Monday night going six and a third innings while allowing only one run on five hits, good enough to earn him his sixth win of the year. Similar results to his last start against Minnesota plus an extra third of an inning and minus a couple strikeouts.
Consistency has always been one of McAllister’s strong points since breaking through in the majors last season. While he’s still a young pitcher and prone to have bad games now and again, his ability to put together quality starts on a regular basis has been what has made him a key component in the Indians rotation both last season and now, especially with other starters dealing with uncertainties.
It Only Takes One…
As streaky as this Indians offense has been this season, they’ve proven that it doesn’t take much to break out of a slump. While Monday night alone was no definite indication that the offense was on the cusp of another hot streak, they still put up a crooked number against one of the top pitchers in the league by scoring four runs in the fourth inning off Jered Weaver, which proved to be more than enough for the win.
At first, it didn’t appear as if the Indians would do much offensively against Weaver as he retired them with ease through the first three innings. In the top of the fourth inning, Jason Kipnis led off with a walk and a stolen base to put their first runner in scoring position on the evening. Carlos Santana followed up with an RBI single and moved to third on a double by Asdrubal Cabrera. A sac-fly from Jason Giambi and two-run homer by Lonnie Chisenhall capped off the inning.
Whether it was that sparked the offense in that fourth inning, it was definitely something that they can build off of and hopefully go on one of their infamous hot streaks. Having struggling players like Santana, Cabrera and Chisenhall all participate in the rally was also encouraging. And Nick Swisher teeing off in the top of the ninth for a solo homer was just icing on the cake.
With the pitching holding together for the most part, getting the offense back on track could keep the wild card race very tight throughout the rest of the season.
Quote of the Game:
“I just closed my eyes and chucked it,” – Nick Swisher on gunning down Mark Trumbo at the plate.
Facts and Notes:
- Angels ace Jered Weaver is 6-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his career against the Tribe in Cleveland, but only 1-3 with a 5.35 ERA when facing them in Anaheim.
- Indians left fielder Michael Brantley set a new franchise record in most consecutive errorless games by an outfielder with 213. Brantley is now tied for first among AL left fielders with a 1.000 fielding percentage as well as 10 outfield assists.
- Right-hander Danny Salazar was bumped from his originally scheduled start on Monday in order to get an extra day’s rest. He will start on Tuesday against C.J. Wilson.
- Since enduring an 0-for-19 skid, Asdrubal Cabrera has gone 5 for his last 11 (.455) with two doubles and two RBI’s over a three-game period.
- Prior to Monday night's win, the Indians had gone 0-5 in their last five series openers, however, they've still won three of those series.
Up Next: Indians vs. Angels @ Angels Stadium. 10:05 ET first pitch.
C.J. Wilson will get his second crack at the Tribe this season while Danny Salazar will face the Angels for the first time in his young major league career. Wilson won his first start in Cleveland pitching five and two thirds innings while allowing two runs.
Salazar is coming off his first rough start of the year against the Twins where he only lasted four innings while giving up three runs on three hits and two homers. The young right-hander will try to get back on track against the Halos after getting an extra day’s rest.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.