Second Thoughts: Game #144 Indians 5, Rangers 4
Soon we will start to hear commentators talk about a team’s magic number. As most of you know the magic number refers to the number of wins a team needs to clinch either their division or a playoff spot. The Indians of course are no playoff team but they still have a magic number, the number four. They need to win four games out of their last 19 in order to avoid a hundred losses. To try and secure the first of those four magical wins the Indians sent Zach McAllister to the hill against Rangers’ left-hander Derek Holland Thursday night in Arlington.
- Adrian Beltre singled, then Nelson Cruz doubled and finally Michael Young singled home one run giving Texas a 1-0 advantage in the fourth.
- Mitch Moreland hit a possible double-play ball (that would have ended the inning) to Jack Hannahan, who flipped to second for one and then Brent Lillibridge airmailed the relay into the first-base dugout. 2-0 Texas, still in the fourth.
- Vinny Rottino gets his first hit as an Indian and Matt LaPorta crushes a two-run homer to deep centerfield. Indians tie the score at two.
- Elvis Andrus reaches and advances to second on another horrible throw from Brent Lillibridge. Adrian Beltre is intentionally walked followed by Nelson Cruz grounding sharply to Jack Hannahan at third. It was a do-or-die hop for Hannahan who couldn’t come up with it (and was charged with an error, probably unfairly) and Andrus scores making it 3-2 Texas.
- Michael Young singles to center scoring Adrian Beltre, stretching the Texas lead to 4-2.
- Ezequiel Carrera hit a solo homerun off Joe Nathan in the ninth, cutting the Texas lead to 4-3.
- Russ Canzler notched a pinch-hit single and then Jason Kipnis absolutely smoked a Joe Nathan offering into the right-field bleachers as Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux was calling the bullpen for reinforcements. Indians take the lead in the top of the ninth, 5-4.
Zach McAllister: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 K, 0 BB
- McAllister rebounded nicely only giving up one earned run against a powerful Texas lineup in Arlington.
- It was nothing spectacular from McAllister, he worked the ball low in the zone and kept the Indians in the game. All-in-all a very solid outing, for McAllister.
- The most important thing for McAllister was that he gave his team a chance to win against one of the best offenses in the league.
- Too many missed opportunities. The Indians had Derek Holland in a jam three times. Each time he escaped unscathed. So many Indians putting up so many bad at-bats. The difference in the quality of at-bats between the Rangers’ hitters and some of the Indians’ hitters was hard to handle at times.
- LaPorta put a nice swing on a fastball from Derek Holland for his first home run of the year. It was a timely hit for sure, but nothing to get too excited about, as LaPorta still couldn’t hit a curveball with an ironing board.
- Another missed opportunity in the eighth when the Tribe loaded the bases with one out. Alexi Ogando got the call from the bullpen and shot down the Tribe threat.
- Very nice to see Kipnis get under a ball in the ninth. He looks tired as he is just rolling over on most pitches but he focused when up against Nathan last night in the ninth.
- Brent Lillibridge needs to be gone. It was a dumb trade to begin with and Lillibridge has made it worse with his defense. I have spent the last month looking for an answer as to why Lillibridge plays so much, but he can’t hit, he strikes out a ton and he can’t play defense. A utility player who can’t play defense isn’t much help, even to a team of the Indians’ caliber. Time to cut our losses and give his playing to someone (anyone) else – Cord Phelps?
- Asdrubal Cabrera (previously out with a sore right wrist) came in to replace Brent Lillibridge after the Indians took the lead in the ninth. I can’t say I have ever been happier to see an injured player on the field. I get the feeling someone couldn’t stomach anymore of Lillibridge at short either.
Esmil Rogers: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K, 0 BB
Joe Smith: 1/3 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 K, 1 BB
Scott Maine: 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 K, 0 BB
Chris Perez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB
- Another solid outing from Rogers who has put together a good year since joining the Indians.
- Joe Smith really didn’t pitch that poorly. Lillibridge certainly got the inning off to a rough start and Hannahan couldn’t make the tough play to bail Smith out.
- Maine gave up a hit to the first batter he faced but then regrouped and got out of the inning. A small thing at the time but Maine being able to end the Rangers’ rally at two runs turned out to be huge.
- Perez looked good. He gave up a triple to Andrus (which kept his hitting streak alive against the Indians in his last at-bat of the game) but then convincingly struck out David Murphy to end the game.
The Tigers come to town this weekend for a big series as they are one game behind Chicago in the AL Central standings. It was nice to see some life and spark from the Indians offense late in the game Thursday. Here’s to hoping they can continue it against the Tigers this weekend, and most importantly the magic number is down to three.
Just amazing. I believe it's the best one-season performance by an opposing hitter against the Indians in their history.