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Second Thoughts Game #154: Astros 1, Indians 2

Rain washes Tribe to victory and possession of wild card spot

Second Thoughts Game #154: Astros 1, Indians 2
September 21, 2013
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A Win’s A Win

Earned runs, unearned runs, walks, hits, errors, extra innings, rain… In the end, it doesn’t matter how you win since they’re all chalked up the same in the win column. On Friday night, the Indians took game two of the four-game set against the lowly Astros 2-1 in a rain-shortened six and a half innings of play.

Both runs of the game were unearned thanks to three errors by the Astros’ defense. The only official RBI was awarded to Mike Aviles, who drove in Carlos Santana with a groundout. The other was scored on a pair of consecutive throwing errors in the fourth. The Astros only run came in the second on a solo homer by Brandon Laird.

McAllister: Dominant or Lucky?

If you looked at the box score, you’d see that Zach McAllister only allowed a run on four hits in five innings of work. It looks solid, but anyone who watched the game itself could tell that the right-hander did not have his best stuff. He worked a lot of full counts on hitters and wiggled out of a couple jams, including a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the fifth where he induced an inning-ending double play to get out of it.

Since returning from injury, it’s become evident that McAllister has not been the same aggressive, consistent starter the Indians had come to know in the first half of the year. Sans a handful of dominant starts, McAllister has noticeably veered away from the attack mode style of pitching that he used to take to the mound every five days.

The problem is much of his success thus far has been attributed to that aggressiveness in the strike zone. Getting ahead in the count to set up his primary weapon, the high heater, has been his calling card since coming up to the majors. Unless he figures out a new game plan that can work effectively for him, he’d be best off getting back to that plan of attack.

Tribe in the Drivers’ Seat

It’s September 21st. Eight games remain in the regular season and the Cleveland Indians are now in possession of one of the two American League wild card spots. They are now at the point where they control their own destiny. A favorable schedule lies ahead of them while the other wild card contenders battle it out against each other.

It’s been a terrific month of September for the Indians as they have gone 13-6 with a league-leading 2.93 ERA from their pitching staff. They’ve now clinched their first winning season in six years and have improved on their 2012 win total by 16 games. Now for the time being, they control one of the wild card spots as they head into the final stretch. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but still a little ways to go.

Facts and Notes:

  • With Friday night’s win, the Indians set a new season high-water mark at 14 games over .500.
  • Indians reliever Bryan Shaw has not allowed an earned run in nine appearances in September. The last runs he allowed were on August 31st in Detroit.
  • Indians ace Justin Masterson threw a 33-pitch bullpen session on Friday with no issue. He’ll be reevaluated on Saturday and could be scheduled to pitch a simulated game before being activated from the DL.
  • The Indians’ improved their 2013 record in one-run games to 28-17 (.622). That mark is second only to the Yankees for the best in baseball this season.
  • Despite not allowing an earned run, Astros rookie lefty Brett Oberholtzer was handed the loss.

Up Next: Astros vs. Indians @ Progressive Field. First pitch at 6:05pm ET.

Indians lefty Scott Kazmir will try to bounce back against the team from his native Houston as the Tribe aims to continue their winning ways and claim a series victory against the lowly Astros. He has lost his last two starts and gone 3-5 with a 4.42 ERA in his last ten starts. Kazmir will look to improve on his first start against the ‘Stros, which was also his first start as an Indian, where he allowed six runs in just three and a third innings of work way back in April.

Houston will send right-hander Paul Clemens to the mound for game three. Clemens will be making just his fourth start of the year after moving out of the bullpen. He has struggled posting a 5.54 ERA overall, but has a 3.24 ERA as a starter. Clemens has made one appearance against the Tribe out of the bullpen and only allowed one hit over three and a third innings.

Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.

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