Second Thoughts: Game #157 Indians 8, Royals 5
W: D. Huff (3-0) L: W. Smith (6-9) S: C. Perez (39)
Player of the Game: David Huff (6 innings 8 hits 3 ER 0 BB 5 SO)
The Indians may still be tied for last place, still a 90 loss team and still eliminated from the postseason, but for one night, there was reason to celebrate in the clubhouse in late September, as Sandy Alomar Jr. picked up his the first managerial win of his career as Tribe manager. The Indians offense would stay hot on a cool fall night, as Cleveland defeated the Royals 8-5.
Tribe starter David Huff looked sharp, tossing six quality innings giving up just three earned runs to keep his record undefeated while moving to 3-0 this season.
The Top 9.
- Alomar picks up first win. It’s just starting to sink in now that Sandy Alomar Jr., the catcher we as Tribe fans watched for 11 seasons behind the plate at Jacobs Field, is the new Indians interim manager. Whether he is retained as the new manager in 2013, Alomar will always remember Friday night’s ballgame. As it stands today, the former Cleveland catcher is the favorite of two candidates so far for the head position, the other being former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
- Offense stays hot. For the seventh time in the last eight games and for the ninth time over their last 11 games, the Indians collected double-digit hits in a ballgame. Say what you will about the team’s dismal August, Cleveland has played with some moxy down the stretch and is finally playing well under no pressure or stress.
- Undefeated Huff. Another start and another win for Tribe left-hander David Huff, who moves to 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA on the season. Although he is already 28 years old, it should be interesting to see if Huff fits into the Indians plans as a potential starter in 2013. There’s no question with a good September like he has had, Huff should at least get one last look to make the club come spring training.
- Three players with three hits. Cord Phelps, Lonnie Chisenhall and Ezequiel Carrera each had three hits on the night, going a combined 9-for-14 with three RBI. It was a career day for Phelps as his three hits was a career-high for him. What came as a surprise were Chisenhall’s three hits, all against left-handers, as the Tribe third baseman had just three hits the entire season against lefties coming into the ballgame.
- Bottom of the order. It was the bottom third of the order of Brent Lillibridge, Chisenhall and Carrera that helped push the Tribe offense over the top last night. The bottom three went a combined 8-for-12 with two RBI and six runs scored.
- Defeating Will Smith. It was just one short week ago in his last start that Kansas City starter Will Smith defeated the Tribe and limited the offense to just two runs over seven innings. Cleveland made some adjustments and got to Smith early as the left-hander would go just three innings and gave up six runs on nine hits on the night.
- We are all Kipnisses in September. After hitting just .180 in August, Jason Kipnis has regained some of his early season stroke here in September. With another hit in yesterday’s ballgame, the Indians second baseman extended his hitting streak to 10 games on the season. Over his last 10 games, Kipnis is hitting .311 with eight RBI and four stolen bases.
- More hitting streaks continue. It wasn’t only Kipnis that would extend his hitting streak Friday night, as Shin-Soo Choo (eight games), Carrera (six games) and Russ Canzler (five games) each extended their respectful hitting streaks as well. Over his last five games, Canzler is hitting .467 (10-for-21) with a double, two home runs and four RBI.
- Perez nails down another save. Indians closer Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his 39th save of the season, his third consecutive save in the last three games. What made this save even more special is that Perez handed the game ball to Alomar, as the team sprayed and congratulated their new skipper in the clubhouse.
The Bottom 2
- Leaving 11 RISP. Despite collecting 16 hits on the night, the Tribe also left 11 runners in scoring position on Friday night, leaving at least two runners on base in three of the first five innings.
- Santana and Kotchman. Carlos Santana and Casey Kotchman were the only two Indians hitters on the night that did not join in on the offensive parade going a combined 0-for-9 with three strikeouts yesterday.
With the Tribe and Minnesota Twins both winners Friday night, Cleveland (66-91) remains tied for last place in the American League Central Division.
Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try and take the series on Saturday, as it will be Jeanmar Gomez (5-8, 5.54 ERA) against Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 5.06 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. Gomez will be making his first start since Sept. 12, when the Indians right-hander struggled giving up five earned runs in just four innings against the Texas Rangers. Odorizzi will be facing a familiar opponent in the Tribe on Saturday as his only big league start came against Cleveland less than a week ago on Sept. 23. The Royals right-hander pitched well in his only start in the majors, going 5 1/3 innings while giving up three earned runs for his first career major league loss.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is Canzler for real or is this a late-season mirage? He sure looks comfortable at the plate and he's swinging the bat well. Unlike Shelly Duncan he'll hit the ball up the middle or to right field if that's where it's pitched.
Huff is definitely working himself back into the picture, but that's mainly because Tomlin is out next year and Hernandez and Gomez have been so bad.