Second Thoughts Game #24: Phillies 2, Indians 14
Tribe crushes seven home runs to beat third straight Cy Young winner
The Cleveland Indians last night defeated their third straight Cy Youngwinner this season. Two-time award winner Roy Halladay took the mound for the Phillies at Progressive Field, but his stay would be brief as the hot-swinging Tribesman tagged the right-hander for eight runs and three homers in only three and two thirds innings of work. The Indians didn’t settle for that as they went on to score six more runs and hit four more bombs in a 14-2 blowout of the Phillies in their first interleague matchup of 2013.
Cy Young Awards don’t scare Cleveland
If you had told me a month ago that the Indians would defeat R.A. Dickey,David Price and Roy Halladay in the same month, I would’ve laughed in your face. But here we are on the first day of May and the Indians have not only beaten the aforementioned aces, they’ve rocked them scoring 19 runs and hitting nine home runs over 15 combined innings. In addition, Dickey, Price and Halladay have combined for an 11.18 ERA in those three starts.
The Indians will face yet another Cy Young winner and former teammate Cliff Lee on Wednesday night. Due to the doubleheader on Sunday, the Tribe will call up top pitching prospect (and maybe even future Cy Young winner)Trevor Bauer to fill in the vacant spot in the rotation for a day.
Starting pitching settling in?
Since before the season started, the Indians starting rotation has been a hot topic of discussion and up until now, it was viewed in a very negative light. However, the past eight games have been much better as far as the starting pitching is concerned as they’ve now averaged over six innings per game since Scott Kazmir’s early exit against the Astros on April 20th with an ERA of around 4.00. Now granted those are not Detroit Tigers-type numbers from a rotation, but any form of consistency that keeps the team in ballgames and saves the bullpen is very much welcomed in Tribe Town.
When veteran starter Brett Myers went to the disabled list, everyone was talking about bringing up pitching prospects and thinking up every trade possibility imaginable as the need for starters appeared to be dire in Cleveland. Since then, Corey Kluber, Scott Kazmir and even Ubaldo Jimenez….yes that Ubaldo Jimenez….have stepped up and filled the void in the rotation at least for the time being.
Zach McAllister tossed the latest gem for Tribe starters on Tuesday night throwing seven innings of two-run ball. In five starts this season, McAllister is 2-3 with a 3.30 ERA and has been about as solid as any middle-rotation pitcher in baseball picking up right where he left off last season. Need I mention again that the Yankees gave him to the Indians for Austin Kearns? That’s always a fun fact to bring up.
Leading by example
It’s taken a little while, but I think veteran DH Jason Giambi has finally won over the majority of Tribe fans after he went 2-for-4 with a double and an infield single last night. That’s good in of itself, but on that infield single with his team already up 12 runs, Giambi still hustled and slid into first on a routine grounder and beat it out! Indians skipperTerry Francona spoke of his hustle in his postgame interview saying “If you're a young player, after you watch that, if you don't run a ball out, you should be humiliated."
Since signing with the Tribe in the offseason, Giambi has made seven starts with the team and while he isn’t putting up the MVP-caliber stats he once did, he’s shown that he can still get it done at the plate hitting two doubles, two home runs, and has six RBI's. Giambi is also a quality leader and probably the most popular guy in the clubhouse, which is something the Indians lacked during their tailspin last season.
The arrival of Carlos Santana
Since being traded to Cleveland by the Dodgers in the Casey Blake deal in 2008, a lot of hype has surrounded catcher Carlos Santana. In his first full major league season in 2011, Santana set a franchise record for home runs by a switch hitter with 27. However, he only hit .239 that year and had an overall down year in 2012 hitting .252 with only 18 homers despite going on a second half tear.
One month into 2013, Santana is leading not just the league but all of Major League Baseball in batting average at .389 and is also among the league leaders in several offensive categories. Santana’s been solid in his Indians career thus far, but if April is any indicator of what his season will be like, he may finally live up to the high expectations placed upon him. On Wednesday, Santana went 1-for-2 with a two-run shot and three walks. He now has five homers and 13 RBI’s on the year.
April in retrospect
Well, one month of the 2013 Major League Baseball season is officially in the books and for us Tribe fans, it’s been a turbulent one as we’ve been hit with injuries, inconsistency, inclement weather and several questions regarding the roster. We’ve also seen how good this team can be as they’ve now had a complete-game shutout, a walkoff win and scored double-digit runs three times already this season.
But here we are, we’ve made it through only two games under the .500 mark and still in the race sitting only three and a half games behind front-running Detroit. Many of the issues the Indians have encountered thus far can be attributed to a team trying to find its stride, but injuries and weather postponements haven’t helped matters. It does appear that things may be starting to come together as the Tribe has now won three in a row and gotten quality pitching from their starters as of late. One month in, five more to go.
Quote of the game:
"I felt like Mr. Potato Head. My parts were going everywhere." – Jason Giambi on sliding into first base on his infield single
Quick Game Facts:
- After scoring only four runs in the previous three games, the Indians have scored 33 runs over their last three.
- The Indians have now gotten seven innings from their starters in three consecutive games. First from Corey Kluber on Sunday, then Ubaldo Jimenez on Monday, now Zach McAllister on Tuesday.
- Carlos Santana’s .389 batting average is the highest for an Indians catcher for the month of April in franchise history.
- The Indians hit seven home runs in one game for only the fourth time in team history. The franchise record is eight (at Milwaukee, 1997).
- The total distance of the Indians home runs hit on Tuesday night adds up to half a mile.
Up Next: Phillies vs. Indians @ Progressive Field on Wednesday night. 7:05 ET first pitch.
The past meets up with the future. Ace left-hander Cliff Lee will come to Cleveland and face his former team for the first time and take on top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer, who could potentially be the Tribe’s future ace. It’s another Cy Young winner coming to town and the Indians should know the drill by now as they look to sweep the Phillies in this brief two-game series. Bauer was called up to make another spot-start for the Tribe as they are in need of an extra starter to complete the rotation cycle following Sunday’s doubleheader in Kansas City.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.