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Second Thoughts Game #26: Indians 7, Twins 6

Stubbs drives Indians to walkoff win in extra innings with RBI double

Second Thoughts Game #26: Indians 7, Twins 6
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This is a game where even when it felt like we were going to lose, they still win. That’s just the way this team has been rolling this past week. Center fielder Drew Stubbs had a career night going 4-for-5 with three doubles including a walkoff RBI double in the 10th inning. Justin Masterson bobbed and weaved and struggled with his command all night, but still gave the Tribe six and two-thirds innings and kept them in the game as he walked away with a no-decision, but the Tribe is now back at the .500 mark at 13-13 and now taken over third place in the division as they are now riding a five-game winning streak.

Drew Stubbs Heating Up

I’ve been advocating Stubbs since Cleveland acquired him from the Reds in the Shin-Soo ChooTrevor Bauer trade this offseason. I think getting away from the pressures he was under in Cincinnati and coming to the Tribe where expectations are much lower and he has plenty of protection in the lineup. So far, Stubbs has responded well as he has now raised his batting average to .284 with three straight multi-hit games.

Stubbs already provides value through his defense and speed on the base paths, but he has the ability to hit and hit for some power if he finds a groove at the plate, which he seems to be finding as of late. His downside is he strikes out a lot, something which hasn’t changed all that much this season, but he appears to be seeing pitches better so far this season and making good contact especially in recent games.

Another Mega Mark Moonshot

I know it’s only May, but if the Indians have any plans of signing Mark Reynolds to a contract extension, it better be soon before he hits himself out of their price range. The Indians infielder and DH clubbed – and I mean absolutely crushed – his ninth home run of the season in the fifth inning driving in his 23rd and 24th RBI. Reynolds belted a 1-2 pitch from left-hander Pedro Hernandez high and deep into the bleachers over the 19-foot wall in left-center field.

Reynolds is now tied for the league lead in homers at nine and is fifth in RBI at 24. Reynolds is also in the top five in slugging percentage (.641) and OPS (1.003) and after one month of play is still hitting .293. His career numbers indicate that he will hit his peaks and valleys throughout the course of the season. However, it does appear from the outset that we’re getting the Mark Reynolds closer resembling the Diamondbacks slugger than the guy who only hit 23 homers for Baltimore last season.

Masterson Battling Command Issues

Over his past few starts, Justin Masterson has not had his best stuff and has struggled with his command. But despite his issues on Friday night, the right-hander still managed to pitch six and two-thirds innings and gave the team a chance to win, which is all you can ask for from a starting rotation that has had bouts with inconsistency and is not expected to be dominant in games.

The command issues have been prominent in Masterson’s last two starts after an unbelievable start to the season. He has now given up 12 earned runs in his last two starts combined. His pitches have been up and his sinker and slider haven’t had as much movement as we’ve seen this season. The big difference between this season and last season is Masterson, for the most part, has been able to work around his in-game issues and still go deep into games and keep the Tribe in the game, which goes to show how much he’s matured as a top-of-the-rotation starter since last season.

Quote of the Game

“To get to go out there and run around and act like kids, even though most of us are grown men, these kind of nights are fun." – Mark Reynolds on walkoff wins.

Quick Game Facts

  • Drew Stubbs is just second player in Indians history since 1916 to have four hits three doubles from ninth spot in the lineup. The other was right-handed pitcher George Uhle on June 1st, 1923 vs. Detroit.
  • Justin Masterson now has 44 strikeouts after his first seven starts of 2013. He only had 29 after seven starts in 2012.
  • Indians now have a five-game winning streak - their longest since 2011.
  • After being outscored 21-12 by opposing teams last week, the Indians bats have come alive to outslug their opponents 46-11 over their last five games.

Up Next: Twins vs. Indians @ Progressive Field. First pitch at 1:05pm ET.

Scott Kazmir will make just his third start for the Indians. After a rough debut against the Astros two weeks ago, Kazmir rebounded in Kansas City with five innings of two-run ball against the Royals. The left-hander will attempt to put back-to-back quality starts together as his MLB comeback effort continues. Right-hander Kevin Correia will toe the rubber against the Tribe.

Correia is off to a good start this season going 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA and averaging over seven innings per start. Against the Tribe, Correia has only one career start, which he lost despite only giving up two runs (one earned) run over five and two-thirds innings.

Follow me on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake for all the latest Cleveland Indians news and baseball chat.


 

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

User Comments

yourtribe
May 4, 2013 - 12:47 PM EDT
agree. felt like we would let it slip away. and we kept battling. a good sign. like this team.

we need to extend reynolds, I agree. he will cool down, but even so, a nice bat to have. and we have nothing in the minors right now to replace him. and as an added bonus, he's shown a good glove at 3d and 1st. a nice versatile player.

why does cabrera continue to swing at first balls that aren't even good pitches? He should know better by now and did it 2 or 3 times last night. just don't get it.
Earl
May 4, 2013 - 12:38 PM EDT
I agree with rick, Bauer and Carrasco could give us a better than average pitching staff soon.
Jake Dungan
May 4, 2013 - 11:55 AM EDT
Francona cleared things up regarding his bullpen management this morning. Vinnie Pestano was dealing with minor elbow soreness and was unavailable. Hence why Tito didn't go to Smith in the 7th inning. Vinnie threw this morning and says he feels better, but Francona will give him another day off just to be safe.
Seth
May 4, 2013 - 11:52 AM EDT
Having seen more of Allen I can see why they like him, but he's still erratic, and I don't get why Francona's trusting him in that situation, rather than going with Joe Smith. The biggest problem was the only lefty in the bullpen was Rich Hill, and were he on the roster, Hagadone would've made sense. 6 right-handed relievers and 1 left-handed is unnecessary, especially when historically Pestano, Shaw and Joe Smith don't have great success against lefties. Gomes had a very bad game, not even getting a throw off to allow a stolen base, and then that passed ball directly led to the 3 runs that inning. If the guy's at first, then Aviles gets the weak grounder hit against the shift and Masterson's out of the inning.
rick
May 4, 2013 - 11:36 AM EDT
It was a crushing blow when Allen came in and gave up the lead. I was 'monitoring' via the net - not watching.

Then I saw the MLB highlights. He got beat on a so so breaking ball. More importantly though was that Tito let him in for another full inning and the kid did the job.

Another note - everyone has been raving about Gomes behind the dish - but that does make for a rookie battery in a high leverage situation.

I know this is a coddling post Seth - but - I really believe Allen can be special. And I trust Francona. For a contrast look at my #2 team here in Arizona. Nagy and 'Crash Davis' Gibson have had a too firm disciplinary hand in wreaking their middle to late relief. It's been a train wreck.

The good news in Cleveland is that the Bats have been humming and now has picked up the pitching when it's wilted a few times.

If this team can keep this rolling and hang in until July - and then get both Bauer and Carrasco at their potential contribuiting - this could be a very fun summer.
Seth
May 4, 2013 - 10:58 AM EDT
Overall a good game, one of the few close games they've played this year. It does however show exactly why it's questionable to send down Hagadone rather than one of the right-handers. Cody Allen facing a lefty, needing to get one out, and giving up a home run.

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