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Second Thoughts Game #30: A's 0, Indians 1

McAllister and Gomes team up to deliver Tribe in pitcher’s duel

Second Thoughts Game #30: A's 0, Indians 1
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Big Mac does it again

I never get tired of bringing up the fact that we got Zach McAllister forAustin Kearns. And with each start, that joke becomes even funnier. The right-hander put together arguably his most dominant start ever in an Indians uniform pitching seven and two-thirds innings on Tuesday night in a 1-0 Tribe victory over Oakland. McAllister allowed five hits and a walk, but no runner ever reached second base. He also struck out four in the game.

McAllister has picked up right where he left off last season and so far this year has been the Indians’ most consistent starter. In six starts thus far, the right-hander is averaging six and two-thirds innings and less than two earned runs per start. McAllister is not a consistently dominant pitcher. He will give up hits and runs, but he will limit the damage and pitch deep into games. At this pace, McAllister will pitch over 200 innings this season, barring injury.

Gomes earning permanent roster spot?

Call him Yan Solo, the Yanimal or whatever other nicknames you can think of, catcher and infielder Yan Gomes has turned heads since coming up to the big leagues in place of the injured Lou Marson. He’s only hitting .212 with two homers and four RBI’s in 11 games, but it was his sacrifice fly that drove in the Indians’ lone run, which ended up being the difference in the game.

As we’ve mentioned before, Indians pitchers since day one have gone out of their way to compliment Gomes on his catching ability and game-calling skills. Tuesday was no different as he caught McAllister’s gem.

“He works hard at it,” McAllister said following the game. Gomes also has thrown out four of six potential base-stealers in his brief stint with the Tribe thus far as he threw a perfect strike to second base to nail A’s center fielderYoenis Cespedes for out number two in the ninth inning.

I know it would be better for Gomes to get regular playing time in AAA, but the longer he’s been up in Cleveland, the harder it’s going to be to send him back to the minors.

Winning in more ways than one

The Indians have managed to find some more consistency over their last nine games, but the one common thread throughout this season is that the team has been able to win in different ways and hasn’t had to rely on any specific part of the team exclusively to claim victory. Sure, the offense has been on a hot streak over the past week, but the pitching has been just as key to their current winning streak as the hitting.

Tuesday night’s game highlighted just how far the starting pitching has come since the beginning of the season as McAllister was put into a high-pressure situation where he had no room for error and he never wavered. After his seven and two-thirds innings pitched, Indians starters are now averaging six innings per start since April 21st. The Indians don’t need a dominant Detroit-like rotation to compete. It would be nice, but all the team really needs is a starting five that can eat innings and keep them in the game.

Quote of the game:

“We had a sac fly & you hear the music playing. I'm not sure I like the words to that song, but I like when it's playing." – Terry Francona on Tuesday night’s 1-0 win.

Quick game facts:

  • Indians pitchers have a 2.86 ERA in 12 games with Yan Gomes behind the plate.
  • Despite winning eight of their last nine games, Tuesday night’s 1-0 win was the Indians’ first one-run win since April 22nd’s 3-2 win over the White Sox.
  • Indians starters have gone 8-4 with a 3.64 ERA over their last 14 starts.
  • On this home stand (six games), second baseman Jason Kipnis has hit .293 with two homers and seven RBI’s after hitting a mere .185 with one home run and four RBI’s in 16 games beforehand.

Up Next: Indians vs. A’s @ Progressive Field. First pitch at 7:05 ET.

The Indians will turn to their ace Justin Masterson as they are looking for their third straight series win. After taking the first two of the four-game set against Oakland, the Tribe can finish the home stand with no worse than a series split. Masterson has been tagged for 12 total runs in his last two starts, but has still managed to pitch more than six innings in each game.

Right-hander A.J. Griffin will toe the rubber against Masterson and the Indians coming off a seven-inning shutout against the Yankees. Griffin is 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA in six starts this season and has yet to face the Tribe in his young career.

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

User Comments

May 8, 2013 - 5:27 PM EDT
Gomes has well above average catch and throw abilities. His quickness from the point of catching the ball to when he releases it on his throws is impressive.
May 8, 2013 - 10:27 AM EDT
Agreed shy, that throw was a thing of beauty. Gomes calls a great game, the players love him, and even though his BA isn't the greatest right now he's still light years ahead as an offensive talent than Marson is. Gomes has legitimate power and if he can hit around .240 this year I'll be more than happy with him. Love seeing Santana get a chance to rest his legs more often this year too.
May 8, 2013 - 10:01 AM EDT
Watched the game out here w A's broadcaster Ray Fosse. He was very impressed w Gomes and so was I. He caught the shutout, drove in the winning run, saved a wild pitch from Chris Perez- this thing was 95 and 3 feet wide- very few catchers make that play, IMO. And the catch, transfer, release, location and mustard on the throw to nail Cespedes- who is very fast, made a good slide and had a good jump, was awesome. Again, very few catchers make that play.

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