Second Thoughts Game #55: Indians 5, Rays 0
Tribe, Jimenez shutout Tampa Bay as Big G goes deep again
Player of the Game: Ubaldo Jimenez (8 innings, 4 hits, 0 ER, 1 BB / 7 SO)
With no rain or any chance of rain delays in the forecast, the Indians got a much needed victory Saturday afternoon over Tampa Bay, as they shutout the Rays, 5-0. Ubaldo Jimenez (4-3, 4.83 ERA) looked sharp over his eight innings of work, allowing just one of his four hits in the ballgame for extra bases.
Offensively, Cleveland hitters would get to 24-year old right-hander Chris Archer (0-1, 11.25 ERA) early as the team made him work his pitch count up past 80 pitches through just four innings. The former Tribe prospect dealt to the Chicago Cubs in the trade for third baseman Mark DeRosa in 2008, Archer left pitches up in the zone and Indians hitters took advantage of it.
Giambino locked in
What is there not to like about designated hitter Jason Giambi? First, the 42-year old hits a game-tying home run on Monday at Cincinnati, then the go-ahead three-run shot on Tuesday, only to blast another homer on Saturday driving in three of the Tribe’s five runs.
Playing in just 29 games at racking up just 69 at-bats, Giambi has quietly become an RBI machine. His 19 RBI on the season trails Nick Swisher (20 RBI) with one less run batted in Carlos Santana (22 RBI) with three less RBI on the season.
After going on a 0-for-24 hitless streak, Giambi has gone 5-for-9 in over his last three games with a double, three home runs and seven RBI.
To be honest, I really wanted the Tribe to sign longtime Indian and future Hall of Famer Jim Thome one last time over Giambi this offseason. The “Big G” though has quickly changed all that with his presence on and off the field.
I sure didn’t.
Big U gets a Big W
Like Giambi on offense, Jimenez was dialed on the defense side of things on Saturday tossing eight shutout innings for his longest outing of the season. The Indians right-hander gave up just four hits walking one and striking out seven. It was exactly the outing the team was looking for after having used five of their eight relievers Friday night.
Jimenez has become much more consistent as the year has progressed, as the 29 year old is 4-1 with a 3.21 ERA in his last eight starts.
If that stat wasn’t enough, take away his worst three outings of the season away and Jimenez is 4-0 with a 2.19 ERA in eight of his 11 starts.
Homerless streak ends for Cabby
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera did something Saturday afternoon that he hasn’t done in 25 games, let alone in 98 at-bats: Go deep. Cabby’s fifth inning two-run shot off Archer all but ended the rookie’s afternoon just four pitches later.
It’s nice to finally see Cabrera flex some muscle and get a much needed long ball not only to help the team, but for himself as well. While his average is about 30 points lower than it was at this point last season, Cabrera also had five home runs at this point in 2012.
I don’t think Tribe fans will see him hit 25 homers again like he did in 2011, but Cabrera needs to hit at least 15 long balls this year to help out more especially when hitting third in the lineup.
No sleep, no problem
After Saturday’s early morning loss to the Rays, the Indians looked like a totally different team about 11 hours later on Saturday afternoon. Collecting just one hit in the rain soaked game on Friday, Cleveland slugged out five runs on eight hits against Tampa Bay in the second game of the series for the victory.
Nick Swisher said it best after Saturday’s win when talking about the number of hours in-between games: “It’s part of the job,” he said. “It’s what we get paid to do…to go out there and perform every day, and I felt our team did a great job. We needed a win like this.”
City of Lights, City of Magic.
Progressive Field has been a magical place for the Tribe in just the first two months of the season. Struggling on the road with a record below the .500 mark at 12-14, things have been different at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario where the team has posted a 18-11 record through 29 games.
Playing in front of the home crowd in Cleveland has been a great thing for the Indians of late, as the team has won 15 of their last 20 games at Progressive Field outscoring the opposition 107-73 over that stretch.
With the win, Cleveland (30-25) remains a half game in back of the first place Detroit Tigers in the American League Central Division. The team is now 25-15 over their last 40 games.
Up next for the Indians: The Tribe will look to take the three-game series with Tampa Bay in the rubber match on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Right-hander Zach McAllister (4-4, 3.08 ERA) will toe the rubber against 2011 A.L. Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson (2-2, 5.61 ERA). In 10 starts this season, McAllister has yet to allow more than three runs in a ballgame.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.