Second Thoughts: Game #57-Indians 6, Cardinals 2
|W: J. Tomlin (3-3) L: J. Westbrook (4-6)
Player of the Game: Josh Tomlin (7 innings 8 hits 2 ER 1 BB 1 SO)
For the fourth consecutive time on Friday the Indians won the first game of a series, this time against the 2011 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Opening up a 2-0 lead in the first inning, Cleveland would never look back, cruising to a 6-2 victory behind great starting pitching by the team’s little cowboy Josh Tomlin.
Tomlin along with contributions from an early productive Indians offense proved to be all too much for the Cardinals and former Tribe starter Jake Westbrook. Cleveland continues their winning ways on the road as they are now 15-10 away from Progressive Field.
The Top 9
- The cowboy is back! After going 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA in his last two starts over 11 innings, Tomlin came out Friday and dominated against the National League’s leading Cardinal offense. His seven innings pitched in a ballgame were his most in over a month, holding St. Louis to just two runs after they scored a season high 14 runs the previous night against Houston.
- Tomlin hitting. Not only did the Tribe right hander give the Indians a quality start on the mound, but Tomlin also produced at the plate as well going 1-for-3 with a single last night. Tomlin is now 3-for-5 in his career as a Major League hitter.
- Michael Brantley stays red hot. With a base hit in the fourth inning, Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to a MLB best 16 games on the year. The Indians centerfielder is now batting .361 (22-for-61) with 1 HR and 15 RBI over the 16 game stretch. He is also hitting .370 (10-for-27) batting fifth in the Tribe lineup. It may be safe to say that the Tribe traded CC Sabathia for Brantley in the 2008 trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, and not Matt LaPorta.
- Scoring first. After giving up four first inning runs to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, the Indians were the team that came out swingin’ early on Friday. The Tribe would score two runs in the first and another four runs on the night before the Cardinals would score their first run in the seventh inning.
- Here’s Johnny! His average still may be .188 on the year, but nothing has stopped Johnny Damon from getting more comfortable at the plate of late. His two-run homer (second on the year) in the seventh inning proved to be good insurance runs for the Indians late in the ballgame. Damon over his last 10 games is now hitting .250 with two HRs and seven RBI
- Keep the hits coming. For the second straight game, the Tribe banged out double-digit hits against their opposition. A good sign offensively considering both Travis Hafner and Jack Hannahan are still recovering from injuries on the disabled list.
- Hitters 2 thru 5 were clutch. Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and Brantley went a combined 7-for-19 (.368) with a double and five RBI against Westbrook and the Cardinals last night. The Indians offense came through big all night, as only Shin-Soo Choo was left without a hit in yesterday’s ballgame.
- Strikeout the side sidearm. Smith struck out the side in the eighth inning for the first time since May 2 against the White Sox. The Indians are now 26-1 when leading after the seventh inning proving just how important the Bullpen Mafia has been all season long.
- 1 down, 2 to go. Winning the first game of a series has not always lead to series victories of late, but no matter what it’s still always better to up in a series early than trailing. Let’s hope the Tribe can pull out at least one more win against St. Louis to win back-to-back series.
The Bottom 3
- Struggles with RISP. Despite scoring six runs on 11 hits last night, Tribe hitters went just 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position against the Cardinals. Playing the former World Series Champs on the road, this is one area the Indians need to improve on especially if they want to come back home winning the nine-game road trip.
- Too many hits by St. Louis. For the second straight night as well as the fourth time in the last eight games, the Indians have given up double-digit hits to the opposition.
- No CP. Holding the Cardinals offensively and out of a save situation on Friday, Indians closer and former St. Louis reliever Chris Perez must wait another day to face his former teammates.
With the win, Cleveland (31-26) moves just a half game back of first place Chicago White Sox in the Central Division. The Tribe is also now 13-5 all time against St. Louis in Interleague play.
Up next for the Indians: The second game of the three game series between the Tribe and Cardinals on Saturday night, as it will be Justin Masterson (2-5, 5.09 ERA) vs. Kyle Lohse (5-1, 3.21 ERA) at 7:15 pm. Masterson is tied for fifth in the American League having walked 37 batters in 12 starts, whereas Lohse is first in the National League having given up just 10 walks in 12 starts this season.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll give it some time though.
and get some play from Grady Sizemore and/or Roberto Hernandez...I think this team could be really...really good...