Second Thoughts: Game #77-Indians 11, Orioles 5
|W: Tomlin (4-5), L: Eveland (0-1)
Player of the Game: Jose Lopez (5-for-6 with 3 RBI and 4 runs scored)
Just like the Baltimore weather on Saturday, the Indians offense stayed red hot as the team scored 11 runs on a season-high 19 hits, defeating the Orioles 11-5. Tribe hitters Shin-Soo Choo, Jose Lopez, and Lou Marson all collected at least four hits in the ballgame as Cleveland moves back to a game over the .500 mark with the victory.
Tribe starter Josh Tomlin picked up his fourth win despite giving up five runs on six hits over six innings, getting the luxury of a surging Indians offense to help him stay out of the loss column.
The Top 9
- Offense finally heating up. What a difference a few games make. Last week it felt as if you couldn’t squeeze one run out of the Tribe offense and now suddenly the Indians explode for 19 runs over the past two games. The team scored at 11 or more runs for the first time since April 15th after having scored just 13 runs over their previous six games before heading into the four-game series against the Orioles.
- It’s Lopey Time. Jose Lopez had a career day on Saturday going 5-for-6 with three RBI and four runs scored. With Lonnie Chisenhall shelved for 4-6 weeks after breaking his ulna bone in his right forearm on Friday night, Lopez is a guy that needs to step up for the Tribe in a big way as the calendar flips to July. Let’s hope his big game yesterday is just a sign of what is come offensively from J-Lo.
- Sweet Lou. If an Indians fan would have told me that Lou Marson would be batting .284 by the end of June, I would have thought they were dreaming. Marson has not missed a beat at the plate as the Tribe backup catcher is batting .383 (18-for-47) with three doubles, two triples, and four RBI in the month of June. With the injured Carlos Santana still struggling offensively, Marson has become a valuable asset as Cleveland tries to catch the first place Chicago White Sox before the All-Star break.
- Chooooooo! There’s not much more to say about Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo who continues to stay hot both in the leadoff spot and in the month of June. The Tribe right fielder hit his seventh homer of the season on Saturday, his first against a left-handed pitcher. Going 4-for-5 with the HR, three RBI, and four runs scored, Choo is now hitting .310 with six of his seven home runs and 15 RBI batting leadoff.
- Getting to Eveland early. For the second straight night Tribe hitters got to the Orioles starting pitcher, as both Dana Eveland and Jake Arrieta went just 3 2/3 innings and gave up five earned runs on back-to-back nights.
- Tribe 2-0 in last two games vs. LH starter. After going just 5-16 against left-handed starters coming into this series, the Indians are now 2-0 in their last two games when the opposition starts a southpaw. Cleveland needs to keep this trend going if they want to continue to contend in the American League Central Division all season long.
- Dunc-Tank makes a splash. He may have only gone 1-for-6 in the ballgame, but the Dunc-Tank Shelly Duncan cooled off Tribe fans with his fifth home run in the top half of the sixth inning. The Indians outfielder has quietly put up a four-game hitting streak over his last four games, hitting .333 (5-for-15) with two doubles, one home run, and three RBI.
- Keep on walking. The Tribe worked Baltimore pitchers for five walks on Saturday, now trailing only the Tampa Bay Rays by seven team walks for the league lead in free passes. The team that has led the majors in walks by season's end has gone onto make the postseason 11 of the last 12 seasons.
- Tribe to have more than 1 All-Star representative? The MLB All-Star Game Selection show is Sunday at 1 pm. as we know the Indians will have at least one All-Star represent the team in the Mid-Summer Classic. More than likely that player will be shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, but will any of his teammates join him? Tribe closer and MLB saves leader Chris Perez would be a safe bet to make it as well, as he is tied for the Major League lead with 23 saves on the year. One player that should also make the final cut is Jason Kipnis, hitting .275 with 11 homers 46 RBI and 19 stolen bases. Remember, Kipnis was just six at-bats over the rookie cutoff standing at the start of the 2012, so to think he could be an All-Star in what essentially still is his first season in the big leagues would be special.
The Bottom 3
- Leaving runners on base again. Despite scoring 11 runs, the Tribe left 16 runners on base Saturday afternoon. Cleveland has now left a total of 27 runners on base over their last two games. Not exactly a recipe for success, but the bottom line is a win is a win.
- Cunningham still on team? I have said this before: I don’t understand how Aaron Cunningham is still on the Indians roster let alone in the big leagues. Going 0-for-6 with two strikeouts yesterday, the Tribe outfielder is now batting .167 on the year with no homers and three RBI. Why not end the Cunningham project and just call up Trevor Crowe to take his spot on the roster?
- Plenty of runs and hits, but too many strikeouts. Tribe hitters struck out 10 times against Orioles pitching on Saturday, where Michael Brantley, Casey Kotchman, and Kipnis were the only three Indians hitters not to whiff at the plate on Saturday.
With the win against the O’s and a White Sox loss, the Indians (39-38) move to 2.5 games back of Chicago in the Central Division. It’s the first time since 1936 that the Tribe managed to score at least 10 or more runs after leaving 16 men on base in a ballgame.
Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try and take the final game of the series on Sunday, as it will be Justin Masterson (4-7, 4.09 ERA) vs. Brian Matusz (5-9, 5.24 ERA) at 1:05 pm. Masterson will look to start the month of July with some of the success he had in June, as the Tribe ace went 2-3 with a 2.06 ERA over five starts during the month, walking nine and striking out 29. Baltimore lefty Matusz is 0-4 over his last four starts.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Good job by Tomlin gutting out six innings on a hot day when the ump is squeezing the strike zone. Yeah, he gave up five runs but it was good enough. Outstanding job by the bullpen to go the last three without giving up a run.