Second Thoughts Game #83: Indians 6, Royals 5
Clutch RBI’s by Santana and Giambi extend Tribe’s winning streak to five
The Value of Giambi
If you look at Jason Giambi and immediately point out that he’s barely hitting at the Mendoza line, you don’t understand the value he has to this Indians team. While it’s true he doesn’t get nearly as many hits as he did as an MVP winner at the turn of the century, the hits he does get are more often than not key and clutch.
After collecting two hits and driving in the game-winning run on Tuesday night, the veteran DH now has as many RBI’s as hits (22) with 12 of them going for extra bases. “Big G” is also hitting .370 with runners in scoring position this season and has recorded an RBI in 21% of his at-bats. Just to put that in perspective, Prince Fielder has recorded an RBI in only 20% of his at-bats.
But then again, Giambi was signed more for his veteran presence than his bat, so anything he can provide at the plate is a bonus and based on the aforementioned stats, he’s given the Tribe a pretty big bonus thus far. With that being said, the leadership he brings to the clubhouse is still invaluable regardless of his offensive output. One player after another has had nothing but high praise for how the 42-year-old has inspired the younger guys throughout the season. It’s veterans like Giambi who prevent a free-fall like August of 2012 to happen.
So yes, Giambi is only hitting around .200, but his ability in clutch situations has not yet faded and his veteran presence is vital to a young team on a contention run.
BRO-H-I-O Back On Upswing?
By now, Tribe fans should be well acquainted with the mammoth go-ahead home run Nick Swisher hit in Chicago early Saturday morning. Since then, Swish has appeared to find a rhythm at the plate once again recording a hit in each of his last four games, including three hits in Tuesday night’s game. The Tribe first baseman has also walked in each of the four games and has only struck out once.
The Indians have a lot invested in Swisher after they signed him to a multi-year deal in the offseason. An instant fan-favorite, Swisher got off to a strong start hitting .267 with seven homers and 20 RBI’s in the first two months of the year, but shoulder issues affected his swing and allowed his batting average to plummet to .160 in June. As of now, Swisher is batting .243 on the year, but is batting .467 since the start of the White Sox series.
Cabrera Raking Since Coming Off DL
Not enough can be said about how Asdrubal Cabrera not only attacked his injury rehab and came back ahead of schedule, but how well he has swung the bat since coming off the disabled list. The Tribe shortstop has recorded a hit in each of his six games since returning to the starting lineup and has hit .391 with a home run and three RBI’s.
With Cabrera healthy and hitting again, it brings the starting lineup to full strength again even with the peaks and valleys recently experienced by guys such as Mark Reynolds, Michael Brantley, etc. While Mike Aviles did a fine job filling in for Cabrera during his absence, there is no doubt that the Indians are a better team with him in the lineup and in the field.
If the Indians are in first place now, imagine how far they can go with a healthy Cabrera and Swisher swinging the bats well.
Quote Of The Game:
"We're just kind of passing the torch, taking our walks when we can and not trying to press. We have enough faith in each other right now." – Nick Swisher on the Indians resilient offense.
Quick Game Facts:
- The Indians are now 18-7 in one-run games, the best mark in the majors this season.
- With a single on Tuesday night, Jason Kipnis extended his hit streak to 13 games and on-base streak to 33 games.
- Cleveland is now fourth in the American League in first inning runs with 54.
- After going 2-7 on their last road trip, the Indians are now 7-2 on their current road swing losing their only two games in Baltimore.
- Carlos Santana became just the third Indians batter to have no hits, three walks and two RBI's since 1916.
Up Next: Indians vs. Royals @ Kauffman Stadium. First pitch at 8:10 ET.
The Indians aim to finish their road trip with another series win. Left-hander Scott Kazmir will try and seal the victory for the Tribe coming off a frustrating start in Baltimore where he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and still had a chance at a complete game shutout before leaving the game with back spasms. As of now, there are no indications of serious injury or lingering effects from said spasms and Kazmir should still make Wednesday’s start.
The Royals will counter with right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, who has struggled as of late giving up four or more runs in five of his last ten starts. However, Guthrie was successful against the Tribe earlier this season where he pitched six and two thirds shutout innings in a Royals win on April 28th.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.