Second Thoughts Game #91: Yankees 3, Indians 9
Cabrera's 3-run triple, Perez's spectacular debut douse Yankees
It wasn't quite as dramatic as Jason Giambi sending Progressive Field into a frenzy with a walk-off home run last September, but the RBI triple laced down the right field line by Asdrubal Cabrera which ended up clearing the bases definitely ignited a certain amount of euphoria in downtown Cleveland on Thursday night as the once-hapless Tribe offense roared back to life to stun the visiting Yankees and tie the game at three.
The Tribe was just about down for the count by the seventh inning trailing 3-0 and struggling to get a runner in scoring position, let alone come through with an RBI knock, but the Indians bid the Yankees and Derek Jeter farewell with a come-from-behind 9-3 victory to split the four-game set.
Player of the Game: Roberto Perez (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB).
While Cabrera's RBI triple was key to the Tribe's rally over the Yankees, the night belonged to the man they called "RoboCop". After tearing it up in AAA Columbus this season, catcher Roberto Perez got the big league call-up he deserved after the Indians designated veteran catcher George Kottaras for assignment.
On Thursday, Perez was in the starting lineup for the first time since being called up as he would assume the catching duties for Yan Gomes, who got a much-needed day off. He would catch for former Clippers teammate T.J. House as well as five different Indians relievers as the Indians rallied for the win.
Perez's story is really an inspiring one. After last season, it was revealed that the young catcher had suffered from Bell's Palsy, which affected his vision to the point where he couldn't close one of his eyes. During the offseason, Perez finally rid himself of the disease and began the season fresh in Columbus. In 53 games, Perez batted .305 with eight home runs, 43 RBI and a .405 OBP after batting only .200 last season.
What was even more impressive than the two hits he did record, though, was his overall plate approach. In his second at-bat, Perez drew a walk and hit his home run on a 3-2 pitch. It was very nice to see him not only swing the bat well, but also see him maintain his approach and avoid becoming over-aggressive with excitement of his big league debut.
The Indians have always liked Perez for his defense since they drafted him in 2008, but if he continues to swing the bat well, his stay in Cleveland may not be short-lived.
The Cabrera Conundrum
We've loved him and we've hated him this season, but Asdrubal Cabrera may have come through with the biggest hit of the season up to this point in the seventh inning as he tied the game with a bases-loaded triple to tie the game at three.
Cabrera has received criticism for swinging at the first pitch this season, yours truly included. Stats-wise, the Tribe shortstop is batting .333 this season when swinging at the first pitch this season with eight doubles, two triples and nine RBI.
Overall, I'm ready for Asdrubal Cabrera's tenure in Cleveland to be over, but that isn't much of a surprise considering I have the opportunity to watch Francisco Lindor play everyday here in Akron with the RubberDucks. Even with the struggles Cabrera has had this season, though, he has through with some of the team's biggest hits of the season, including a walk-off home run and Thursday's RBI triple.
I'd be very surprised if the Tribe re-signed Cabrera or even extended a qualifying offer at the end of the season since his All-Star days are behind him, so for the time being, all we can do is hope for more productive moments like Thursday.
More Lightning in a Bottle?
When it was announced that the Indians had acquired veteran outfielder Chirs Dickerson from the Pirates in exchange for cash or a player to be named later, I didn't think much of it as did many Tribe fans. In fact, I was disappointed because rookie outfielder Tyler Holt wouldn't get the shot he deserved as he was optioned back to Columbus.
So far, though, Dickerson has proven to be a solid pickup as he has gone 7-for-15 (.467) with a double and four runs scored. He was having a solid season at AAA Indianapolis, but didn't have a clear path back to Pittsburgh due to the influx of outfield talent for the Pirates. On Thursday, Dickerson went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
Over the past couple seasons, Indians GM Chris Antonetti has found a knack for bringing in lightning in a bottle via under-the-radar acquisitions. The deals for Mike Aviles, Yan Gomes, Scott Kazmir and Ryan Raburn last season were key to the team's success. This season, similar acquisitions in Scott Atchison and George Kottaras have paid off and now it appears Dickerson may follow suit.
Given Dickerson's career major league stats, it's unlikely he will keep hitting at this rate, but with Michael Bourn out for at least the next month, anything he can provide offensively will certainly be a plus.
Up next: White Sox (44-49), Indians (45-46) @ Progressive Field. First pitch at 7:05 pm ET.
Despite falling short of an All-Star berth, Indians ace Corey Kluber will take the mound and hopefully continue to put up All-Star caliber numbers. He has made two previous starts this season against the White Sox and pitched very well in both, but late-inning bullpen hiccups have cost him a win both times.
He'll be matched up against Hector Noesi, who has actually been fairly solid for Chicago so far. He pitched into the eighth inning in his lone start against the Tribe this season allowing only one run, but he, too, failed to earn a decision in his start.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.