Series Result: The Indians sweep the Rangers 3-0
Game 1: Cleveland 12 Texas 2
Game 2: Cleveland 2 Texas 0
Game 3: Cleveland 4 Texas 3
Tom Hamilton & Jim Thome
Tom Hamilton celebrated his 25th anniversary of calling Tribe games; one of the best in the business, many fans wish he could do TV also. Jim Thome official retired from baseball on Saturday, after signing a 1-day contract with Indians. The all-time Tribe leader in home run also had his statue unveiled.
The Indians swept the Rangers, enjoy it while you can.
Game 1: Indians rout Rangers
This was a series the Indians needed to win (actually they need to win almost every series from here on out), they were going up against the worst team, record wise, in the MLB, the Texas Rangers. The Indians started the scoring in the 1st inning, and never really stopped scoring in this game. In the 1st, Michael Brantley doubled in Mike Aviles to give the Tribe an early 1-0 lead. It gave Danny Salazar the early lead, able to relax, Salazar pitched well, in the game, but you could tell he didn’t necessarily have his best stuff. Salazar went 6 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 4, and walking 3; not the type of line we are used to seeing. Normally when Salazar is pitching well, he limits walks, and maximizes his strikeouts. For him to not have his best stuff and still pitch well is very good for the Tribe, they will need Salazar to help stabilize the front of the rotation.
The Indians scored two more runs in the 3rd, when Carlos Santana hit a RBI single, and later when Lonnie Chisenhall hit into a review-aided double play that brought in a run to give the Indians a 3-0 lead. In the 4th, the Indians got things going again when Mike Aviles and Michael Brantley both hit RBI singles to increase the Tribe lead to 5-0. The 5th inning was when the Indians really blew the game open, a Yan Gomes RBI single, a David Murphy RBI double, a passes ball, and a Mike Aviles RBI single gave the Tribe 6 runs in the inning and a 11-1 lead. Lonnie Chisenhall added some insurance in the 6th, with a solo home run (his 10th of the year) to give the Tribe a 12-1 lead. At this point, the replacements came in to give the regular starters a break. Carlos Carrasco finished the game for the Tribe as they went on to win by a final score of 12-2.
Game 2: Bringing down (or up) the House
A night after scoring 12 runs and banging out 16 hits, you would figure that a repeat performance would happen against Rangers pitcher Miles Mikolas, who came into the game with a puke inspired 8.54 ERA. However, this is the 2014 Cleveland Indians we are talking about so naturally Mikolas was able to go 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 6, and walking 2. Luckily for the Indians, T.J. House was better. House went 5 innings, allowing only 3 hits, as he struck out 7, and walked 2. If not for an escalating pitch count House could have gone further in the game. The Indians bullpen was able to keep the Rangers off the board in this game. The highlight of the night was 50 year old (actually a spry 38) Scott Atchison chasing down Elvis Andrus in a run down.
I just want to touch on the Rangers season real quick (so skip this section if you only care about the Indians). Coming into the season, many experts predicted the Rangers to win the AL West. I predicted (back before my CST days) they would take a wild card spot. They added Prince Fielder and Shin-Shoo Choo to an already dangerous offense, and their pitching was supposed to be better than the offense. Injuries decimated any chance the Rangers had at a winning season. Four starting pitcher have missed significant time and half of their position players have missed most of the season as well. It is really is a shame to watch, I don’t remember seeing a team have so many injuries to so many key players in a season before. This team went from World Series contenders to the worst team in the MLB. It goes to show no matter how much money you spend, you are guaranteed nothing in sports.
Welcome back Tribe fans! The Tribe broke through in the bottom of the 6th; Jason Kipnis (whose baseball card takes up residence in a friend’s wallet) led off with a single, then moved to second on a Mike Aviles sac bunt, then moved to third on a Michael Brantley ground out. Carlos Santana was intentionally walked. Lonnie Chisenhall then smacked the first pitch he saw into centerfield to break the 0-0 tie and give the Tribe a 1-0 lead. Nick Swisher was up next and singled to right field to give the Tribe a 2-0 lead. Cody Allen continued his dominant season in the back end, registering his 14th save, as the Tribe returned to .500.
Game 3: Brantley walks off to give Tribe the sweep
The Indians were looking for their first sweep since June 4th, when they won three straight over the Boston Red Sox. It wouldn’t be easy, as even though the Rangers are the worst team, Yu Darvish is one of the best pitchers. For 8 innings, it sure looked like the Rangers had this game in the bag. Yu Darvish was down-right unhittable, going 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 8. He made the Tribe batsmen look clueless most of the day. The Rangers got the Indians starter Trevor Bauer early, as Alex Rios singled to drive in Elvis Andrus to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Then in the top of the 2nd inning, the Rangers had exactly 0 hits and scored 2 runs. A hit-by-pitch and two walks loaded the bases, then two sac flies made it a 3-0 Rangers lead. With Darvish pitching, the lead seemed insurmountable. The Indians had a double agent on their side thought. “Good Guy” David Murphy, the former Texas Ranger, got his revenge in this game; first in the bottom of the 2nd, when he doubled home Lonnie Chisenhall to cut the lead to 3-1. That was all the Indians could muster against Darvish, but luckily the Rangers bullpen has holes. In the bottom of the 9th, with former All-Star closer Neftali Feliz on the mound, Chris Dickerson (who replaced Nick Swisher, who left with an apparent wrist injury) walked, and up stepped David Murphy, who hammered the first pitch he saw for his 7th home run and the game was tied. The Indians had chances in both the 10th and 11th inning before Michael Brantley sent everyone home happy with a walk-off home run. The Tribe is back over .500 at 56-55. And I’m starting to get Indians fever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzhj2ev0Xwo
Up Next: The Indians end the homestand with 2 games against their in-state rivals, the Cincinnati Reds for the Battle of Ohio. The series concluds with 2 games in Cincinnati.
–Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images