It was supposed to be a perfect Sunday sitting by my little pond with an old radio on. The Indians were playing the Twins in a huge divisional battle and I was enjoying the warm weather outside with the game on the airwaves.
Brad Hand blew a 3-1 lead, following in the Warriors’ footsteps, and the Indians nearly lost one of the biggest games of the year in the final inning. Two great throws from Tyler Naquin to Frankie Lindor had the winning run tagged out.
Tyler Naquin and Francisco Lindor combined for a great relay to throw out the walk-off run at the plate and send Indians-Twins to extras. The Statcast…— David Adler (@_dadler) August 11, 2019
Naquin to Lindor: 91.9 mph, 161 feet, 1.07 second exchange ➡️
Lindor to the plate: 90.6 mph, 166 feet, 0.60 second exchange pic.twitter.com/huPOuplrns
Honestly, after that letdown, I didn’t think the Indians had a chance in extras, on the road, with the lead blown and morale down. However, the team loaded up the bases for this gem…
As many times as I have watched the 2016 World Series— Brad Martens ♿️??♿️ (@wheelchairBrad) August 12, 2019
What a swing. Look at those arms extending!
Frankly, Carlos Santana returning to the Indians this year has been huge. A .282 average, 25 homers and 70 RBI is just what this team needed from him this year. That grand slam literally changed the season for the better.
Instead of being down a game, the division is tied as the Tribe heads home to face the Red Sox and the Twins go to Milwaukee to face the Brewers.
However, it goes beyond just Sunday’s game or that series, albeit extremely crucial by its own merit. Santana is a key cog on the field but is also a leader in the locker room as well.
Remember Edwin Encarnacion? His stats this year are a .241 average, 21 homers and 49 RBI. I’ll admit, I was disappointed having Santana replace that guy, but it has worked out tremendously well for the Tribe.
The Indians were 11.5 games back of the Twins on June 2, essentially hopeless of winning the division. However, the team, led by the veteran Santana, did not give up.
It is going to be one helluva stretch run with two great teams battling one another for that top spot in the AL Central. Additionally, the squads have a series each on their home field against one another.
Look for Carlos Santana to continue to be a veteran leader on a club that has clawed all the way back to a tie for first place with 44 games remaining each.
Taking the AL Central means a guaranteed five-game playoff series and avoiding the one-game play-in. That would certainly be nice…
Santana and other veteran leaders on the Indians are making this season a fun one. Now, it’s all about closing it out even stronger!