Indians Score a Big Victory

Where did that come from?

The Indians beat the Red Sox last night 9-6.  It was the first time since the beginning of June that the Indians had scored that many runs in one game.  It was an impressive attack that showed just what this lineup is capable of thanks to a well-rounded effort from everyone in the order, 1 through 9.

The star of the game, of course, was Asdrubal Cabrera.  All he did was hit two well-timed two run home runs that proved to be the edge the Indians needed to top the Sox.  In the process, Cabrera further cushioned his resume for AL MVP.  At this point he has a career high 19 home runs and 65 RBI to lead the Indians.  It’s made even more impressive by the fact that entering 2011, Cabrera only had 18 home runs for his career.  Where the power has come from is beyond my level of comprehension, but I’m glad its come to fruition.

Another notable performance from last night’s game was that of rookie second baseman, Jason Kipnis.  In his first career game at the historic Fenway Park, all Kipnis did was go 3 for 5, with a double and a home run and score 3 runs.  He was the catalyst for each and every one of the Indians late game rallies.  I realize it’s still very early in his development, but if Kipnis can keep up that kind of performance on a more regular basis, he may in fact be the spark the Indians have been missing for some time now.

Meanwhile, Josh Tomlin battled once again to get through 6 very stressful innings.  He wasn’t outstanding, but he did what he needed to do.  He kept the Red Sox from completely exploding and when he exited the game the Indians were still in a position to win.  There is reason to worry when it comes to Tomlin.  While he has pitched great all year, one could argue that he is exceeding expectations based on his skill set.  He’s not a dominating pitcher in terms of his pitches, but he keeps the ball around the plate, doesn’t issue walks, and relies heavily on his defense to make plays.

Based on advanced baseball metrics, there is reason to worry that Tomlin may regress as we head down the home stretch, if he hasn’t already.  So far this year he’s given up 20 home runs.  That’s not good, luckily thanks to his ability to throw strikes very few of them have been with runners on base.  However, Tomlins BABIP (Batting Average of Balls in Play) is crazy low, right at .250.  A average BABIP for a pitcher is typically right around .300 so there is reason to believe that balls in play that have not found holes or been able to drop in for hits will begin to do so.  That’s something to watch with Tomlin moving forward.

With the win, the Indians remained two games back of the Tigers for first place in the central.  It would be nice if the Tigers could find a way to lose a few games this week so the Indians can either gain some ground, or remain close.  The key over the next six games will be to simply survive.  The Red Sox and Rangers are two of the toughest teams in baseball so it won’t be easy.  Good thing we got Ubaldo Jimenez so he can pitch two of the games… oh ya, the Indians forgot they’re in a pennant race so they’re letting Jimenez recover mentally from the ordeal of being traded.  That’s another story for another day however. 

In the meantime, it’ll be up to David Huff to guide the Indians to a victory tonight.  He’s been pitching great since his call up and is making a case to keep a spot in the rotation.  A third straight dominating start could be all it takes to send Carlos Carrasco back down to the minors.  Even though he’s showed tremendous upside this season, he’s been pretty bad of late, the culmination of which was him throwing at the head of Billy Butler on Friday and receiving a six game suspension.  It’ll be interesting to see what the Indians decide to do.

Here are tonight’s lineups.

Indians:

  1. Michael Brantley, LF
  2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
  3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  4. Travis Hafner, DH
  5. Carlos Santana, C
  6. Kosuke Fukudome, RF
  7. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
  8. Matt LaPorta, 1B
  9. Ezequiel Carrera, CF
  • David Huff, P

Red Sox:

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  5. David Ortiz, DH
  6. Carl Crawford, LF
  7. Mike Aviles, SS
  8. Jason Varitek, C
  9. Darnell McDonald, RF
  • Josh Beckett
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