Second Thoughts: Game #133 Indians 4, Rangers 3
|W: J. Gomez (5-7) L: S. Feldman (6-11) S: V. Pestano (1)
Player of the Game: Jeanmar Gomez (5 2/3 innings 5 hits 3 ER 2 BB 5 SO)
One flip of the calendar, and the Indians have already picked up their first victory in the month of September, defeating the Rangers on Saturday night 4-3. The victory snapped a six-game losing streak and was the first time since August 11 that Cleveland won a ballgame where Justin Masterson was not the starting pitcher.
The Tribe starter last night Jeanmar Gomez pitched well in his first start in the big leagues since June 23, giving up three runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings for his fifth victory of the season.
The Top 9.
- Undefeated in September. Take it for what it’s worth, but the Indians are undefeated in the month of September. After a historic August that saw the team collapse and win just five ballgames all month, it feels great to be on the winning side of things for a change, especially now that the team has a clean slate and a new September schedule to work with.
- Good starting pitching. Filling in for the injured Roberto Hernandez, Gomez gave the Indians a chance to win Saturday night in what was arguably a quality start for the Tribe right-hander. I think the Indians offense early on took some of the pressure off him early as Cleveland would jump out to a 4-0 lead and never trail in the ballgame.
- Big first inning. Speaking of jumping out to an early lead, the Tribe would need just four runs in the first inning to seal the victory on Saturday night. After Shin-Soo Choo led off the inning with a walk, Jason Kipnis doubled to put runners on second and third before Carlos Santana drove both runs in with an RBI single. Cleveland would collect their other two runs in the inning on RBI groundouts by Casey Kotchman and Jack Hannahan.
- Finally felt like a ballgame for once. Let’s see, early lead, good starting pitching and shutdown bullpen. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a great ballgame to be, one that the Indians have not been involved in too many times over the last month now. I don’t know about you, but I am about to party like its 2011 all over again.
- Russ Canzler. It was nice to finally get a look at Russ Canzler in a Tribe uniform on Saturday night, as the Indians designated hitter on the night went 2-for-4 in the game with two singles. With a good September, I don’t see why Canzler would not be around to give the Tribe some depth or maybe become the new Indians first baseman in 2013. There’s no question we have needed a right-handed hitter with some power for way to long now, and honestly believe Canzler could blossom into a quality hitter for Cleveland if finally given that chance.
- Pestano picks up his first save. Filling in for Chris Perez, who’s wife Melanie gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday, Vinnie Pestano picked up his first save of the season and fourth of his career with a scoreless eighth and ninth inning last night. To be honest, I really like Pestano in the closer's role for the Indians. While he may not be as proven as Perez, Pestano costs less money and there’s no question he brings a totally different attitude and mentality towards the fans. If it were up to me, I would deal Perez for a quality piece this offseason and insert Pestano in the closer role long term.
- Top of the Tribe lineup. The Indians first five hitters in the lineup in Choo, Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley and Canzler went a combined 7-for-19 (.368) in the game with two RBI, each collecting at least one hit on the night. Consistency, consistency, and more consistency, it is great to see consistency somewhere in the Indians lineup that can give the team a spark.
- Choo in leadoff spot. In the two games since Tribe manager Manny Acta moved Choo back into the leadoff spot in the lineup, the Indians right fielder has had multi-hit games both nights going a combined 4-for-7. On the season, Choo is hitting .316 with 11 of his 15 home runs and 27 RBI batting leadoff. Don’t fix what is not broken.
- Cabrera sighting. Scratched from the lineup late Saturday due to a sore right wrist, Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera came into the ballgame in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement which was nice to see. I think it’s safe to say Cabrera will be back in the Tribe lineup on Sunday.
The Bottom 3
- No runs after the first inning. After jumping out to an early 4-0 lead after the first inning, the Tribe bats were held scoreless on three hits through the final seven innings of the ballgame. Yes, a win is a win and we desperately needed one, but it would have been great for once to see the Indians add insurance runs to give the team and Pestano a little more breathing room in the ninth.
- Not stopping Beltre. Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre was at it again last night, going 3-for-4 with a solo home run off Gomez in the sixth inning that ended the Indians pitcher’s night. So far in the two-game series, Beltre is 7-for-9 (.778) with a double, homer and two RBI.
- Bottom of the Indians lineup hitless. Casey Kotchman, Jack Hannahan, Jason Donald and Ezequiel Carrera went a combined 0-for-12 in the game with four strikeouts. While both Kotchman and Hannahan drove in runs, it marked the second straight night where the bottom of the Tribe lineup failed to collect any hits against Texas.
With an Indians win Saturday night, Cleveland (56-77) needs just seven more victories to avoid losing their first 100 loss season since 1991. The Tribe won for the first time…..If the Tribe can defeat the Rangers again on Sunday, it will be the first time since August 8 and 9 that the Indians won back-to back games…
Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try and take the three-game series with Texas on Sunday, as it will be Zach McAllister (5-5, 3.82 ERA) against Derek Holland (9-6, 4.90 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. McAllister, who has never faced the Rangers in his career is 2-4 with a 3.75 ERA over his last 10 starts. The Indians rookie right-hander is 1-0 in four day game starts this season with a 2.31 ERA. Holland last faced the Tribe back on May 5, when he yielded just one earned run on five hits over 7 1/3 innings picking up a no decision. The Rangers left-hander is 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA in his career against Cleveland.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.