Indians Win 14th in a Row at Home
May 10, 2011
A: Cleveland Indians
W: Chris Perez (2-1) 2.81 ERA
L: Joel Peralta (1-2) 3.00 ERA
As Ben noted earlier, the Rays and Indians come into this series as two of baseball’s most surprising teams. I view this as a kind of “challenge” series–two teams trying to figure out how good they are. Both teams were riding tremendous winning streaks. The Indians came in having won 13 in a row at home, while the Rays have won eight in a row on the road.
Joe Maddon knew going into this game that he was going to have to rely on his bullpen quite heavily. Andy Sonnanstine, making his first start of the year, was going to go about 75-80 pitches. Unlike in some of Sonnanstine’s other extended appearances out of the bullpen, he was not particularly efficient tonight and the Indians got the Rays’ starter of the game after only 3.1 innings having given up two earned runs on four hits and five walks. With a line like that, Sonnanstine was fortunate that he didn’t give up any more runs. The Rays’ bullpen had a similar kind of night. Consider the chances that the Indians had in this game.
- The Indians had runners on first and second with no one out in the first when Carlos Santana grounded into a rally-killing double play.
- Travis Hafner came up with two men on in the third and hit a long drive just foul down the right field line. He later flied out to right.
- Grady Sizemore came up with two men on in the fourth and grounded into an inning ending double play.
- In the sixth, the Grady Sizemore came up with the bases loaded and lined a ball hard off of Juan Cruz‘s glove who picked up the ball and got the force out at home. The Indians eventually scored two in the inning–one on a botched force out attempt and another on a passed ball by John Jaso.
- Michael Brantley came up with two runners on first and third and grounded into an inning ending double play.
- In the eighth, Matt LaPorta led off with a double, moved to third with one out, but couldn’t score.
Homers by Sizemore and Brantley accounted for the Indian runs, while homers by Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria helped make up the difference for the Rays. It was 4-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, when the Indians finally put a rally together that the Rays couldn’t stop. A pair of singles put runners on first and third with no one out. Hafner was intentionally walked and Maddon brought in Kyle Farnsworth. The Rays used five infielders and the alignment worked at first as Reid Brignac made a leaping stop and a quick throw to the plate to preserve the tie. However, Farnsworth walked the next batter to force in the game-winner.
I’m not too sure how to feel about this game. The Rays lost, yes, but they had absolutely no business winning this game. The pitching staff issued 11 walks, which is the most concerning aspect of this game. Yet, they were there at the end with an excellent chance to pull it out.
Player of the Game: Chris Tomlin. I didn’t mention him at all before, which I probably should have. He went quietly about his business, throwing strikes and working fast. He went six innings with three earned runs allowed.