Player of the Game
Esmil Rogers won his second Player of the Game with 2 perfect innings in relief and four strike outs.
In different ways, this was Zach McAllister's best and worst start of the year. He recorded a season high 8 strike outs with some great movement on his fastball, but when he wasn't striking batters out, they were hitting him all over the park. He ended up giving up two home runs and two doubles, leading to five A's runs before he was removed from the game with one out in the fifth. Although this is not what you want to see out of McAllister, you can hardly blame him for anything since even allowing five runs in five innings would make him the third best starter on the team and the offense was unable to come up with a single run to support him.
Rogers continued the strike out theme in the top of the seventh when he struck out the side. An interesting note: all were swinging strike outs on balls in the dirt and Carlos Santana had to throw to first to make each put out. He also struck out the first batter he faced in the eighth, but Santana didn't have to throw to first so it wasn't as much fun.
At this point if they won it would probably mess everything up anyway.
Playing against the Athletics (the worst team in the Majors in batting average) brings about an interesting observation. The Indians past six series have come against teams that are either in the top five or bottom five in runs scored in the AL. Against the teams in the bottom five during those series they have allowed 5.28 runs per game while allowing just 5.00 runs per game against the top five teams. On the season they have allowed 5.26 runs per game against the same top five (Texas, Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles) while allowing a slightly smaller amount, 5.00, to the bottom five (Tampa, Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland and Seattle). It's like the Indians play in a bubble where it doesn't matter how good or bad the opposing team is, they will still give up a ton of runs each game. On the season the two groups have a difference in runs per game of over 0.70 so it is absolutely inexplicable how the Indians could play them so equally. These numbers don't include tonight's game or they would be even more slanted.
Ezequiel Carrera had his second day off in a row after playing in every other game since joining the team. The Indians did this because everybody know that the best way to get out of a losing streak is to bench the only player that is actually still trying.
Michael Brantley pulled an 0-4 tonight, the first three of which were hard hit fly balls to the outfield. Everyone on the team is pressing right now, but that doesn't mean they should abandon their game plan. Brantley needs to keep the ball low, hitting line drives and ground balls since he doesn't have the power to just go out and mash each at bat. When he tries to do that he ends up hitting easy fly balls to outfielders. When he tries to hit line drives, sometimes they go over the fence.
Brent Lillibridge deserves special mention for his terrible throw in the fifth inning. On an easy ground ball to short, he lazily tossed the ball into right field turning what should have been an inning ending double play into a situation with runners on second and third. It wasn't just the physical throw that was the problem, but his obvious "I don't care we're already losing by five so it doesn't even matter, why concentrate and make a good throw" attitude.
Play of the Game
I'm going to double dip and make that last 'Feathers Down' the play of the game as well. It really represents the last couple of weeks well in my opinion.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 0 - Oakland Athletics 7