Player of the Game
Fausto Carmona took the honors yet again, as he pitched a beauty and earned a 'Player of the Game' score of 7.99. Carmona pitched 8 innings only allowing 5 hits and one run while earning the win. It is Carmona's fourth 'Player of the Game', the most of anyone on the team, even though his per-game average score is only 1.46, one of the lowest averages of the starters. There are two main reasons for this discrepancy. First, in Carmona's two bad outings, he has earned a total of -19 'POG' points severely offsetting his positive games. Also, in the games he's pitched in, the team has scored only 4.29 runs per game compared to their 5.32 runs per game on the season. This means that for every Carmona start the Indians have won, he has taken most of the load.
Jack Hannahan played stellar defense yet again, making at least three notable plays. Early in the game he caught a line drive that almost caught him. After that, the Athletics had runners at first and third when a ground ball was hit to Hannahan with the infield back. Hannahan looked home, but threw to first to get the easy out. While some players might have gotten greedy and tested the runner going home, Hannahan made sure the Indians would only give up one run by getting at least one out. Finally, in the 7th inning, he was playing for the bunt and A's called for a hit and run. Jack was able to catch the ball, turn and throw to second quickly enough to get the lead runner, and the A's did not score.
Fau 'Star' Carmona looked fantastic again tonight, earning his third win of the season and lowering his ERA to 4.43. In his last two outings Carmona has pitched 15 innings and only allowed 3 earned runs, while winning both games.
Pronk made an appearance tonight, showing that his foot must be almost completely healed. This was good to see as some were worried about another possible DL stint for Hafner. Travis pinch hit for Adam Everett and drew a walk, following which he was immediately replaced by a pinch runner, Orlando Cabrera. Travis Hafner is slated to start tomorrows game.
The Indians have shown some real late inning magic the last few games. During the first few weeks of the season the Indians were winning by scoring early and often, but lately they have had more of a flair for the dramatic, winning 3 of the last 4 games against the Tigers and A's in the 9th inning or later.
Oakland's starting pitching is doing great so far this year and the next two starters in this series (Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson) only get better than tonight's. The Indians weren't really able to get anything going against Tyson Ross, but luckily the Oakland bullpen is not as good as their starters are. It was good to get the first game win, because this series will probably be the hardest to sweep of any so far this season.
The Coliseum is built for small ball and it took awhile for the Tribe to figure that out tonight. This team has been relying on power lately, especially in Cleveland, and it took awhile for them to adjust. There were 17 hits in the game and every one was a single, while almost every ball hit in the air to the outfield was an out. Even after seeing this during the middle of the game I saw at least Carlos Santana, Grady Sizemore and Shelley Duncan swinging for the fences. During the last couple innings the outfielders were playing so far back that anything hit shallow would have been a hit, but the Indians didn't change their approach until the 9th. Luckily there was Matt LaPorta and Orlando Cabrera to save the day. Both players did exactly what they needed to do to win the game.
The expanded foul territory cost the Indians a couple outs tonight and could explain a little bit of the extremely low starters ERA for the Athletics. Why do they need so much foul ground? Its like they could play football there or something.
Final Score: Indians increase winning streak to 7 games. Pretty much seem unbeatable at this point, now 20-8 on the season.
Cleveland Indians 4
Oakland Athletics 1