Player of the Game
Carlos Carrasco won his third game in a row and his third 'Player of the Game' in a row at the same time. Carrasco earned 6.00 'POG' points by pitching 6.1 innings, allowing only one run on 4 hits with 4 strikeouts. For the second game in a row, only one Indian had a negative score, this time it was Jack Hannahan who went 0-4. Other than him and Lou Marson, every Tribesman had a score of over 0.98.
Carlos Carrasco has now allowed only one earned run over his last 3 starts. After going 21+ shutout innings, Carrasco finally gave up a single run to the Pirates.
Because of that one run allowed, Carrasco needed more run support than he has gotten in his last two starts. Over those starts the Indians scored a total of 2 runs while winning both games. Tonight the Indians matched that total in the first 2 innings and went on to bring home 3 more before the game was over.
Shin-Soo Choo is again showing signs of breaking through his season long slump as he has walked 6 times in his last 4 games, including 2 tonight. Choo also added an opposite field single to bring home Asdrubal Cabrera in the 7th. It is almost always a positive sign when a good hitter in a slump stops trying to pull the ball and will go with what the pitcher gives him.
The offense played well tonight, even though Travis Hafner and Matt LaPorta were both absent. Most notably the base running was much better than it has been recently with the Tribe getting 3 steals and 2 extra bases during the game. Grady Sizemore also had a great base running play when he made it to third on a ball that was almost a home run. Rather than going into a trot, he kept going full speed to third which allowed him to score on Michael Brantley's sacrifice fly.
The two relief pitchers used in tonight's game each have impressive streaks going. Tony Sipp has now went 7 straight games without allowing a run and Joe Smith has went 15. This just continues to prove the age old axiom that nobody scores against the Bullpen Mafia.
Travis Hafner got the day off, meaning he will now not start 10 of his first 15 games back, instead of the 9 he will be forced to miss anyway due to interleague play.
Final Score: The Indians guarantee themselves 1st place for one more day,
Cleveland Indians 5
Pittsburgh Pirates 1