Player of the Game
Pitching a perfect 8th inning with 2 strike outs, Jairo Asencio won today's Player of the game with a score of 1.50. Just a reminder, when a relief pitcher wins this award, it means that the Indians did not provide and offense and that their starting pitcher had a poor outing. Asencio has won 3 Player of the Game awards this year. Michael Brantley came in very close 2nd with a score of 1.49. Michael Brantley went 2-3 today with a single and 2 doubles and 9-18 in the series.
Milestone: Justin Masterson has now pitched 500+ innings as a Cleveland Indian. Only about 100 pitchers in Indians history have accomplished this feat, now Masterson is one of them.
Justin Masterson had a wild outing today. He pitched 6 innings, but probably should have pitched fewer. In those six innings, he gave up 6 runs. He allowed 7 hits: 4 singles, 2 doubles, and a home run. He struck out 3 and only walked one. It wasn't the one walk that made this a wild outing for Masterson, it was the fact that he hit 3 batters. He also did not control the Boston running game, as they stole 2 bases off of him.
The Indians had a couple of opportunities to score, but were unable to take advantage of them. They scored their only run in the 3rd inning with a bases loaded walk taken by Asdrubal Cabrera with just one out. The next batter, Travis Hafner, got behind in the count early and ended the inning by grounding into a double play. They had another opportunity to score in the 4th inning when they had runners on 2nd and 3rd with just one out, but they failed to take advantage and score any runs.
If one thought Justin Masterson had a bad game, they didn't stick around to see Dan Wheeler pitch. Before recording a single out in the 7th inning, Wheeler gave up 3 doubles, a single, and walked a batter, allowing Boston to score 4 runs. After recording an out, he then gave up a 2-run home run over the Green Monster. To put that into Player of the Game perspective, his score of -9.39 is the lowest score by any Indians player this year.
The way Johnny Damon played defense in left field today, you would think that he never played at Fenway Park. He seemed uncomfortable fielding balls hit off the Green Monster as he misplayed a few today. He also dropped a ball he should have caught and allowed a single to turn into a double when he couldn't find the ball that was trapped under his body.
I'm sure every team dreams of their lead off batter batting .159 with an OBP under .200. Johnny Damon either has to start hitting or Manny Acta needs to shuffle the line up around. Tom Hamilton said it best (paraphrasing): You can't send a guy to Arizona for a couple weeks to face pitchers that aren't even good enough to make minor league clubs and expect him to be Major League Baseball ready.
The Indians are currently on a 3 game losing streak, which is their longest losing streak of the year. This year's Boston team is not a playoff-caliber team, as they sit in last place in the AL East. The Indians need to get their pitching in gear and start hitting, and tomorrow night against the struggling Minnesota Twins is a perfect time to start.
Play of the Game
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 1 - Boston Red Sox 12