Player of the Game
Casey Kotchman took home his 6th Player of the Game of the year with some late inning heroics. Kotchman had two singles, a double, two RBI and a run scored and was also tagged out at home when trying to score a second run. His final game score was 4.38. Every pitcher today had a positive score after a nice start by Corey Kluber (0.76). Esmil Rogers lead all relievers in scoring (2.42) as he picked up the win.
While the Indians are playing mostly for pride, the Twins still have a reasonable title they are working towards. Joe Mauer came into the game third in the batting title race behind Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera. Indians pitching did a great job today of keeping him from that goal by forcing him to go 0-3 with a walk.
Moving on past the time the Indians would stop trying after getting down by a run, the Indians attempted another comeback today, scoring two runs in fourth after giving up the initial lead to the Twins. They then came back again to tie the game after the Twins scored two more over the next two innings.
The Indians have a lot of relief pitchers they want to look at in a limited time for the rest of the season so they are intentially playing for extra innings to get those pitchers a little more work.
The Twins strategies weren't enough in the 10th inning as Casey Kotchman came through with the walk off hit after Minnesota intentionally walked both Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley. Shin-Soo Choo scored the game winning run after leading off the tenth with a pinch hit double. The win moves the Indians back into a 4th place tie with the Twins in the Central and puts them one win away from guaranteeing they will not lose 100 games.
Vinny Rottino batted lead-off today as Shin-Soo Choo got a well deserved day off (just his second of the year).
This was the first game of 2012 that the Indians began the game in sole posession of 5th place in the AL Central. These are exciting times.
Thomas Neal hasn't gotten much of a chance since being brought up as a September call-up. This is a little confusing as he was a highly prized prospect after coming over in the Orlando Cabrera trade, but seems to have been forgotten about, pushed off into AA all year after being in AAA last season. Most of the extra at bats this month have been split between Matt LaPorta and Russ Canzler with Casey Kotchman still getting regular at bats. With Travis Hafner back on the team there will be even less at bats to go around, hopefully this will just mean less Kotchman (who definitely won't be returning for 2013), but it will likely mean less Neal as well.
Play of the Game
Shin-Soo Choo's double to lead off the 10th inning made this Indians win possible.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 4 - Minnesota Twins 3