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#TribeTopThree: 8/8 Wins, Whiffs and Walk-offs! Oh My!

Cleveland – 4
Colorado – 1

Short and Sweet:

On the second pitch of the game to Colorado’s leadoff Charlie Blackmon, Kluber left an easy pitch over the plate which Blackmon sent over the centerfield wall. This gave Colorado the early lead over Cleveland. Just behind him, Kluber gave up a single to DJ LeMahieu, who ended up getting picked off at second by catcher Yan Gomes.

Aside from those two hits, Kluber was nearly flawless, retiring 14 straight and striking out five going into the sixth inning, where he would give up a third hit to Raimel Tapia. Keeping pace with Kluber, the Rockies starter German Marquez kept Cleveland from getting on base, allowing just two hits before walking two straight in the sixth. Marquez ended up going six innings, struck out three and gave up zero runs on just two hits.

Taking the focus away from the stellar pitching for a second, outfielder and team lead Michael Brantley was taken out of the game in the fifth inning due to what looked like a right ankle injury. He mouthed to the trainer who ran out to check on him that “it just snapped”, before hobbling off the field, to be replaced by of Abraham Almonte. The update as it stands right now is a possible ankle sprain, with further updates expected at a later time.

Bradley Zimmer made a rookie mistake that most players will hopefully do just once in their careers, not running it out to first on a pop up. After a missed double play by Colorado, Cleveland got a gift chance to finally get on the board for the first time tonight. With Carlos Santana at first, Zimmer popped up a fly ball above the pitcher’s mound, assuming it would be caught, stood near the batter’s box without running to first, resulting in an inning ending double play. You could assume, the Rockies took a risk, seeing that Zimmer was not about to hustle down the baseline and Santana stuck at first until the ball drops, that they let the ball drop in order to turn the now gift double play. Of course, it’s all speculation.

Though the Cleveland, and Colorado, bats were almost completely silent through the entire game, there was heat brewing steadily in the Indians dugout. Kluber came off the mound in the top of the ninth, with another complete game in his grasp, though no lead to speak of. With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Guyer at first pinch running for Edwin Encarnacion, Zimmer, the go-ahead run, made it to first on the second BB of the inning. Outfielder Austin Jackson, who was 0 for 3 on the night, tied the game with a single to right, giving some life back into the Tribe. Following Jackson, catcher  Yan Gomes, went yard with a 3-run homer in walk off fashion, securing Kluber’s complete game win and Cleveland’s 60th “W” of 2017.

After tonight, Cleveland has a 3.5 game gap between them and the second place Kansas City Royals. Currently, the Royals are down by four in St Louis with six innings in the books. One team who might start to creep back into the picture is the third place Twins who have won their last two and are six games out of first place.

Tribe Top Three:

 

1. Corey Kluber – SP – %

What a night for Cleveland’s Ace, putting together another complete game; now with two consecutive complete games and four on the season, struck out 11; his 13th consecutive start with eight or more K’s, and gave up a single run on just three hits. He basically did this against all the odds, as the offense was less than impressive through out nine innings of the game. Luckily, the tides did end up turning and he did get his 10th win of 2017.

Currently, Kluber has thrown the third most strikeouts (182) in the AL behind Boston’s Chris Sale and Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer. The matchup of Kluber and the Rockies is particularly interesting because Colorado strikes out the eighth most in baseball (992), opposed an Ace with the 4th highest number of strikeouts in baseball.

2. Yan Gomes – C – %

Normally, Yan Gomes is the silent guy behind the plate, and has struggled this season with his bat. However, tonight that was not the case. He was the only one in the order with two hits, one being a single in the eighth, and the other, most notably, a three-run walk-off homer putting Cleveland up 4-1 over Colorado. Here’s hoping this huge surge of energy and excitement will ignite the catcher as we get into the nitty gritty months fighting for October baseball.

3. Austin Jackson – RF – %
s Austin Jackson should not be forgotten after tonight, as his two-out, game tying, RBI single set up Gomes in the best way possible, and was probably what set off Cleveland to come back from nothing to take the lead in a single swoop.

Honorable Mention:

Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana did something the rest of the order seemed unable to do, and got on base via the base hit. Colorado also gave up a few walks; two to Encarnacion, which should be noted as well, but as most Tribe fans are aware, when Kluber is on the mound, there’s a good chance the bats will stay quiet.
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Seconds before Austin Jackson tied the game, I typed this, which rang true for 98% of tonight’s game. For those players, it still stands true, though above in the mix of Tribe Top Three, some edits were made.

Tribe Time Tomorrow:

It’s day baseball at Progressive Field tomorrow as the Tribe and the Rockies meet at the corner for a 12:10 first pitch! After Bauer’s solid start in his last outing against New York for his tenth win, he will take the mound against Colorado in hopes to put together yet another quality outing for Cleveland. The Tribe righty will face off with Rockies Antonio Senzatela, who also has ten wins this season. Earlier this year, Senzatela opposed Mike Clevinger in Colorado, getting the win over Cleveland on an 11-3 final. However, he did give up two home runs, one to of Lonnie Chisenhall who’s on the DL, and rookie Bradley Zimmer, his fourth of the year.