Roster Update: The Indians announced today that they have signed their first round draft pick, Brady Aiken. They have now signed nine of their first 11 picks with the biggest name missing so far being their second pick, Triston McKenzie and he is expected to sign soon.
In closer to Major League news, Cody Anderson has been announced as Sunday’s starter, replacing Shaun Marcum in the rotation. He is already on the 40 man roster, but a 25 man roster move will have to be made before then to make room.
Player of the Game
Carlos Carrasco pitched decently enough tonight, but the only player truly deserving of this award was Jason Kipnis, who excelled in every part of the game. His three hits accounted for almost half of the Indians seven and his aggressive base running, taking home on a wild pitch, resulted in the only run for the night. In addition, his defense was superb, as will be highlighted later.
Tonight was the single best defensive game for any one Indians player and I highly recommend looking up Jason Kipnis’ human highlight reel plays. He started by making a diving stop against the first batter of the game, then made another slick play before the first inning was out. Later on, he made a quick reaction double play to save a run in the second, then another solid effort to end the fifth inning. These plays were a combination of placement just beyond a normal second baseman’s range and tremendous ability on the part of Kipnis.
Generally, since the advent of the DH, when an American League pitcher throws 6.2 innings and allows three runs, he should get a win, but this is not your typical American League squad. Carlos Carrasco still deserves credit for keeping the first place Rays to three and striking out five. Two of the three runs came on solo home runs with the third scoring on a sacrifice fly to left.
Jeff Manship made his Indians debut today and Kyle Crockett pitched for the first time since making three consecutive scoreless appearances ending April 11th. Both continued the improved pitching of the bullpen, retiring four of five batters faced in the seventh and eighth, stranding two runners (Crockett) and striking out two (Manship). Chances are Manship will be sent back on Sunday for Anderson (Ryan Webb and Crockett are also options), but it is still nice to see success from the top to the bottom of the bullpen.
Continuing an issue that has been hounding the Indians in recent weeks, twice tonight Cleveland had golden scoring opportunities and was unable to complete them. Just like last night, the Indians scored their first run on a ball that got by the catcher, but were unable to score the second run from third. In the sixth, it got even worse as with Francisco Lindor on second and Michael Brantley on first and none out, Carlos Santana, Ryan Raburn and Brandon Moss all struck out swinging. This was almost the exact same thing that happened last night in the first inning with just David Murphy replacing Raburn as three batters struck out with a runner on third.
Representing the tying run with two outs in the ninth and runners on first and second, Michael Bourn left the bat on his shoulder for three straight pitches as he was called out on strikes to end the game. Bourn went 0/4 overall and would likely have better served the Indians had he served his one game suspension today instead of appealing. Now that Lindor and Giovanny Urshela have been promoted, the next obvious improvement would be for James Ramsey or Tyler Holt to replace Bourn in the every day lineup.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 1 – Tampa Bay Rays 4
On Deck: Tomorrow is Kluber day, so make sure to set your clocks for 7:10 PM. The Indians ace, Corey Kluber will face off against the Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez (4.45 ERA in 58.2 IP), the second pitcher of that name in MLB history.