Is there anything able to stop this team right now? Doesn't look like it. There's just a will to win right now that's undeniable. This team is finding ways to win even when they perhaps shouldn't be. Not hard with a team like Chicago, that's going through a season-long scuffle and just one thing can snow-ball for them.
But there is something else going here. They have a lot of fight and poise in these situations where they need to come through. Luckily, they only needed two situations to come through in and they did it both times.
WHITE SOX - 4 | INDIANS - 7
W: Bryan Shaw (2-2)
L: Donnie Veal (1-2)
S: Chris Perez (15)
Scott Kazmir did not have his best stuff, that was evident early. He had some command issues, but eventually was able to figure it out. He got hit a little early, but then bounced back and was able to at least give the Indians five innings. There was a time that Matt Albers was up early, like real early in the game, and you started to worry.
"I don't think he felt real good about his stuff tonight," Francona said. "It was just one of those nights where he came out and he was having a little bit of trouble getting loose. But he kind of, to his credit, he hung in there."
But Kazmir powered through. He did give up a lot of hits, but he didn't walk anyone and stayed out of relatively big trouble. For someone who has been on quite the roll lately, a little bit of a cranky start was bound to happen. Despite it, Kazmir kept things in control and in check at least enough for his offense to come back at a point.
And shoot. He shouldn't have had given up that third run in the second inning. If not for a blown call by the homeplate umpire (who was also all over the place with his strikezone to both teams), Kazmir would have been out of that second without a run scored and perhaps one less hitter faced. Who knows what happens after that.
That isn't what happened though, still, the results were fine and when the Indians put up the three spot in the fifth inning, it changed the complexion of the game. Even though the Sox would come back and score in the sixth to re-take the lead, the Indians were charging back.
First things first. The fifth inning probably should have been more. With the fresh rookie Andre Rienzo really on the rocks, the Indians had a chance to punch him in the mouth and take him out of the game. Following a Gomes walk, Michael Bourn's slap grounder made an out, but also created a second run after he stepped on Rienzo's foot and the pitcher dropped down pain. Que up the Brazlian soccer jokes.
After that, Swisher doubled to set up a 2nd-3rd situation for Kipnis, who'd walk to load the bases. Rienzo couldn't find the strikezone, yet he found it close enough for homeplate umpire Bob Davidson to call a strike, which did not please Asdrubal Cabrera, who responded by angrily flying out lazily to left field.
Rally ended. And as mentioned, lead was surrendered back in the sixth. After Albers came in and got the quick double play, a tough at-bat against Viciedo ended in Albers giving up a well-hit ball. Tip of the cap to Viciedo and go back to work.
It wasn't til the eighth when the rookie Rienzo was out and the Sox depleted bullpen took over. And really, it all happened with two outs. The only hit without two outs was Asdrubal Cabrera's single. After that the Indians reeled off four straight hits that would net four runs and a three run lead right when they needed it.
"I thought tonight was a good team win. We showed our versatility," said Indians skipper Terry Francona, who credited general manager Chris Antonetti for assembling his club. "Our roster really works well. The guys complement each other so well."
Heck yeah they did. And another bench guy in Ryan Raburn comes in and gets the job done. For the second straight night, a big pinch-hit move made by Terry Francona comes up smelling beautiful. Raburn hit for Giambi late in that eighth inning and came up with the big hit for a two-run single. Much like the night before when Giambi pinch hit and came up with the big hit. Keep pushing the right buttons Tito.
"I don't think I've ever seen a bench this productive," Raburn said. "It's great to see guys that can come up and step up and contribute. It seems like everybody off the bench has come in and helped."
It's because these bench players are legit. They're starters on other teams, playing a good majority of games, yet still coming off the bench and available in the right situation when you need them late. The bench is what makes this team really strong and really deep. It is right now what is pushing them into this race in the second half.
Super heads up by Lonnie Chisenhall on the Michael Bourn grounder that scored a run. He noticed Rienzo go down after Bourn stepped on him and immediately broke for home to get that tying run through. Heads-up baserunning by Lonnie Baseball is a plus.
Another day, another solid inning for Chris Perez, and even a save this time. It's always nice when you can take the lead in the eighth and roll right into your closer coming into make the save.
Matt Albers came in and got that double play, but ended up giving up a two-out single to let a Kazmir run score, but he was excellent after that going 2.2 innings total and that lone hit against him. He didn't pick up the win, that belong to Bryan Shaw who got the final out of the eighth inning, but he sure did deserve it.
Stubbs running for Santana and swiping a base may go overlooked, but the good basestealers steal them when it counts, and it sure count in that situation.
It was Brazilian v. Brazilian in the game on Tuesday. When Peavy was scratched, and because Yan Gomes is Scott Kazmir's personal caddie, it set up the Brazilian matchup of Andre Rienzo and Yan Gomes. It was a matchup of the first Brazilian hitter and the first Brazlian pitcher in the major leagues. Gomes got a hit and walked with the bases loaded, but Rienzo notched a strikeout against him in the final at-bat.
Still, it was a history making event for the country and they even televised the game on ESPN Brazil in South America. So there's that.
"It's just another big step for what we've been talking about, getting Brazil on the map," Gomes said. "It's going to be exciting. We're both kind of nervous. I'm even kind of nervous, and I've been up here for a little bit already. It'll be exciting to see what he does. Hopefully, he sticks around. You never would've heard that for baseball," Gomes said. "I've already had people tweeting me and sending me emails about it. They know what's going on. The whole country, I'm sure not all of them know. I'm sure the people know who have been keeping up with baseball in Brazil."
Gomes ended up a hero though with the big insurance run double that scored a pair and gave him three RBI on the evening. Quite the night for the Brazilian catcher.
"It was awesome. Such a huge thing for our country," said Gomes, who caught Rienzo during the World Baseball Classic. "I honestly did not want to strike out [in my] first at-bat. I could have struck out twice or three times after that, but I did not want to strike out the first time. And as soon as I hit it, I'm running to first, and we're both just looking at each other, laughing."
Now that's fun.
[TRADE DEADLINE UPDATE]
Today is the deadline for teams to get deals done. By 4 PM, if you haven't reached an agreement, you need to find other means to fill your needs.
A day after three relievers were taken off the market, and the Tigers acquired an arm, the Indians struck a deal of their own. I won't bother rehashing the long story of the Tribe's acquisition of Marc Rzepczynski, and it has nothing to do with not wanting to spell his name. But I'll only add in that I think the move is a real low-risk, cheap, and creative way to fill a need.
There is no telling right now if he'll even be on the roster, but you would seem to think so. Joe Martinez was designated for assignment, so someone will probably get optioned. If he was to take Rich Hill's spot, Hill would have just been DFAed to start. Chris Antonetti spoke highly of the new lefty in the bullpen.
"In acquiring Marc," Antonetti said, "we feel like we've gotten a left-handed reliever that's been very effective at getting left-handed hitters out at the Major League level. In addition to that, he has postseason experience and has pitched in some very pressurized games, games we aspire to play in. We think he addresses a need, both in the short and potentially long term for the organization. We think he'll fit in very well."
The postseason experience that Antonetti is talking about is the 2011 Cardinals run in which he was really good as a lefty out of the pen, giving up just one run seven-plus frames.
And that's your update. No one was really moved yesterday. Peavy was scratched and if he was going to stay, he'd pitch tonight. But it appears as if he is headed to Boston in the shocker of a deal that was pulled off last night.
Jason Giambi says that he jokes about retiring, saying that they'll have to rip the jersey off his body. They almost did on Monday when he was mobbed at home plate after his walk-off shot to win the game. We knew how historic Giambi's homer was and we know why he's able to go up there and do that.
"He's been a blessing to everybody that's come in contact with him in the Indians organization," Francona said. "I was pleased that we were getting him. He was always one of my favorite guys ever since he was a young kid, but I didn't really know that he was this special."
There is not a single quote from Terry Francona about Jason Giambi that isn't him completely gushing. Giambi says he knew he could contribute, maybe not offensively like some may be accustomed to. But he still is. I'm glad Bastian has the stat listed because I was going to look into it myself, but Giambi has 5.17 RBI per at-bats, a number that ranks seventh in the AL as long as you have 120 at-bats. That's pretty awesome for a guy hitting below .200.
Both Josh Tomlin and Lou Marson were with the team in the dugout on Tuesday. Tomlin is in the process of going through some rehab outings with Arizona. I thought next year was the aim, but there is even a possibility he can help the team out by the end of the year. Of course it would be in a bullpen capacity. I don't know if that is necessary to push though.
Another blown call on Tuesday by the umpiring staff. After the Alexei Ramirez stolen base debacle, Francona was once again asked about replay.
"I don't know," Francona said. "There's probably a way down the road where they'll figure out how to do it. I just don't think anybody has come up with the exact way to do it. Part of the fun of our game -- not when you're on the bad side, I know that's hard -- is umpires and managers and plays. And they're actually pretty good. There's so much replay that they have to be."
Not to get off topic, but there is a way to do it and do it right. There is a way to make it quick and not disrupt the game for a long time. It isn't hard to figure it out, they just need to sit down and decide they want to do it.
After watching the issue early on Tuesday, I'd say I think I've seen enough. You can't fault an umpire, it's a tough call. It's split decision that you really can't even see on TV for the first time. If anything, replay could be there to safe the umpires and remove the burden of having to make incredibly tough judgment calls on the spot.
On the spot, I could see how the umpire ruled Beckham safe at home in the second on the Phegley single. But it was clear on the replay that the foot came in and was tagged by Gomes before the out. Replay would have fixed that and eliminated the disruption that all of us talking about it is bringing on. Would you rather waste a little time knowing the right call or wasting a bunch of time never finding what call is right? I think you know.
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