I had several headlines I was playing with. Just missed out was, Ubald-o, o, He's Magic, U-Know!
And really, that's what he was. Aside from some clean innings of course, there was a whole lot of Big U Voodoo going on. That and some big hits. FINALLY!
No were not back to that again. But the Indians are just a win away from moving up in the wild card chase. So there's that!
ORIOLES - 3 | INDIANS - 4
W: Ubaldo Jimenez (10-9)
L: Chris Tillman (15-5)
Wait, Chris Tillman is a 15 game winner? Ohhhkay.
Anyway, Ubaldo Jimenez keeps trying to show us that he's actually reliable and that we should probably start trusting him. But ya know what? I'm good on this side. I'll go ahead and just not fully trust him and let him keep doing what he's doing.
"We all need to do that," Jimenez said of coming up big for the Tribe. "Masterson is our star and he got hurt, so you have to find a way to step up. If you want to make it to the playoffs, all of us, we have to step up and be there for the team."
Jimenez went six innings, did so throwing 90 pitches, and gave up just four hits and two walks with four strikeouts. He now has eight straight games with no more than three earned runs and he hasn't given up more than four earned runs since May 22nd against Detroit.
The WHIP remains atrocious and scary, but the guy keeps giving result and puts up efforts that give his chance a team to win. I feel like a broken record, because it seems like I say the same thing every week. But hat's a good thing. He's coming out and doing his job and that's all you want from him right now, especially with all the depth issues.
"He goes out there and he gives us six shutout innings," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Against that lineup, that's exciting."
Damn right that's exciting.
Also exciting is the Indians finally getting some big hits offensively, which gave some purpose to Ubaldo throwing six scoreless. Better late than never too, eh? After Ubaldo escaped that scary sixth inning jam, the offense came out and extended the lead that Asdrubal Cabrera gave them in the fourth with a sac-fly.
They did it with, yes, another Asdrubal Cabrera sac-fly. And topped off with a Yan Gomes double, as he continues to search for some fist bumps and head nods in Bro of the Month voting.
Gomes big double scored a pair and doubled the lead, which ended up being incredibly necessary given the ninth inning dramatics from Chris Perez, who was closing in a non-closing situation because of the importance of the game.
"We haven't been able to kind of get that big hit with guys on," Gomes said. "Hopefully it keeps going and starts some momentum that we need right now."
I feel a lot of pressure has been released with Gomes' hit. Maybe it won't, maybe it will just got back to the usual today in the final game of the series. But a guy like Gomes, not a piece the team relies on, comes up and does the job. Yeah the Indians didn't score in the seventh or eighth and in fact looked quite frustrating with their at-bats.
But maybe it is a carry-over effect to the next game. At least you would hope so. Kubel and Santana walked twice each, Brantley is coming off a game in which he had a few hits, Kipnis has hit in a few and walked in this one too. I'd like to think this team is on the brink of breaking out, but I think we've been waiting for that for a few weeks now.
So let's just hope that it was a few weeks late, and this is the hit that propels them to getting things back in order.
Tito treated it just like a three-run lead going with Cody Allen and Joe Smith to lead up to Perez in the ninth. Unfortunately, Perez didn't treat it like a three-run lead. Or perhaps he did since he gave up three runs, because he at least didn't give up enough runs to lose.
The reason I'm thinking things are turning around? Four of the five hits, yes, just five, but four of the five hits were doubles. So why not? Doubles are good hits, means you are striking the ball well most of the time.
I mean, I'd rather have eight hits. Then again, three of those came in the ninth off Perez, so really, they both had five hits in eight innings, but the Indians had four runs and the Orioles had none. Fun.
How about Michael Brantley holding Manny Machado to a single in the sixth? That was a big key to Jimenez getting out cleanly since he ended up loading the bases. Not only the throw, but how brilliantly Brantley played the ball off the wall. That's what playing out there regularly will do for ya. Not bad for a noodle arm.
And he's baaaaaaaaaaack! Alright!
Vinnie Pestano is back with the Tribe. It's been awhile, but the Indians recalled Vinnie to rejoin the team, as well as calling up Josh Tomlin, Carlos Carrasco, and C.C. Lee and activating Ryan Raburn from the disabled list.
Looking forward to seeing Pestano back in action. He wasn't all that perfect in Columbus. In 14 games he had a 3.29 ERA with the Clippers giving up five runs off 13 hits and four walks with 13 strikeouts. So, mixed bag. Maybe just being back in the major leagues is what Pestano needs to kick-start him. He's a guy that runs off emotion and adrenaline, so maybe being back in the pressure cooker will help. He hasn't had a lot of pressure down in Columbus.
As for Raburn and his progress from the Achilles strain, he is moving forward. Tito says he isn't quite there, but he's closing in at least.
"He's not 100 percent," Indians manager Terry Francona said before Tuesday's game vs. the Orioles. "I want to watch him during BP. It'll be nice to get that bat back -- just, even sitting on the bench as a threat for when they bring a lefty in. But he ran the bases today. He ran pretty well."
Getting Raburn back in the lineup will be a help as we talked about yesterday, but it seems like he is still a few days away from actually contributing at a reasonable level.
The Indians said they'd be getting Corey Kluber back Friday, but it appears they'll be activating him to start in place of Justin Masterson on Saturday. Oh how plans change. Instead of a piggyback effort with Kazmir, Kluber will be thrown into the starting mix and be asked to give the club as much of a starting effort as possible.
He won't be as limited as you would think. If he can be economical with his pitches, he could realistically give the Indians five or six innings, depending on how efficient he is. The Indians plan to let him go between 75 and 80 pitches, which is a lot more than I thought they'd put him at in this first go-around.
"Some of that depends on how he gets there," Francona said Tuesday. "If he has to work real hard in a couple of innings, we need to be cognizant of that, and we will be. He threw the ball really well yesterday. I was kind of proud of him. For him to do that, it's pretty obvious he's worked his tail off."
Either way, the Indians have a bevy of bullpen options, with guys like Tomlin and Carrasco ready to go multiple frames, so it isn't incredibly important Kluber goes five innings. Still, you'd like to see it, especially with your ace temporarily out.
I say temporarily, because we still do not have a solid answer on the fate of Justin Masterson, but if you'd have to lean a certain direction, learn in the direction that has Masterson not returning this year.
The Indians will walk that fine line of wanting to get him back, and thinking about his long term future, depending on how he progresses of course. The MRI Masterson underwent said he has a oblique strain, which is that dreaded injury that took away CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee a few years back for the Indians.
"With these types of things, I think it's probably reasonable to think that he's going to miss a little time here," manager Terry Francona said. "The hope would be that it's not the rest of the season. But we'll just keep monitoring him and see how he's progressing. We're certainly not going to do something that's not in his best interest, either."
Masterson said that the soreness has not changed, which is good that it hasn't gotten worse but bad that it hasn't gotten better. He is hopeful it "goes away in a few days" but you know that seems really unlikely. So it looks like for the time being, the Indians will be Masty-less.
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