Needed it. Needed it so bad. Series win, in Chicago. Double the win-total against the White Sox in one series. Needed it.
August 18th, 2011
Cleveland Indians - 4
Chicago White Sox - 2
W: Justin Masterson (10-7) L: Will Ohman (0-3) S: Chris Perez (27)
Oh here comes the destiny talk. Not so much team of destiny or anything but the whole "control your destiny" type talk. First line of the Bastian recap.
And I guess first line of our recap here.
Look, the attitude seems to be the same at this point. An idle Detroit meant the Indians gained ground with their win over Chicago and are now sitting a game and a half back going into Detroit. They could leave Detroit in first place. But none of that matters, the attitude is the same.
"We can't worry about who else is losing or winning," Indians starter Justin Masterson said following Thursday's 4-2 victory over the White Sox in Chicago. "If we take care of what we can -- win our games when we go out -- it's going to speak for itself. We don't need to worry about anybody else or need anyone else to go out and beat anybody."
Perez said it best... Carmona the night before and Justin Masterson last night. Statement. This is it, here we go. Masterson was far from his best, but six innings and two runs is a quality start and he had to really work to get out of some of those jams. The stuff was there as Acta said, which let him get out of those situations he got into for one reason or another.
And this was needed You have your guy on the mound. This is your ace. Their pitcher exits after an out in the first inning. Scary moment for Phil Humber who had recorded three strikeouts out of the four outs recorded (as well as three hits), who took a solid shot right off the face.
But you take what you are given. It would have been nice to score more than four, but as long as you take home the win after their guy has such a short outing, then that is all that matters.
Both the hit off Humber and the big offense hit belong to Kosuke Fukudome, who's just been perfect since arriving from the Cubs. First, you've got him a little shaken after hitting Humber. But then he comes back int he sixth in a tie game and he hits a triple that knocks in the go-ahead run. Huge.
Fukudome, for the record, is hitting .280 with a .304 OBP, seven RBI, and five runs scored. Not stellar, but over the past 12 games since getting settled, he's hitting .340. He's really fitting in well with this offense and for what you gave up, I'd say it was quite a good deal for the Tribe.
This offense, despite the recent Kipnis news, is starting to come together. It's not the greatest offense and they'll still have their issues, but there's a lot less inconsistency than there was just a month ago.
Three strikeout night for LaPorta, Hafner, and Choo. Incredible 13 strikeout night for the team as a whole. They also left a ton of people on base. But it is a win, so what can you say? I know, I just praised the offense and now I'm downing them.
But hey, pitching wins.
If LaPorta, who's hitting eighth, strikes out three times, but hits a two-run home run in his other at-bat, I'm afraid to say it, but I'd probably take it every night. I can't believe I just said that.
Mafia.. Lock.. Down.. Masterson goes his seven and despite a little traffic from Pestano, Perez, Smith, Pestano, Perez. Ball game.
You really have to feel for Jason Kipnis, who misses out playing in his homecoming in Chicago after he was scratched from the lineup last night. And of course, subsequent placing on the disabled list is not a treat for anyone. Luis Valbuena is already with the team and has been officially called up to take Kip's spot on the roster.
Kipnis was stated to play after sitting with an oblique injury for the past few games. That was until he aggravated his hamstring prior to the game. It was such a late scratch, they pretty much had to just sub Jason Donald into Kipnis' spot in the lineup, hence him hitting second last night.
"I guess destiny had it that he wasn't supposed to play in front of his family and friends," Acta said. "It's sad. It looks like with the combination of that [hamstring], and [the oblique] he's battling through, that he might be a DL candidate."
This will be retroactive to Saturday, so he can come back before the end of August if all goes right. It's still early in the process of the hamstring injury though, so we really don't know. That's something that could linger slightly and is probably very easy to re-aggravate.
That would be before Carlos Carrasco comes back, as it now looks like he won't be activated until September when rosters are expanded. Point blank, Huff is pitching well and rather than rush Carrasco and have to send Huff back just to work through a rusty Carrasco, who probably won't be able to go on a proper rehab assignment with the minor league season winding down and limited home games with those teams, the Indians will just wait.
And to further that....When he comes back, it may be in the bullpen. Acta says that if Huff continues to pitch well enough to remain in the rotation, it may be the case.
Not injured is Lonnie Chisenhall, who was sidelined for the second straight game with the case of Not Being Jack Hannahan. It was a mix of facing a left-hander on Wednesday and having Masterson on the mound on Thursday.
Austin Kearns is officially gone, gone gone gone gone, gone! GONE! He was released. Axed, cut, ties were severed, he is booted.
One thing that I forgot to bring up yesterday was Lou Marson. How good is this guy behind the plate? He's really the one who I think needs credited more in turning Carmona around. I'm so glad he's the backup and the Indians didn't opt to use a Luke Carlin or a Paul Phillips. Sure he wasn't giving a lot of promise with the stick, and after an initial surge, he's tailed off hitting. But the guy is top notch defensively and really knows how to handle the pitching staff.
Just to prove a point with Carmona and Marson...
With Marson: 11 G, 65 IP, 3.88 ERA, 8 HR, 20 BB, 30 K
With Santana: 13 G, 80 IP, 5.71 ERA, 11 HR, 25 BB, 52 K
Looks good to me... Anyway, Fausto Carmona has really settled in lately and I believe it has a little to do with Marson's ability to slow things down. Just listening to him talk the other night after the game, saying stuff about Carmona's slider and how he doesn't like him throwing it unless it's to get ahead early. It's just small stuff like that. Marson picks up on this stuff and that's great.
Meanwhile, on that improvement from Carmona...
"It's been very important for our ballclub," Acta said of Carmona's improvement. "You really want to have five guys that can give you a chance every five days. He's a guy who did that for us last year, but he was inconsistent in the first half. He had some good moments and bad moments.
"It's been pretty important for us, because he's a guy that coming into this year, and looking at our rotation, he's one of those guys that we're counting on."
Acta went on to say that Carmona was relying on the slider too much. Marson didn't sugar coat it the other night. Carmona's slider isn't the greatest and he has much better pitches than that.
Saw Bryce Harper last night. Left before he got hurt. Here's the deal. He's real, he is big, he can swing the bat. But Austin Adams struck him out and looked good doing it. Came away with a greater impression on Adams.
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
In tradition of Twitter's Follow Friday and because Rafael Perez is sure not worth following, here is today's Follow Friday account.
Really, you should have heard of the Batting Stance Guy. If not, where have you been? If you haven't, just google him and be entertained with his many stances. Then go follow him on Twitter, because he's baseball comedy beyond mimicking stances. He also mimics reporters.
Days Without a Tweet: 87
You can read more Morning Rundown and other features on Nino's blog, The Tribe Daily.