The Aftermath: Three Takeaways from the Indians’ 5-4 Win Over Minnesota
The Cleveland Indians rallied from an early deficit to win their second in a row against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
There was a little more offense at Progressive Field on Tuesday night, as the Cleveland Indians overcame an early three-run deficit to beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4. The second win in as many nights for the Tribe, it came on the heels of Monday night’s 1-0 walk-off victory in extra innings.
The story of the night was the Cleveland bullpen, which combined to throw 7.1 innings of scoreless relief, allowing the club to overcome another poor outing by starter Josh Tomlin. The right-hander lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, but was picked up by a contingent of arms that included Shawn Armstrong, Dan Otero, Zach McAllister, Bryan Shaw, and Andrew Miller.
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After Tomlin gave up two runs in the top of the first, Jason Kipnis put the Indians on the board with a solo home run, his 21st of the season. The Twins scored twice more in the second, but again the Tribe answered, tying things up on a three-run homer by Rajai Davis off Minnesota starter Andrew Albers.
Both sides’ bullpens were effective, combining to yield just one run in 13.1 innings of work. That lone run, on an RBI double by Francisco Lindor that scored Davis in the bottom of the fourth, proved to be the game-winner.
The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for a 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch on Wednesday, with Corey Kluber facing off against Pat Dean. The Indians, who entered the series 5-8 against the Twins in 2016, now have an opportunity to even up the season series.
The Little Cowboy’s last rodeo?
The nightmare second half of the season continued for Tomlin, who went less than five innings for the fifth time in his last six starts, and saw his MLB-leading home runs allowed tally increase to 36 on the first pitch of the game courtesy of Brian Dozier.
It’s been a tale of two halves for Tomlin, who was a stabilizing force for the starting rotation throughout the first half of the season. At the all-star break, the Texas native had a 3.51 earned run average, a .258 batting average against, and a 1.12 WHIP in 100 innings pitched.
Since the break, though, he has become a liability every fifth day, with an ERA that has ballooned to 7.80 and an opponents’ OPS of .929. Cleveland is 3-6 in those starts, and may have to seriously consider making a change, or at least using Thursday’s off-day to shift the rotation and skip Tomlin’s next start.
Pitchers are athletes, too!
In addition to keeping the Twins off the board, the Tribe’s bullpen flashed some leather. Both Otero and McAllister made highlight-reel plays on comebackers to the mound, with the latter certain to be making the rounds on ESPN and MLB Network tonight and tomorrow.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) August 31, 2016
The hackey sacking McAllister was an incredible feat of athleticism, but Otero’s stab of a liner followed by a flip to second base for an inning-ending double play may have been the more crucial. Minnesota had loaded the bases with one out against Armstrong when Otero entered the game and speared a laser off the bat of Logan Schafer.
The bullpen has now gone 21 straight scoreless innings in the past five games, with an ERA of 0.96 covering the last 13.
What are these runs you speak of?
For just the second time in the last nine games, Cleveland scored two or more runs. That makes the club’s third-place ranking in the American League in runs scored seem all the more amazing. The Indians simply have not had the offense clicking since finishing up an emotionally-charged series against the Toronto Blue Jays two weekends ago.
On this night, Davis broke out of a major slump that had seen him go hitless since August 18th, with a 3-for-5 night that included a double and his 12th home run of the year, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Catcher Chris Gimenez, who scored the winning run on Monday night, reached base four times on Tuesday, with a single and three walks.
A series sweep for the Tribe tomorrow night leading into Thursday’s day off would be huge for the team. The Miami Marlins, who are just three games out of the second Wild Card spot in the National League, and the Houston Astros, who find themselves a mere two games back of the Wild Card in the AL, will round out the final seven games of the current homestand. Both should be hard-fought, high-leverage affairs.