Twenty-one final thoughts as I wonder what strange thing is going to happen to the Indians next.
1. The best part of the Indians’ replay-assisted triple play was the matchup of one of the fastest men in baseball, Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon, and one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, Indians left fielder Michael Brantley.
2. In the fourth inning, Gordon reached base by beating out an infield single to third, clocked in the press box at 3.72 seconds from home to first.
3. “That’s special, that’s something you can’t teach,” Brantley said of Gordon’s speed. “Look at his stolen bases (40, caught stealing only nine times). He had an infield single tonight that you very rarely see. Lonnie (Chisenhall) did a great job getting the ball out of his glove so fast and he beat it, no doubt about it. He can really run.”
4. The ball off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez was not all that deep. Brantley loves it that foes continue to test his arm. He notched his 10th outfield assist, one shy of his total from all of last season.
5. “Why not? Why not?” he said of runners challenging him. “I’m always up for the challenge. It helps the baseball team out if I can throw somebody out. I take great pride in it and I’m going to continue to do the best job I can each and every day.”
6. In the sixth inning, catcher Yan Gomes and pitcher Scott Atchison combined to catch Gordon trying to steal second. “We did a great job,” Brantley said. “You’ve got to keep him off the basepaths, you’ve got to try to contain him. When he gets on the bases, he causes a lot of havoc.”
7. Three members of the Cleveland media waiting in the Indians clubhouse for someone involved in the triple play ended up with Brantley and Jason Kipnis to choose from. Kipnis pointed to Brantley, joking that they had already spoken to someone else in a slump, right fielder David Murphy.
8. Brantley said the best part of the play was that it got the Indians out of the inning.
9. “Just being a part of it is something special. It was fun, it’s exciting and it was a big lift for the team,” Brantley said.
10. Indians manager Terry Francona said Major League Baseball envisioned such a scenario when it expanded the replay system this season.
11. “They explained to us early on that this exact thing could happen, and how'd they go about it and everything,” Francona said. “You want to get the play right -- that's the most important thing.”
12. Brantley said, “This was the longest one we’ve been a part of. Back-to-back challenges, we didn’t know what was going on. The anticipation of seeing if we got the triple play was building. But at the same time when it happened and they called Puig out at second, I was excited.”
13. What happened didn’t surprise Indians’ right-hander Justin Masterson, either, as he watched from the dugout, having just been lifted.
14. “It would've been even crazier had he not actually been out at home,” Masterson said. “Who knows what exactly might've happened, but it would've been historic, I can imagine. But I think in general, having checked the (call) at second base, and then OK, let's go back and all this, it was pretty crazy. You imagine that, at some point in time, something like that was going to happen. Sure enough, it did tonight.”
15. Masterson called the 7-2-4 triple play “awesome.”
16. “I was surprised, but it was pretty cool,” he said. “It's nice to get luck -- when I'm not pitching. Getting out there and (Kyle) Crockett coming in and old Michael Brantley throws some people out. And Yan making a nice tag and throwing it to second base. They're trying to make something happen and we were able to keep them from it.”
17. Francona said he wasn’t going to challenge Kipnis’ tag on Yasiel Puig just because Kipnis’s body language showed he thought he had him.
18. “That's the reason you come out, but you still want to check, because a lot of times in the heat of the moment, most guys usually do think they get them,” Francona said.
19. When the safe call on Puig was overturned, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly then challenged the out call at home on Gordon.
20. Asked what he was thinking when Mattingly came out, Francona said, “After they showed it on the board, I was not surprised. I thought he was out. I thought they were going to call him out.”
21. Brantley’s throw did not surprise Francona, either. “He's a pretty good thrower,” Francona said. “That's about as accurate … He gets his legs and he doesn’t hold the ball too long. He's really good at that.”