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Indians can't fight back twice, fall to Baltimore Orioles 6-4

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 27, 2016

The Indians had one three-run comeback in them Friday night. They did not have a second.

After the Indians’ offense erased a three-run deficit in the first inning, reliever Zach McAllister was knocked around in the seventh en route to a 6-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

McAllister (2-2, 4.32 ERA) entered with the score tied 3-3 when Manny Machado doubled off the wall in left field. He then gave up a go-ahead double to Chris Davis and on the next pitch was taken deep for a two-run home run by Mark Trumbo. Quickly, the Orioles had gone up 6-3.

Francisco Lindor hit a solo home run in the eighth and the Indians loaded the bases against Darren O’Day with one out, but it wasn’t enough, as O’Day got Chris Gimenez to ground into an inning-ending double play after the Orioles had already piled on McAllister to undo a night’s worth of work to make up for a rough first inning.

That was by Trevor Bauer, who allowed three runs in the first but followed that with five scoreless innings.

The first four Orioles (27-19) batters reached base against Bauer. Adam Jones singled, Hyun Soo Kim was hit by a pitch, Machado singled home a run and Davis was walked to load the bases with nobody out. Bauer nearly got out of the inning with little damage, striking out Mark Trumbo and Nolan Reimold. But Jonathan Schoop came away with the hit that hurt the most, a two-out, two-run single up the middle that put the Orioles up 3-0 before the Indians ever had a chance to bat.

From there, though, Bauer (six innings, three runs, nine hits, two walks, four strikeouts) kept a powerful Orioles offense at bay. He threw 32 pitches in the first inning alone but needed only 71 pitches to get through the next five innings, giving the offense a chance to catch up.

Jose Ramirez and Juan Uribe started the climb in the second inning with back-to-back doubles to make it 3-1. In the fourth, Mike Napoli belted a solo home run that landed two-thirds up the stands in left field for his team-leading ninth home run of the season.

In the fifth, the Indians (25-21) tied it but could have come away with more. A Gimenez walk, Rajai Davis single and Carlos Santana walk loaded the bases with nobody out against Orioles starter Mike Wright. Jason Kipnis struck out, Lindor tied it with a sacrifice fly deep enough to right field to get Gimenez home and Napoli popped out. It was enough to tie it, but nothing more.

And, as it turned out, the Indians would need another three-run comeback two innings later.

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Jose Ramirez sticking in fifth spot in Indians’ lineup; Carlos Carrasco, Michael Brantley updates

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 27, 2016

In spring training Jose Ramirez wasn’t the likeliest of hitters to be slotted into the middle of the Indians’ lineup on a regular basis, but two months into this season, he’s starting to stick in the No. 5 spot.

Ramirez has batted everywhere in the lineup except at cleanup. With Michael Brantley still on the disabled list, Ramirez has found a temporary home as the No. 5 hitter behind Mike Napoli. Including Friday night, he’s now hit fifth 12 times, twice as many starts this year as any other spot one-through-nine.

How has Ramirez worked his way into such an important spot? He’s hitting well in general with a .287 batting average and .350 on-base percentage to go with three home runs, nine doubles and 18 RBI, making him one of the more productive hitters on the team. But he’s been especially dangerous with runners in scoring position, hitting .370 with a .419 on-base percentage.

“That’s why we’re hitting him fifth,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “I don’t think he looks like the prototype No. 5 hitter, but what our thinking is, if there’s runners on base, he’s going to give you a good at-bat.”

It’s allowed the Indians to keep Carlos Santana in the leadoff spot more often than not, as he generally will have the most walks on the team.

“If you look at it from the outside-in, it looks like maybe we have it backwards with Santana and Ramirez,” Francona said. “But if they’re both swinging the bat OK, Santana’s going to walk more and Jose strikes out less.”

Ramirez began this season without a real position, though Francona repeatedly said they wanted to look for ways to get him into the lineup. For now, he’s planted right in the middle.

Ramping up soon

Brantley began swinging a bat again this week after receiving an anti-inflammatory shot in his surgically repaired shoulder and being placed on the disabled list for the second time.

If all continues to go well, the Indians can begin to increase Brantley’s workload, though they won’t be aggressive with it. He’s already had two set-backs and the Indians can ill-afford a third.

“We’ve really been pretty not aggressive with this,” Francona said. “We wanted to let this [anti-inflammatory] shot does its work. Now, we’ll start to ramp him up. We want him to get better and stay better, so we’ve been a little bit cautious the first nine or 10 days [since the shot].”

Akron rehab

Carlos Carrasco is now slated to throw four innings—about 60 pitches—for Double-A Akron on Saturday. Carrasco is working his way back from a strained left hamstring he sustained in Detroit.

“By all accounts, he’s raring to go,” Francona said. “We just need to make sure that he can field his position, cover first, not think about that while he’s pitching. By all accounts, he’s doing great. So, we’re just trying to get him stretched out again. He’ll come quick.”

When asked if Carrasco needed to be stretched out to 100 pitches before he returns, Francona said the Indians didn’t “need” do that. Carrasco is now within the window from his original timetable for a return. If all goes well, the Indians won’t be without their No. 2 starter for much longer.

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Indians 4, White Sox 3: Ryan Lewis’ 18 Walk-Off Thoughts on the AL Central race, Corey Kluber, more

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 26, 2016

Here are 18 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 4-3 win against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

1. After Wednesday’s game, the Indians’ postseason bid arguably looks the best among the AL Central contenders. The Indians took three of four against the White Sox, pulled to within a half-game of first place and now actually lead the division in the loss column. They have won eight of their last 11 and 15 of their last 23 games.

2. The Indians have done this primarily without Michael Brantley and for the last month without Carlos Carrasco, one of the key pieces to the middle of the lineup and the No. 2 starter and Cy Young contender, respectively.

3. The Indians have been within shouting distance but still a step behind all season. Leaving Chicago Wednesday, the arrow continues to point upward, especially as Brantley and Carrasco work their way back from the disabled list.  

4. Said Jason Kipnis, “It’s encouraging to say the least. We’ve put a real good emphasis on April and May this year to get off to a better start so we’re not playing catch-up all year. … To be able to win games without our [No. 3] hitter and one of our top-of-the-rotation guys, we’re ecstatic about that.”

5. The Indians entered Monday’s doubleheader throwing Mike Clevinger in his second career start and Cody Anderson as the 26th man. Chris Sale, the AL Cy Young favorite at this point in the season, was waiting Tuesday, and Jose Quintana slated for Wednesday. It wasn’t the best set-up to gain ground in the division.

6. Said Kipnis, “That’s big for us. Not only that, we put up our undefeated [Josh Tomlin] versus their’s and we came out on top. We put up two good pitchers today with the get-away day and day game, and we came out on top. Those are games that add up in the end. Those are ones we need to get, especially with the team you’re chasing. It’s good to close the gap.”

More: Indians 1B Mike Napoli on his slide into third Tuesday night: 'I'm not a graceful person'

7. It was also another strong outing for Corey Kluber, who went 7 1/3 innings, gave up two runs (one earned), walked one and struck out nine. One run came on a comedy-of-errors play in which the ball slipped out of Yan Gomes’ hands on an attempted steal by Todd Frazier and was then misplayed by Rajai Davis in center field, allowing Frazier to score all the way from first.

8. The earned run was given up by Bryan Shaw, who entered in the eighth and promptly gave up a two-run home run that cut the Indians’ lead to 4-3. He escaped the inning with the lead in-tact and Cody Allen shut the door in the ninth.

9. For Kluber, it was his second straight quality outing after two not-so-great starts. In those two starts, he’s posted a combined 2.45 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings pitched. Kluber’s ERA was still above 6 after his first three starts, bringing some questions into the mix, including ones about his velocity.

10. Kipnis has been asking opposing hitters about Kluber lately. It seems those hitters think the Indians’ ace is back to that level.

11. Said Kipnis, “I’ve been asking the few hitters that have gotten to second base the last couple starts today and in Boston and they say his stuff, he might have found it again. He’s been looking real sharp. He keeps the ball down, he keeps the ball moving and he’s missing a lot of barrels. He looks great.”

More: Indians among league leaders in effective base running

12. The key on Wednesday: Kluber worked ahead. Said Kluber, “I think we did a good job of getting ahead of guys today. That was the biggest thing, putting them in defensive counts so they’re not up there sitting on fastballs. That’s the key to most pitcher’s success, is getting ahead in the count and working ahead. That’s what I’d say was the biggest thing today.”

13. Indians manager Terry Francona has never wavered on him, saying, “I promise you, the day he pitches, we’re thrilled. He works too hard,  he’s too much of a pro. That’s a hard game to win. We got a little sloppy at times and still, he really pitched well.”

14. His last start notwithstanding, Danny Salazar has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. Josh Tomlin is making a case for an All-Star selection. Kluber maintaining his ace-like level is just as needed.

15. Lonnie Chisenhall put the Indians up 2-0 with a two-out, two-run triple to right field that just got by a diving Adam Eaton in the second inning, and he did it against Jose Quintana, one of the better left-handed hitters in the league. As a hitter who struggles against left-handers and was hitting ninth Wednesday, coming up with that kind of a hit is certainly one that lifts offenses.

16. Said Francona, “[And it was] against a guy that’s been really [tough], not only on him, the whole team, the whole league. Fortunately, Eaton didn’t get it and we get two runs out of it. And against a guy like Quintana, that’s big.”

17. Gomes also made up for his gaffe in the field with an RBI-triple in the eighth that turned out to be the game-winning run. He has six home runs this year but also still has his batting average south of .200. It’s been tough sledding for him, a needed piece in the lineup.

18. Said Francona, “You can tell everybody was thrilled for him. He’s been wearing it. You can tell, he's been frustrated. It’s good to see that. He’ll be there. It’s nice to see him get rewarded for something.”

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Indians, Corey Kluber top Chicago White Sox 4-3 to take series

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 25, 2016

The Indians continue to reel in the Chicago White Sox.

On Wednesday, the Indians got an ace-like outing from Corey Kluber and did enough to beat Jose Quintana and the White Sox 4-3 to take perhaps the most important series of the season to date three games to one.

The win pulls the Indians (25-20) to within a half-game of the White Sox (27-21) in the American League Central race and puts them ahead in the loss column. It also means the Indians have made up ground while Michael Brantley and Carlos Carrasco continue to work their way back from the disabled list.

“It’s encouraging to say the least,” said Jason Kipnis. “We’ve put a real good emphasis on April and May this year to get off to a better start so we’re not playing catch-up all year. … To be able to win games without our [No. 3] hitter and one of our top-of-the-rotation guys, we’re ecstatic about that.”

Lonnie Chisenhall, in the starting lineup despite facing Quintana (5-4, 2.22 ERA), a left-handed pitcher, struck first. With two on and two out in the second inning, Chisenhall ripped a ball to right field that Adam Eaton dove for but just missed. It rolled to the wall, giving Chisenhall a two-run triple.

“[And it was] against a guy that’s been really [tough], not only on him, the whole team, the whole league,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “Eaton didn’t get it and we get two runs out of it. And against a guy like Quintana, that’s big.”

In the third, the Indians pushed their lead to 3-0 on Juan Uribe’s sacrifice fly to center field, which scored Jose Ramirez, who had singled.

Kluber (4-5, 3.78 ERA) threw 7 1/3 innings, allowed two runs (one earned), walked one and struck out nine. The first run came on a comedy of errors when Todd Frazier, standing on first in the sixth inning, took off for second base. Yan Gomes’ throw sailed well beyond second base and into center field, giving Frazier third base. Rajai Davis, in center, then misplayed it, allowing Frazier to score all the way from first.

Gomes made up for it in the eighth, ripping an RBI-triple into the left-field corner to put the Indians up 4-1.

Once Kluber left the game in the bottom of the eighth, the White Sox quickly made it a one-run game. Kluber allowed a single to Jimmy Rollins and then struck out Frazier to end his day. Bryan Shaw entered and was taken deep for a two-run home run by Melky Cabrera, his first batter, to make it 4-3. Shaw rebounded to get Brett Lawrie to pop out and Dioner Navarro to ground out to escape with the lead in-tact.

Cody Allen then shut the door in the ninth for his 11th save of the season.

Kluber thinks the time has yet to come to really pour over the standings. But it was the right time to put it all together.

“For me personally, I think it’s too early to look at the standings, but it’s always nice to win a divisional series,” Kluber said. “Those games count big-time. It’s nice to come in here and take three out of four.”

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Indians 1B Mike Napoli on his slide into third Tuesday night: ‘I’m not a graceful person’

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 25, 2016

Mike Napoli came away with a key hit in Tuesday’s 6-2 win against Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox, a two-RBI triple that put the Indians up 2-1.

It also included an ending that Napoli will have to hear about for quite some time.

As the ball rattled around in left-center field, Napoli turned for third, not something he normally does. His slide into third, to put it mildly, left something to be desired mechanically. Napoli ended up more-so falling to the ground face first.

“I’m not a graceful person,” Napoli said Wednesday morning, laughing. “My hand just kind of got stuck in the ground and I face planted. It just wasn’t a graceful belly flop, train wreck, car accident, whatever you want to call it.”

Indians manager Terry Francona wasn’t sure it was exactly a slide at all.

“I don’t know if I’d consider that a slide,” Francona said, already grinning. “That looked like a car accident.”




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Indians 6, White Sox 2: Ryan Lewis’ 22 Walk-Off Thoughts on Josh Tomlin, Chris Sale, Napoli’s slide

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 25, 2016

Here are 22 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ 6-2 win against the Chicago White Sox.

1. The Indians knocked around a pitcher that for the last six weeks has looked unhittable to the tune of six runs on seven hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings pitched.

2. Prior to Tuesday night, Chris Sale hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any start this season, hadn’t allowed more than two earned runs in seven straight outings and had tossed two straight one-run complete games. He’s been flat-out dominant and a major reason why the White Sox jumped out to first place in the AL Central.

3. For the first time this season, an offense got to him. And it started with a two-out rally and a 10-pitch walk to Jose Ramirez. After that, things unraveled.

4. Francisco Lindor followed with a single and Mike Napoli followed with a two-out, two-RBI triple to give the Indians a 2-1 lead. That play included one of the least-graceful slides in recent memory, which the Indians had some fun with after the game. More on that later.

5. For whatever reason, the Indians have done well against Sale—he entered 5-6 with a 3.69 ERA in his career. Tuesday night, they looked to get his pitch count up and were able to do it. The idea was essentially to get him out of the game. What ended up happening was that they racked up his pitch count and scored at the same time.

More: Jason Kipnis at home playing in Chicago (and eating pizza)

6. Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “I like the idea when guys fight for everything they get. I think we talked before the game, one of the best ways to [beat] good pitchers is get them out of the game. In the third inning, we did a really good job with the pitch count and we scored. And we followed it up with more, which is big. We made him work.”

7. Lindor collected three hits off him and is now hitting .500 against Sale in his career. He followed the same approach—make Sale work. He also thought Ramirez’s walk was the beginning of the Indians handling a pitcher that had handled hitters all year.

8. Said Lindor, “I think [the walk was] what got him out of the game, that at-bat. His pitch count was up there, but he’s a guy that’s got 90 pitches, 99 pitches, and he goes out two more innings. So having that at-bat is big. … He was throwing pretty firm, he was throwing strikes, but it was a team effort. I think everybody worked the count. That was my plan, to see a couple pitches, then to go and attack. … A guy like that, if you hit what he wants you to hit, he’s going to dominate, do whatever he wants with you.”

9. In the fourth, Chris Gimenez hit a solo bomb to left field that landed halfway up the stands. The coincidence there is that prior to the game, Francona talked about how a catcher in that situation has the primary goal of handling the staff. The offense takes a back seat. Then, Gimenez rips a solo home run and lated added a single. That’s baseball.

10. The Indians kept working Sale after that. A Rajai Davis walk, another Ramirez walk (seven pitches this time), a Francisco Lindor single, and Sale’s day was done.

11. It was the right time, the right team, the right opposing pitcher to have a plan come together. The Indians are now tied with the White Sox in the loss column.

12. And Josh Tomlin is still undefeated and now, at 7-0, has the most wins without a loss in the AL. He went eight innings, gave up two runs on five hits and struck out six.

13. He also gave up a home run to leadoff man Adam Eaton, giving Sale a one-run lead that in six of his last seven starts would have been enough to at least get the no-decision. But from there, Tomlin was the same, consistent pitcher he’s been since he’s been healthy out of the woods from shoulder surgery in the spring of 2015.

14. Said Francona, “JT obviously settled down. He threw an absurd amount of strikes (76 in 99 pitches) and commanded everything and gave us a chance that when we got some hits, they were real meaningful.”

15. Tomlin is 7-0 with a 3.35 ERA. He’s the first Indians starter to go 7-0 since Dennis Martinez went 9-0 in 1995. Those are All-Star numbers.

16. Now, on Napoli’s glorious slide. It was more of a flop, and it ended with his face in the dirt. But hey, he had just tripled in two runs off of Sale. The landing wasn’t as important.




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Indians knock around Chris Sale, beat White Sox 6-2

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 24, 2016

It didn’t really seem possible for Chris Sale to look humam based off of his super-human-like previous six weeks in which no team could score more than two runs off of him.

On Tuesday night, the Indians found success that other teams haven’t and knocked out the current American League Cy Young favorite in the fourth inning en route to a 6-2 win against the first-place Chicago White Sox.

The Indians got to Sale for six runs on seven hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings pitched. Prior to Tuesday night, Sale hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any start this season, hadn’t allowed more than two earned runs in seven straight outings and had tossed two straight one-run complete games.

It didn’t look like the same Sale that had previously cruised to a 9-0 record. In the top of the third, trailing 1-0, the Indians got to him. Jose Ramirez worked a 10-pitch walk with two outs and was followed by Francisco Lindor, who singled. Then, the key hit that Sale has prevented all season: Mike Napoli ripped a two-out, two-run triple to left-center field to put the Indians on top 2-1. Two batters later, Juan Uribe hit a ball just over a leaping Brett Lawrie into right field to extend the Indians’ lead to 3-1.

In the fourth, the Indians (24-20) finished off Sale. Chris Gimenez belted a home run midway up the stands in left field to lead off the inning. Raja Davis and Jose Ramirez each followed with walks, and Lindor recorded his third hit in four innings to score Davis and end Sale’s night. After a walk by relief pitcher Zach Putnam, this one to Mike Napoli, Carlos Santana made it 6-1 with a sacrifice fly to right field.

It was plenty of offense for starter Josh Tomlin (3.35 ERA), who improved to 7-0 and now has the most wins in the AL without a loss. Tomlin allowed a leadoff home run to Adam Eaton but settled down, throwing eight innings, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out six.

The only other scoring inning for the White Sox (27-20) came in the fourth, and it ended with an usual double play. Jose Abreu and Lawrie hit back-to-back doubles to make it 6-2 with one out. Avisail Garcia grounded a ball to Lindor, who caught Lawrie wondering too far off second base. Now in a run-down, Lindor threw to Juan Uribe at third, who tagged Lawrie out and then fired to first base, where Garcia had taken too big of a turn and was tagged out by Napoli for a 6-5-3 double play.

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Indians RP Joba Chamberlain dealing with familiar injury

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 24, 2016

The Indians placed relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain on the disabled list on Monday with a strained left intercostal.

Chamberlain had felt it a bit for a couple weeks, but it got worse after a pitch in Boston over the weekend. He didn’t improve Sunday or Monday, warranting a DL stint with the Indians entering a doubleheader and needing the spot. In his place, the Indians called up Ryan Merritt.

Chamberlain is familiar with this type of injury, having dealt with it as recently as 2013. It grabbed at him enough in Boston for him to know he was nearing the point of needing to be shut down.

“It was just one of those things where I’ve had it before, so I kind of know what stage it’s at,” Chamberlain said. “Just tried to get it before it got to the point where it’ll become real bad. And the doubleheader, it just put us in a bad situation.”

Chamberlain felt significantly better Tuesday. As of now, he expects to be ready to come off the disabled list when eligible, assuming all goes well during his rehab tomorrow with the quicker turnaround.

“I hate the training room, I hate it with a passion, but we have a great staff and as long as we caught it early enough, which I believe we did, it’ll eliminate some of the time to come back,” Chamberlain said.

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Jason Kipnis at home playing in Chicago (and getting some pizza)

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 24, 2016

Indians second basemen Jason Kipnis has a carefully regimented food plan when visiting Chicago.

A Chicago native who lives downtown during the offseason, Kipnis gets to make three trips a season to play the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. And each trip always includes a stop to some favorite Chicago-based eateries.

There’s a pizza place, of course, that being Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria. Then there’s Portillo’s, an American-style burger and hot dog joint. And finally a breakfast place, Sarks in the Park.

It’s all part of a schedule—by now more of a routine—that also includes being able to see friends and family. Kipnis has stayed in touch with friends and former coaches from Glenbrook North High School, which now includes a plaque for Kipnis at its baseball field. His parents still live in Northbrook, which rests along Chicago’s North Shore.

“It’s almost like I get to hit a little reset button away from the field,” Kipnis said. “I get to see all the familiar friends and faces I want to see. It’s always good to go home and it’s nice to get a little break.”

Kipnis has certainly been productive on the field in his trips to Chicago as well. Entering this series, he had a career .324 average, .395 on-base percentage and .909 OPS at U.S. Cellular Field. Last year’s All-Star season was coincidentally the one year Kipnis hasn’t played well in Chicago, but since he broke into the big leagues, home has treated him well.

Indians manager Terry Francona sees it as Kipnis treating the homecoming series the right way.

"Some guys come home and they have family and they get sidetracked and the game almost becomes an afterthought,” Francona said. “You're so busy worrying about tickets and this and this. Obviously that's not the case with him.”

It might be the food. It’s probably more-so seeing friends and family. Kipnis always makes sure to know where his parents are sitting in the stadium. His friends, a bit louder, normally make it pretty clear where they are.

“There’s always little extra nerves because you know who the people in the stands are personally,” Kipnis said. “It’s different when I’m in a different city and I want to do well for them from miles away because I want to represent them well and make them proud. When they’re actually watching the games, it’s like, ‘I’d really like to get a hit right now,’ because they’re here.”

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Indians doubleheader split: Ryan Lewis’ 19 Walk-Off Thoughts on Cody Anderson, Mike Clevinger

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 24, 2016

Here are 19 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians splitting a doubleheader with the Chicago White Sox on Monday. The Indians lost the first game 7-6 and then won the second game 5-1.

1. The biggest thing to come out of Monday’s doubleheader, as far as the Indians are concerned, was Cody Anderson’s start in the second game. He had his best outing of the season, going seven innings and giving up one run on five hits while striking out a career-high nine.

2. Perhaps most importantly, Anderson didn’t allow a home run, the thing that’s plagued him all year. The Indians have worked with Anderson on not closing off his delivery, which kept him from driving the ball down in the zone. Monday’s start was the first time in 2016 Anderson really put it all together.

3. Said Anderson, “[I] really just focused in the bullpens I threw in Triple-A and was able to get the ball down in the zone and bury a couple pitches when I needed to.”

4. The difference between 2015 Anderson and the 2016 edition had been that he wasn’t “burying” those pitches in certain spots. Instead, they were catching too much of the plate or were elevated enough to be driven.

5. Another key on Monday night was Anderson finding himself in better counts to effectively use his curveball and changeup, and then hitting the glove. Fastball command has at times been an issue, but that problem has also bled into his off-speed stuff.

6. Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “Part of it’s because he was working ahead with his fastball. It’s easier to maybe get a swing-and-miss off-speed when you’re working ahead in the count.”

7. Anderson was the “26th man” on the roster on Monday, as teams can expand their rosters for doubleheaders. His immediate future path is uncertain, as is his current place in the rotation. But for the first time this year, Anderson gave the Indians a positive sign moving forward.

8. Said Francona, “The understatement is we were excited about the way he threw the ball.”

More: Indians place Joba Chamberlain on the DL; Michael Brantley to swing Tuesday; Carlos Carrasco to throw three innings for Lake County on May 28th

9. On the other end of the spectrum, Mike Clevinger, the first game’s starter, made a few mistakes and paid dearly for them.

10. In the first inning, Clevinger attacked Todd Frazier with two pitches away. The third pitch was supposed to be away but ended up on the inside part of the plate, and it was hammered. Later, tied 3-3, he faced Brett Lawrie with two runners on and a full count. Clevinger didn’t walk Lawrie, which is good, but he also threw a fastball right down the middle of the plate. Major-league hitters will clobber that, and Lawrie did for a three-run home run.

11. Said Francona, “He made some costly mistakes over the middle. Lawrie’s, that was obviously the biggest one. Those were really costly runs.”

12. Clevinger felt good with all four of his pitches, but mistakes at the wrong time can ruin an outing. Said Clevinger, “I felt like especially with this offense scoring those runs, I was just killing momentum. This one was on me. Especially when they put them on the board, I need to bear down and get that next zero.”

13. The Indians hit six home runs on Monday, three in each game. Two were by Jose Ramirez, who continues to be among the club’s best hitters. One was by Rajai Davis, which came on a 3-0 count and was his first home run in that count in his career.

14. Hitters often at least have the green light as an option to act within their own discretion. But in a 3-0 count, Davis had walked 38 times in 39 at-bats, with only one hit. Basically, he nearly always takes a pitch. Except on Monday, when he drove a two-run home run.

15. Said Francona, “When it’s to your advantage, he’s a good fastball hitter. And a hit can help you more than a walk there. We give the guys the freedom to do that probably more than people realize. Doesn’t mean you have to swing by any means. You get a pretty good pitch to hit, even if you take a good swing, it can help you the next pitch. But Rajai obviously did a great job with it.”

16. Michael Martinez went 0-for-4 in the second game but had quite the first game with two doubles and a terrific play in the right field. With the bases loaded the White Sox threatening to break the game open, Carlos Sanchez hit a line drive to right field, seemingly deep enough to score a run. Martinez caught it, took a step and fired a strike, easily in time to save a run.

17. “It looked like it had a chance, if not give us a chance to win, to at least make them use [closer David Robertson],” Francona said. “Doubleheader, we’d like to make them use their bullpen, which they did. It actually gave us a chance to win on top of it. That was a really good play.”

18. Martinez is mostly in Cleveland as a utility guy to ensure the Indians are covered position-player wise. Once Michael Brantley returns—he’ll start swinging a bat on Tuesday—it’s likely that Martinez is sent down. But for the time being, he’s played well and earned his spot on the roster.

19. The Indians came into today trying to make up ground while throwing Clevinger in his second career start and Anderson as the 26th man. A split isn’t a bad result. Though tomorrow, they get Chris Sale.

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