Countdown to The Draft
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By: T.J. Zuppe
Indians 9, Angels 5, Final.
Win: Zach McAllister (3-1) / Loss: Dan Haren (6-8) / Save: None
Four Quick Things:
1. Indians pitcher Zach McAllister was cruising entering the fifth inning. The righty was working on a two-hit gem when back-to-back singles and a rare throwing error by third-baseman Jack Hannahan opened the flood gates. The inning-ending double play not turned became a five-run inning punctuated by a three-run home run by Mike Trout and a solo blast by Albert Pujols. Despite only three of those runs being earned, McAllister is not devoid of all blame. Even with his defense hanging him out to dry, the young hurler has to find a way to pick up his club and not allow two hitters - all be it damn good ones - to take two pitches deep into the seats. “That’s one thing I was kind of upset about,” McAllister said. “I was just want to go out there and pick guys up. They work their butts off out there for me. I just want to go out there and keep them in the game and do what I can.” Credit to him that he was able to bounce back and pitch the sixth.
2. Despite that pretty big hiccup, McAllister gave the ball club a pick-me-up, yet again. His overall line is not particularly impressive (6 innings, 8 hits, 5 runs, 3 earned, 5 strike outs, 0 walks) but deserved a better fate. Manager Manny Acta turned things over to his bullpen in the seventh. Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano and Esmil Rogers combined to slam the door, an action they have gotten extremely good at doing this season. When the Tribe leads after six innings this year, they hold a record of 34-2. Even better, when they are ahead after seven, the Indians are 34-1. That lone loss was in the season opener. “Those guys have been so consistent over the last two and half years,” Acta said. “Our main thing is being able to get the ball to those guys… I feel very good when those guys are able to get the ball to Vinnie and Chris (Perez) after the seventh inning.” With so much discussion of what warts the Tribe does have, it may become easy to overlook one of the best back-ends in the game. Well stop doing it.
3. The top of the Wahoo lineup got busy against Halos starter Dan Haren. Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis, Jose Lopez and Michael Brantley combined to go 8-for-22 with seven runs scored and four runs driven in. However, as we have stressed in the past, it was the bottom of the Tribe order that provided the difference. That included a run scoring double by Jack Hannahan and a solo home run by Shelley Duncan. Again, it is impossible to ask the “core four” to be perfect every night at the dish, thus makes it so important - and game changing - when the Indians get productive at-bats at the bottom. Unfortunately to this point, that remains the exception, not the rule. Until that changes - either internally or externally - the offensive output will continue to be up and down.
4. If one rain delay was not enough, a second rain delay was enough to drive you insane. After a 44-minute stoppage in play in the eighth, with one-out in the ninth, the umpires called for the tarp. Esmil Rogers, who started the ninth, had a dumbfounded look on his face as the rest of his teammates were forced to leave the field. The look on the mug of Rogers mirrored the look on my ugly mug in the press box. I felt even worse for the fans, who were essentially forced to find cover and wait it out because of the fireworks that were set to follow at Progressive Field. The second delay lasted 57 excruciating minutes.
He said it…
Manny Acta on Zach McAllister giving up a home run to Mike Trout in the fifth: “I think he’s going to learn a big lesson today. Not allowing a guy to beat you on your third best pitch with first base empty. But that’s how you learn…”
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