The Tribe was a winner last night 8-3 over Syracuse. Even with the recent struggles the Indians could be in first place after this Mother’s Day weekend. They were the only team to win yesterday and will enter play tonight 1.5 games out of the first place.
Tribe starter Daniel McCutchen looked like the same right-hander that created such a buzz with the Indians last summer. His starts this year have included an unusual number of walks preventing him from working deep into games (7 BB’s in 48 IP in 2008…11 BB’s in 26.2 IP in 2009). Last night he was on his game from the start giving up only one hit through four innings. D-‘Cutch would not make it out of the 5th inning walking two batters and giving up a pair of runs on a bases loaded single off the bat of Pete Orr. Daniel was yanked after 78 pitches and may have been limited due to missing his previous start with a minor groin injury. (Nothing about the groin says ‘minor’) Here is a picture of McCutchen warming up for the bottom of the second inning at Alliance Bank Stadium.
Up until last season there was Astroturf on the field and the outfield walls were blue. They really made some improvements at this park. The playing surface here is top notch. You have to give their grounds crew a ton of credit because he deals with inconsistent upstate New York weather. Two of last nights home runs were hit to left center. Tribe 1B Steve Pearce nearly hit the base of the scoreboard with his 6th inning solo shot. Pearce has homered in 3 of the last 4 games. Here are a couple of more pics from ABS. The seats are still the same blue as the outfield walls used to be.
Pearce and 3B Neil Walker went back-to-back in the 6th inning. Walker’s home run was a blast over the right field wall clearing the tents. OF Jeff Salazar drilled his two run home run in the 9th inning. Syracuse RF Ryan Langerhans did all he could to rob Sally of the homer, but he came up short as the ball landed on the tents.
Here is the view from the 1st base seats.
The home runs provided the runs, but when it was all said and done, the bullpen was the reason the Indians beat the Chiefs. Jeremy Powell, Denny Bautista, and Chris Bootcheck gave up a run (Brad Eldred home run off Powell) in 4.1 innings of work with 7 strikeouts. Bootcheck was the star of the game inteview and he was locked in as I caught up with him on the field. This is what Bootcheck had to say about striking out the side in the 8th inning:
I think from a momentum standpoint, at that point in the game to find a way to put up a zero and for our offensive to get them back in there to swing and have them put four runs on the board in the 9th was huge
The bullpen didn’t have a great home stand and they will be a key to the Indians success on this trip. If tonight is any indication they are more than ready for the challenge.
More from Bootcheck:
Every time I go out there I want to throw until they take the ball away from me. I want to do the best job I can. You know, I had time down in the bullpen to watch how the game was developing and once I went in I knew that I would pitch two innings unless I found a way to pitch my way out of it.
Booter struck out five of the six batters he faced. For the right-hander he threw 17 of his 26 pitches for strikes and earned his 4th save of the season. From what I read last night it appears the Indians ‘pen had a better night than the parent club.
Pittsburgh SS Jack Wilson was 1-3 with a two run double in his rehab appearance. Wilson flashed the leather turning a nifty double play with Shelby Ford. On the play, the man of first was running on the pitch and Wilson’s lightening quick hands made the play on a ground ball and flipped to Ford who relayed to first. The move to second was so quick you needed to see a replay to be sure it wasn’t a 6-3 double play.
Tonight Indians righty Virgil Vasquez (1-1, 4.85) faces Chiefs lefty Mike O’Conner (1-1, 2.38). First pitch is at 7:00 with radio coverage beginning at 6:40.