Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Tribe releases the Kipnis on Detroit

The Cleveland Indians may have found the bat they were looking for to wake up their slumbering offense – and it was right in their backyard all along.

Jason Kipnis put a charge into Progressive Field Wednesday night against Detroit, going 5-for-5 with a home run and three RBI on the night. In his past 10 games, dating to July 31, Kipnis is batting .364 (16-for-44) with two doubles and 10 RBI.

Kipnis also showed the kind of hustle that is quickly turning him into a favorite among Tribe fans. Twice he went from first to third on singles, the second time drawing a bad throw from center fielder Andy Dirks that allowed Kipnis to score and ignite a four-run inning.

“He’s a dirtbag,” Indians manager Manny Acta said in published reports. “A dirtbag is one of those guys who’ll run through a wall to win. His uniform is always dirty. He’s not concerned about how he looks on the field. He just wants to win. I feel like we’ve found our own Dustin Pedroia or Chase Utley.”

Where were the Indians hiding this guy in June and July?

Just as important, stater Ubaldo Jimenez went eight innings, giving the bullpen a much-needed rest after Tuesday night’s 12-inning effort.

“I commanded my fastball much better tonight,” Jimenez in published reports. “From the first pitch I was able to throw everything down in the zone, especially the fastball.”

So the Indians now sit two games back of Detroit as they head into tonight’s game against Justin Verlander, who is 16-5 on the season, although his career record at Progressive Field is only 4-8 with an ERA of 6.31.

Even if the Tribe can’t pull off the sweep, they will have shaved a game off the Tigers’ lead and planted some doubt in the minds of the Detroit players. The Indians just need to keep chipping away at Detroit.

And no matter what happens, it’s so nice after a four-year wait (that felt like 40) to have the Indians playing games in August that matter once again.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

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