Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Tribe doubles its pleasure in sweep of White Sox

tribe sweep chisoxStill trying to process how the Cleveland Indians were able to sweep the Chicago White Sox on Friday night in the longest nine-inning doubleheader in Major League Baseball history.

When the Tribe fell behind 5-0 in the first inning of the opener as starting pitcher Trevor Bauer decided that pitching exclusively from the stretch (without telling anyone prior to the game) was the way to go, it seemed like it was going to be a long night for the Indians.

But somehow the Tribe rallied back with 14 consecutive runs and took the opener, then followed that up with a five-run ninth inning of the nightcap (with Nick Swisher delivering the go-ahead home run; more on him in a moment) to pull off the sweep and pull within two games of Detroit in the American League Central Division.

A few highlights of the night, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information, show that:

  • The 28 total runs the Tribe scored on the night is more than 13 teams scored all of last week.
  • The 19 runs the Tribe scored in the opener was the second time the Indians have hit the 19-run mark this season. That marks the first time since 1923 that they have had multiple 19-run games in the same season.
  • Swisher’s home run came with a full count, two outs and the bases empty in the ninth inning of a tie game on the road. He’s the first player to homer in that situation and see his team win since Keith Ginter did it for Milwaukee in 2004.
  • In the first game, Jason Kipnis had three doubles and walked three times, becoming the first player to do that in the same game since individual walks became an official stat (that was 1913 in the American League, 1910 in the National League, for those of you keeping score at home). He is also the first player to have at least three extra-base hits and at least three walks in the same game since George Foster in 1978.
  • The Tribe and the White Sox combined for 46 runs and 59 hits while using 20 pitchers in the double header

Lost in the excitement over the comebacks is the fact that the Tribe pitchers gave up 18 runs on the night, with starters Bauer and Carlos Carrasco being particularly poor. The two combined to work just 6.1 innings, giving up 16 hits and 11 earned runs to post a combined ERA of 15.63.

That’s not going to get in done on most nights; luckily Friday night in Chicago was not one of those nights.

Which brings us to Swisher, who entered the weekend in a horrible slump that had him hitting just .125 in the month of June with zero home runs and just five RBI.

We pointed out on Thursday that the Tribe was going to need Swisher to get going if they hope to stay in the race with Detroit, and on Friday night he responded, going a combined three-for-eight in the two games, with three RBI and three walks in addition to his game-winning home run.

Coincidence? Well, back in May we wondered why Jason Giambi was on the active roster. Over his next two games, Giambi went three-for-five with two home runs and four RBI.

You can thank us later, Tribe fans. (And we should probably save some of our power for Browns season this fall).

Ubaldo Jimenez is scheduled to start Saturday’s game against Chicago. Normally that would leave us feeling a bit uneasy.

But after seeing the Tribe’s ability to deliver the unexpected on Friday night, it seems like we don’t have much to worry about.

(Photo courtesy of The Plain Dealer)

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