Indians A.L. Championship X-Factors Resurface Through Two Games

ARLINGTON (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Indians looked like a well-oiled machine on Tuesday night, moving to 2-0 with a 4-2 win over the Rangers in Arlington.

Terry Francona’s side knew they would only be able to count on starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco for so long.

The righty made his first start since September 17th of last season, and probably exceeded expectations, getting through 5 2/3 innings on an efficient 78 pitches. 53 of Carrasco’s pitches were strikes, and he retired the final nine batters he faced.

Despite limitations on the man who threw very limited innings in the Spring while returning from a broken hand, the Indians carried a justified confidence because of the things that ultimately got them to the Fall Classic six months ago: Defense and relief pitching.

Boone Logan, Bryan Shaw and Andrew Miller all registered their first holds of the season, combining for 2 1/3 innings on just 18 pitches. Shaw allowed the only hit, a Joey Gallo single in the 7th.

Cody Allen picked up his second save of the season, though he had to work for it. The closer allowed back-to-back doubles to Nomar Mazara and former Indians hero Mike Napoli in the bottom of the 9th, but struck out the side to end the game.

The Napoli double drove in the lone run off of the Indians bullpen through 6 1/3 this season. Relievers have allowed just five hits over that span, striking out nine without a single walk.

Through two games, the Tribe have turned in two error-free games in the field, including a showcase on Tuesday.

Brandon Guyer turned in a rolling catch in right field off the bat of Carlos Gomez on the first Carrasco pitch of the game. Two innings later, the platoon outfielder hosed Nomar Mazara at second base after the opposing right fielder singled to deep right.

Jose Ramirez turned in a fine performance in his second game filling in for Jason Kipnis. The highlight was in the 8th inning when the fill-in second baseman raced to a Gomez pop-up in foul territory on the first-base side, covering 80 feet in 4.2 seconds, according to statcast.

Behind the bag

Replay in baseball was meant to further the game and bring it further into the 21st Century, but the technology may soon have players rolling things back a bit.

Francisco Lindor walked following Carlos Santana’s lead-off home run, and was called safe upon stealing second base after Michael Brantley came to the plate.

Upon further review, replay showed that for a single frame of footage, neither the shortstop’s foot nor hand made contact with the bag. The blurry bit of tape was enough for the replay crew back at headquarters to rule Lindor was conclusively out.

While over-sliding a base was almost certainly not intended to be what umpires looked at on replays, such reviews have now become prominent in the game and runners will have to curb the potential of becoming ajar from a base for even a split-second.

More from Alex Hooper | 92.3 The Fan
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