Covering the Bases: Game 21
White Sox 7, Indians 2
FIRST: There is no denying that the Indians’ defense cost the club dearly in this one. Two official errors in the box score and one more blunder that went down as a rare infield double. You don’t see those too often. Then again, you don’t see smoke helping out the home team too often, either.
In the third inning, the White Sox set off fireworks to celebrate Gordon Beckham’s leadoff homer against Ubaldo Jimenez. When they were done exploding, the sky was filled with a low-hanging smoke. Third baseman Jason Donald looked up and knew trouble was brewing.
Donald said: “I remember thinking, ‘If a ball gets in the air next pitch, nobody is going to have any clue where it is.’ That goes for the infield or outfield.”
Of course, the next pitch did get hit in the air and, naturally, it was hit above Donald. He lost sight of it until it was far too late and the baseball dropped to the grass, giving Alejandro De Aza a double. The rest of the third was a nightmare: an error from Asdrubal Cabrera, two walks (one with the bases loaded) from Jimenez, four runs total and a 5-1 lead for Chicago.
SECOND: The defense did The Big U no favors, but he certainly didn’t help himself, either. Jimenez threw just 54 of his 105 pitches for strikes and ended with a season-high six walks in only 4 2/3 innings. He was sitting around 91-92 mph for most of the night with his fastball. Manager Manny Acta and Jimenez both noted that the pitcher is working on some mechanical adjustments that will take a few starts. Jimenez said it involves his front shoulder, and the hope is that it will help generate more power. He said pitchign coach Scott Radinsky noticed a flaw between the pitcher’s 2010 form and what he’s been doing over the past two years. Fingers crossed.
THIRD: The Indians finally paid their power bill. The power outage is over. In the seventh inning, Shelley Duncan belted a solo home run to center field, marking the Tribe’s first homer since the fifth inning on April 17. Thus ends the homerless streak, which persisted through 11 games, 107 innings and 387 at-bats. So, for those of you that bet Cleveland would snap its streak before Albert Pujols belted his first home run of 2012, congrats.
HOME: Jimenez’s outing left something to be desired, but The Bullpen Mafia has certainly been back in business for the Indians. Jairo Asencio turned in 2 1/3 shutout innings for the Tribe and Nick Hagadone added one shutout frame, giving Cleveland’s relief corps 12 2/3 shutout innings over the past four games. Opposing hitters have managed only a .048 (2-for-42) average against Indians relievers in that span.
Indians (11-10) at White Sox (12-11)
at 8:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field