The Cleveland Indians relied on timely hitting and a remarkable performance out of Zach Plesac to earn a decisive victory over the Angels on Tuesday.
The Cleveland Indians earned one of their more stress-free wins of the season on Tuesday night, shutting out the Angels by a score of 8-0.
The story of the night was Zach Plesac, who tossed by far his best start of the season. The rookie hadn’t logged a quality start since the seventh day of August, so he amended that by throwing a complete game and shutting out the Angels.
Plesac relied on efficiency, throwing 78 strikes out of 114 pitches. He gave up four hits, struck out five, and issued two walks. Plesac isn’t the dominant type of pitcher that teammates Shane Bieber or Mike Clevinger are, but nights like Tuesday prove he is capable of carving through a lineup.
Here’s what else transpired in the Tribe’s fifth unanswered win over the Angels.
Luplow vs. Lefties
Jordan Luplow is officially back after breaking a scoreless tie with a two-run bomb in the second inning. The Tribe’s token lefty-killer later drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in the third run of the evening.
It was evident going into this series that the Indians would need Luplow to come through. The Angels have started two left-handed pitchers, and will send a third to the mound in Wednesday’s finale.
One Big Hit
It’s not often you see tempers flaring from the mostly even-keeled Indians dugout, but as the old saying goes: where there’s Yasiel Puig, there’s fire. Puig had already been drilled in the back by an 0-1 fastball in the second inning when he came to the plate in the third.
He took another one straight off the side of his knee from lefty Jose Suarez, who was very obviously not in command of his pitches. Puig’s second HBP came on a 1-2 count, and was immediately preceded by an errant breaking ball that grazed Carlos Santana’s foot one batter earlier.
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It also loaded the bases, so in other words, it was in no way intentional. That didn’t stop Puig from offering a cold, lengthy stare at Suarez as he limped to first base. Some words were exchanged and the bullpens nearly emptied, but cooler heads ultimately prevailed.
Luplow would go on to draw his run-scoring walk, at which point Angels manager Brad Ausmus made the fatal mistake of leaving Suarez in to face Franmil Reyes. Reyes laced the first pitch he saw down the left field line for a base-clearing double.
Whatever hope the Angels had of staying in the game evaporated the instant the ball left Reyes’s powerful bat. The Indians went up 6-0 and never looked back.
Lindor Cranks No. 30
Cleveland’s seventh run of the evening came on a Francisco Lindor solo shot. The seventh-inning missile was Lindor’s 30th home run of the season, making 2019 his third consecutive year with 30 or more home runs.
He is the only shortstop in baseball to have accomplished this feat over the last three years. He also missed nearly all of April.
It is well that the Indians put on a solid showing against the Angels on Tuesday, because their competition in the AL playoff race didn’t falter.
The Twins wore out Anibal Sanchez in a pitchers’ duel before ultimately taking a late lead and winning 5-0 at home against Washington.
The Rays rallied back from an early 3-0 deficit to defeat the Rangers by a score of 5-3 in extra innings.
The A’s took vengeance on the Astros for Monday night’s hose-down, swatting their way to an impressive 21-7 victory in Houston.
The Indians will look to wrap up the season series against the Angels with a six-game sweep on Wednesday. The series finale will start at 8:07 PM as opposed to 10:07 PM. Upon returning from the west coast, the Tribe will host the Twins for the weekend. The series represents Cleveland’s last chance to gain ground in the AL Central by winning head-to-head over Minnesota.