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Game 148

September 17, 2016 – Most Pitchers Ever Used in a Shutout After Carlos Carrasco Is Hit with Line Drive

The Plain Dealer’s Sunday Sports Headline the next day read, “Sept. 17: The day Cleveland Indians’ postseason dreams ended before they began.” Of course, that turned out to be false. Although 2016 ended in heartbreak, the heartbreak happened in Game 7 of the World Series and was hardly a foregone conclusion. 

The Tribe had an eight-game lead over Detroit in the Central and was poised to clinch the Division, but had been wracked with injuries–most recently to Danny Salazar and Yan Gomes. A strong regular season including a then franchise-leading fourteen game win streak had the Indians in a strong position, but fans and writers were doubting their staying power.  Carlos Carrasco was set to square off with Justin Verlander in the premier matchup of the weekend.

Ian Kinsler lined Carlos Carrasco’s first pitch right back to the mound that struck Carlos in the hand. Carrasco left the game and was later diagnosed with a broken bone in the little finger of his throwing hand. It was immediately apparent that he was done for the season. 

A day that started as an opportunity for a workhorse starter to eat innings and prepare for the post-season became a bullpen day in an instant. 

Terry Francona called Jason Bere the bullpen coach, “Tell them to put their seat belts on, ‘because they’re all going to pitch, and we’re going to win.” First up was Jeff Manship, who attempted to right the ship. Manship erased Kinsler by getting Cameron Maybin to ground into a double play. He went on to pitch a scoreless 1 ⅓ innings. 

Kyle Crockett retired the remaining two batters in the top of the second with no damage done. Cody Anderson was untouched in the top of the third. In the top of the fourth, Miguel Cabrera got aboard with a line drive single to left, but Victor Martinez grounded into a double play. Zach McAllister needed only ten pitchers to retire the Tigers side in the top of the fifth on three fly balls. Perci Gardner put runners on first and third before getting Victor Martinez to strike out to end the inning. Bryan Shaw walked J.D. Martinez to lead off the seventh, but retired the next three Tigers with no damage done. Cody Allen dispatched with Detroit in order in the top of the eighth. 

Through all of these changes, Justin Verlander worked through the Indians lineup. He pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up only one hit and four walks. Alex Wilson replaced him on the mound for the bottom of the eighth and held on to the scoreless tie. 

Andrew Miller came on to pitch the top of the ninth for the Indians. He battled Miguel Cabrera through an 8 pitch at-bat and eventually set Miggy down on a swinging strikeout. J.D. Martinez came up with a two-out single, but was left on base when Justin Upton lined out to right. 

After the Tribe squandered a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Miller returned to pitch the top of the 10th. Miller struck out the first two Tigers, and then got Jose Iglesias to ground out weakly back to the mound. 

Justin Wilson stayed on to pitch the bottom of the 10th for Detroit. Carlos Santana drew a walk to lead off the inning. Jason Kipnis laid down a bunt, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia scooped it up in front of the plate and forced Santana out at second. With Franciso Lindor at the plate, Kipnis advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then stole third. Lindor drew a seven-pitch walk to put runners at the corners. Detroit issued Mike Napoli an intentional walk to load the bases and set up a double play. 

Jose Ramirez stepped in and knocked Wilson’s 2-2 pitch into center field scoring Kipnis easily. Jose’s walkoff single was the club’s 10th walkoff win of the season. Miller was credited with the win and later remarked, “”We have no other choice … we have to find a way to win – no matter who is starting.” There could not have been a better tagline for the six weeks that were about to come between Game 148 and Game 7 of the World Series. 

The Indians used nine pitchers who combined for a four-hit ten strikeout victory. The bullpen crew gave up only three walks throughout the whole game. 

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Game 113

August 12, 2016 – Indians Steal Eight Bases on way to 13-3 Win

The 2007 Indians were my favorite team to watch pitch. The 1995 team was my favorite to watch at bat. The magic of the 2016 squad came on the basepaths. Rajai Davis, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and plenty others were always pushing to take an extra base. 

Carlos Carrasco was pitching against the Angels’ Tyler Skaggs on this hot August Friday night. Carrasco got off to a rocky start, giving up a solo home run to Kole Calhoun and an RBI single to Albert Pujols that scored Mike Trout. The score was 2-0 before the Indians came to bat. 

Rajai Davis drew an 11-pitch walk to lead off the game, then stole second on Skaggs second pitch to Jason Kipnis. On the very next delivery, Rajai broke for third and arrived safely. Kipnis poked a line drive single into left to send Davis home. WIth two outs, Kipnis stole second but Jose Ramirez struck out to end the inning. 

Carrasco got into a groove and threw a 1-2-3 second inning. Brandon Guyer lead off the bottom half of the second with a solo home run that tied the game at 2-2. 

Pujols put the halos ahead once again in the top of the third with a grounder to third that scored Kole Calhoun. 

Jose Ramirez singled to right to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Ramirez swiped second with Brandon Guyer at the plate. After Guyer fouled out, Ramirez stole third with Abe Almonte at bat. Almonte knocked a line drive into center field to score Jose and tie things up at 3-3. 

The Tribe pulled away in the bottom of the fourth with four runs on five hits. Rajai got his third steal of the night and Ramirez his third as well.

The Indians added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, and Lindor got the club’s eighth steal of the night. 

Brian Shaw and Zach McAllister both pitched 1-2-3 innings in relief as the Indians would continue to pile on toward a 13-3 victory. 

When asked what made Skaggs so easy to run on, manager Terry Francona said simply, “You’ve got a lanky left-hander on the mound whose young,”

The Indians had not had eight stolen bases in a game since Game 128 of 1917. Right fielder Braggo Roth stole four bags in that contest against the Washington Senators. Joe Harris added two steals along with one each from Tris Speaker and Bill Wambsganss.

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Game 100

July 27, 2014 – Indians Take Advantage of Egregious TOOTBLAN, Defeat Twins

One of the best developments to come from sports blogging and sports Twitter has been the invention of increasingly specific and weird statistics. In 2008, Tony Jewell coined the term TOOTBLAN in his now defunct Cubs blog Wrigleyville23. Short for Thrown Out On the Basepaths Like a Nincompoop.

More precisely “In short, it is any out a runner makes on the basepaths while attempting to take an extra base – whether advancing from second to third on a ground out (with no runner on first); attempting to stretch a single into a double, a double into a triple, and so on; or getting thrown out while advancing on a flyball. It also applies to base runners who are picked off or who are doubled out on a line drive.”

Jewell was using this measure to feed further statistical analysis that adjusted on-base percentage to account for errors on the basepaths. However, in the intervening years, it has become popularized as a hashtag for the sort of videos that would make Sportscenter’s “Not Top 10.”

Danny Salazar started for the Tribe against Yohan Pino of the Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis. Pino retired the first three Indians he faced, but began to get in trouble in the top of the second. Carlos Santana led off the inning with a line drive down the right field line. Then Pino hit Lonnie Chisenhall with his 0-2 pitch. Nick Swisher poked a hit into center to load the bases. After a Yan Gomes strikeout, David Murphy drove a line drive into right scoring Santana and Chisenhall. A Mike Aviles sacrifice fly put the Tribe up 3-0. 

The Twins challenged Salazar in the bottom of the fourth. With runners at the corners, Sam Fuld drove in Oswaldo Arcia with a grounder to first, but Salazar struck out Brian Dozier to quell the threat. 

In the bottom of the seventh, Dozier scored the Twins only other run with a line drive home run that cleared the wall near the left foul pole. After a Trevor Plouffe strikeout, Kendrys Morales stepped in against Indians reliever Scott Atchison. 

Morales blooped a single near the left field line. He made a wide turn at first and dug for second as Indians cup-of-coffee outfielder Chris Dickerson fielded the ball on one hop, wheeled and threw to second. The throw was a bit low, sending Jason Kipnis sprawling into the dirt. However, Morales slide brought him about four feet short of the base. He popped up and attempted to hopscotch over and around Kipnis’ tag, but Kip managed to tag his cleat. Morales confidently called himself safe, but umpire Brian O’Nora did not agree. 

The TOOTBLAN ended the Inning, and the Indians four hit, four run ninth inning iced the game, along with a non-save ninth inning appearance by Carlos Carrasco. 

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Game 78

July 2, 2015 – Gio Urshela’s Odd Hitting Streak

Closing out the 2014 season, Giovanny Urshela was regarded as the Indians top prospect. He was called up to the Majors on June 8th, and made his debut in Game 59.

By Game 77, Gio has already accomplished something (however odd) that no Indian had ever done. Jason Lukehart of SB Nation noted that Urshela had one hit–and no more–in twelve consecutive games. A search of the baseball reference database revealed that Rocky Colavito had one hit–and no more than one–in eleven consecutive games in 1958, making Urshela the franchise leader for this very odd distinction.

Keeping a hitting streak going is widely regarded as one of the most difficult accomplishments in baseball, where a 30% success rate at the plate can make you an All-Star. However, hitters on a hot streak usually succeed well past the minimum. Urshela’s streak to this point included eleven singles and a home run. He batted .293 during these twelve games–good, but nothing groundbreaking.

Gio’s single hit came in the top of the fourth with a line drive to center off the Rays’ Alex Colome. He advanced to second on a single by Michael Bourn, tagged up on a Roberto Perez fly out, and was driven home by a line drive by Jason Kipnis. Urshela’s run scored was the Indians fifth of the night, and they would go on to win 8-1 behind a brilliant start by Carlos Carrasco wherein he struck out thirteen and only gave up one hit in 8 ⅔ innings of work.

Urshela extended the one-hit streak to 15 games. He was unable to get a hit in Game 81, which was a 5-3 loss in Pittsburgh.

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