Second Thoughts Game #148: Indians 8, White Sox 1
Jimenez continues to pitch like an ace, Tribe wins three straight over ChiSox
Player of the Game: Ubaldo Jimenez (8 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB / 8 SO)
Another game on Chicago’s Southside, and another win for your Cleveland Indians.
After a scoreless tie between both club’s through three innings, the Tribe offense unleashed two homers for a five run fourth to give them the lead they would never surrender. Indians bats roughed up White Sox right-hander Andre Rienzo for five runs on seven hits in just four innings.
Tribe starter Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.49 ERA) took a shutout in the ninth inning, and pulled away with his best start as a member of the Indians.
The team picks up its 80th victory of the year, their most since 2011.
Big U stellar, racks up another Big W
I said it two weeks ago right after Justin Masterson pulled his left oblique, if the Tribe can grab a wild card spot, Jimenez should pitch the one game wild card playoff. In fact if the last two weeks of the regular season go as planned, Jimenez will be scheduled to start that game.
The Indians right-hander looked like he did back when he was with Colorado Saturday, giving up just one run on eight hits in over 8 1/3 innings.
Any fans out there still with General Manager Chris Antonetti shouldn't have pulled the trigger on the Jimenez trade two years ago?
Over his last three starts, Jimenez is an undefeated 3-0 with a 0.42 ERA. Not only that, but he has arguably been the best pitcher in the American League after the All-Star Break, posting a league low, 1.83 ERA in his last 10 starts.
And if that didn't shock you, how about matching up the best two Indians starters in the rotation:
Jimenez (12-9, 3.49 ERA) 162.2 innings, 147 H, 63 ER, 76 BB / 165 SO in 29 starts
Masty (14-10, 3.52 ERA) 189.1 innings, 155 H, 74 ER, 75 BB/ 188 SO in 29 starts
Whether the team can retain him on his $8 million option for 2014 or not, the Tribe should absolutely find any way they can to keep Jimenez wearing Chief Wahoo for the next few years.
Chiz Kid goes yard
Say what you will about Lonnie Chisenhall's .229 batting average, the third baseman continues to heat up at the plate when it matters the most. The Chiz Kid went 2-for-4 in Saturday's ballgame belting his tenth long ball off Rienzo in the fourth inning.
Over his last 19 games, the Chisenhall is hitting and even .300 (15-for-50) with five doubles, four homers and eight RBI. While he has struggled for most of the year, it is nice seeing the 24-year old trying to end the season on a high note.
There's still no guarantee that Chisenhall will be one of the team's starters come next year, but if he can find his stroke against left-handers, look out American League.
Rockin' Raburn keeps rolling
He may have snapped his six-game hitting streak Saturday, but that didn't stop Ryan Raburn from driving in another run at the plate with a sac fly in the ninth inning. The right-handed slugger has now picked up 15 RBI in his last seven games.
I asked Francona after the loss to Kansas City in the series finale this past Wednesday if Raburn was feeling alright after missing four consecutive games. Tito simply said yes, and boy has it showed.
Since June 28, Raburn is hitting .333 (26-for-78) with nine doubles, eight homers and 32 RBI over his last 29 ballgames. Francona and the Indians finally realized they need Yan Gomes behind the plate and in the starting lineup on a regular basis, in order to make their final push toward October, they need to do the same with Raburn.
Baring any setbacks or other acquisions this offseason, the former Detroit Tigers outfielder in my opinion should be the Tribe's Opening Day right fielder in 2014. He is too valuable of an asset at the plate to not play him everyday.
Windy City Luck
The ChiSox celebrated six months until St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday by having a green trim in their uniforms with green hats, but it was the Indians that would continue to benefit from the luck of Chicago.
With another win over the Pale Hose, Cleveland has now racked up 14 wins against Chicago this season, the most since 1952. Not only that, but eight of those victories have come on the Southside, their most since the last time the Tribe won the World Series in1948.
Now if only we can get some of that same consistency down the stretch, especially at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
With their third straight win, Cleveland (80-68) moves to just 1.5 games in back of the Texas Rangers for the first A.L. wild card spot. If the Indians can get the top wild card seed, they will host the one-game playoff at Progressive Field.
They improve to 9-4 in September with just 14 games remaining on the schedule.
Up next for the Indians: The Tribe will go for the four-game series sweep in the rubber match Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field. Zach McAllister (7-9, 4.11 ERA) takes the hill for the Wahoo’s as he goes up against ChiSox aceChris Sale (11-12, 2.90 ERA). McAllister has struggled since returning from injury, owning a 3-4 record with a 4.96 ERA in his last 10 starts. Offensively, the Indians have kept Sale winless at 0-3 on the year against them, giving up five runs on 10 hits in his last start versus Cleveland back on August 1.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.