5 Factors That Led to the Cleveland Indians' Sweep of the Chicago White Sox
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The Cleveland Indians swept the Chicago White Sox on Friday by scores of 19-10 and 9-8 in what has to rank as one of the weirdest and most exciting doubleheaders in Cleveland Indians history. According to the MLB Network, the 19 runs tied the Indians' own mark for the most runs scored in a single game in the MLB this season.
Also according to the MLB Network, the double dip saw the Indians and White Sox combine for the second most runs scored in the history of the Sox/Indians series history, a history that has spanned 2,068 games.
Trevor Bauer (.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 2 HR) got absolutely shelled in his fill-in start in the first game, and Carlos Carrasco (5.2 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) started out strong but faltered in the fifth and sixth innings in the nightcap.
Other than the weak starting pitching, there was a balanced offensive attack, production from role players and stars, the ability to comeback from significant deficits and good relief pitching at times that allowed the Indians to take two from the White Sox.
Let's take a closer look at each of these factors.
Balanced Offensive Attack
The Indians banged out 21 total hits in the first game–eight of them doubles, one triple and one home run.
Every single player not only got a hit, but scored a run in the onslaught, and every position player except Cabrera drove in a run. More than that, every Indian had multiple hits except for Mark Reynolds who went 1-for-4 but contributed two walks, one RBI and two runs scored in the effort.
The Indians only banged out 12 hits in the second game.
If you factor in the players from the second game who started in the second but didn't play in the first (Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana), only one (Brantley) didn't have a hit in either game. And only Brantley and Santana didn't record multiple hits.
The only starters to not record a hit in the second game were Brantley (who still contributed a RBI) and Drew Stubbs. But, Stubbs had a very good first game going 2-for-6 with a run scored, a triple, three runs batted in and a walk.
Within this balanced attack were great performances from bench and role players.
Bench Guys Contributed in a Big Way
The bench has been very good for the Indians all year, and never more so than in this doubleheader. Let's take a look at the lines of some key bench guys who helped attain the sweep:
Ryan Raburn: 3-for-9, 3 R, 4 RBI, 1 HR
Mike Aviles: 5-for-10, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 2B
Yan Gomes: 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 2B
Raburn had some big hits on the afternoon, as his single in the fourth inning of the first game drove in Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis to put the Indians up 7-5 and gave the Tribe a lead that they wouldn't relinquish.
Raburn also had an important home run in the seventh that put the Indians back up 16-10 after the White Sox had climbed back to be only down 14-10 from a 14-5 deficit.
Aviles figured prominently in rallies in both games. He had a huge two-out double that continued the crucial five-run, game-tying rally in the second inning of the first game, and he hit a big two-out single to drive in two in the Indians' big six-run fourth in that same contest.
Gomes had a two-out, two-run double and a two-out, run scoring single in the first contest.
Let's take a look at the lines of some key Indians starters and their big hits on the day:
Stars Came Up Big
Jason Kipnis: 4-for-7, 5 R, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 4 BB
Asdrubal Cabrera: 4-for-8, 4 R
Nick Swisher: 3-for-8, 4 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 1 2B, 1 HR
Mark Reynolds: 3-for-9, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 HR
Kipnis continued his hot hitting in the doubleheader by reaching base in his 30th straight game, according to MLB Network. Also per this source, Kipnis' three walks and three doubles was something that hadn't been accomplished since walks became an official stat in 1913.
His big moments on the day included a huge two-out double in the bounce-back second inning of the first game, and a key sacrifice fly that drove in Michael Bourn with the game-tying run in the ninth inning of the nightcap.
Cabrera had a monumental pinch-hit single off super tough Sox closer Addison Reed that helped lead to the Indians tying and overtaking the White Sox.
Swisher came out of his huge slump and had two notable clutch hits on the afternoon, as his two-out single tied the game in the second inning of the first game and his two-out bomb was the game-winner off Reed in the nightcap.
As for Reynolds, he also woke up his bat to hit a home run in the second inning and joined the hit parade in the first game with a two-run single.
Aside from the offense, the relief corps, except for a few hurlers, came up big in some spots.
Relievers Performed Well
Aside from Bryan Shaw (1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 K) and Cody Allen (1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 HR) in the first game, and Matt Langwell ( 1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 R, 2 ER), the relief corps was relied upon heavily in the double dip due to the ineffectiveness of the starters.
Some key performers were:
Matt Albers: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 1 K
Vinnie Pestano: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 4 K
Joe Smith: 1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K
Rich Hill: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 3 K
Albers stemmed the tide by putting in two solid innings of relief after Trevor Bauer's implosion. His two shut-down frames allowed the Indians to mount their comeback. His performance was huge on Friday.
Pestano was a little shaky in the first game, but he struck out the side in the second game to record his sixth save in the 9-8 win.
Smith was solid in his one inning of relief.
Yes, Hill gave up the tie-breaking single in the sixth inning of the second tilt to give the Sox the 6-5 lead, but he got Gordon Beckham to fly out with the bases loaded to minimize the damage. In his second inning of work Hill struck out the side.
The relievers put in some key innings of work that were instrumental in the sweep and allowed the Indians to make sizable comebacks. Let's take a look at how the Tribe battled back in some key spots.
The first comeback in the first game was instrumental in the comeback of the opener because it came immediately after the Sox seized a 5-0 lead after a huge first inning.
The immediate answer gave the Tribe confidence that they could still win the game. Any kind of answer in that inning would've been important, but to come all the way back with a five-run inning of their own was instrumental.
The second and third comebacks put the nail in the coffin in Game 1 as the Indians answered the Sox trimming the lead to 14-10 in the sixth with two runs of their own in the seventh inning and three in the eighth inning. This must have taken the wind out of the sails of the Sox's comeback bid.
Who put in the most important work in the doubleheader?
The biggest answer of the doubleheader came in Game 2 when the Tribe roared ahead with four runs in the ninth when they got to Sox closer Addison Reed, who is fourth in the AL in saves with 21.
It was an epic sweep on Friday that was driven by the above factors.
Who knows? These two games could be wins that you could look back at as key victories that drove the team to great success.
Thanks for reading! I welcome any comments you may have.
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