Bullpen Mafia Buries Reds; Indians 3, Reds 1
By Mike Brandyberry
Michael Brantley hit a three run home run and the bullpen only gave up one run, over seven innings as the Indians defeated the Reds, 3-1 on Saturday afternoon. The Indians are now 5-0 on the season against the Reds and will look for the sweep in Sunday’s series finale.
Lou Marson started the top of the third inning with a base hit. Fausto Carmona attempted to sacrifice Marson to second, but Scott Rolen’s attempt to cut down Marson resulted in pulling second baseman Brandon Phillips off the base. Meanwhile as Carmona stumbled running to first and face planted as he crossed the bag. It appeared he pulled his right quadricep and was forced to leave the game. Michael Brantley proceeded to hit his sixth home run of the season and gave the Tribe a 3-0.
Enter the Bullpen Mafia. Major League Baseball’s toughest bullpen was just that on Saturday. Frank Hermann replaced Carmona and pitched three scoreless innings before giving way to Rafael Perez for the sixth, Joe Smith for the seventh and Tony Sipp and Chad Durbin for the eighth. Smith lowered his ERA to a Major League best 0.99 in his inning of work.
With the absence of Chris Perez, on bereavement leave, Vinnie Pestano was called upon to close the ninth. Pestano, who only had one major league save before Saturday, struck out the side in the ninth and put the Indians a victory on Sunday away from a season sweep of the Reds. The victory, combined with Detroit’s 15-3 defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants, gives the Tribe a one and a half game lead in the division.
After the game Fausto Carmona looked bandaged and bruised. Carmona had webbing torn between index and middle finger on his right hand when Homer Bailey lined a ball back at him. His right quad was also bandaged and speculation in the locker room was that Carmona could be headed to the disabled list.
Theoretically, a trip to the disabled list, combined with the All-Star Break, could result in Carmona missing only one start. Jeanmar Gomez, who was named an International League All-Star this week, would be recalled from Columbus if Carmona would be placed on the disabled list. Carmona’s injury could also be the excuse the Indians have been looking for to get Fausto out of the rotation too. A disabled list trip, combined with a rehab stint in the minors, could give the club the chance to work on his mechanics and give the organization an extended look at Gomez at the major league level. An update on Carmona’s status is expected on Sunday.
Sunday, Mitch Talbot (2-4, 4.96 ERA) will try to keep the Indians hot as Mike Leake (7-4, 3.89 ERA) will try to salvage the final game for the Reds.