Game #4 – Chicago White Sox (1-2) vs. Cleveland Indians (1-2)
By Matthew Van Wormer
It seems that one by one, the Indians hitters are finally getting into the swing of things. On Easter Sunday it was the birthday boy, Carlos Santana, who found his stroke and with it helped propel the Indians to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. The win salvaged a series that could have easily seen the Tribe at 3-0 instead of 1-2.
With two home runs and three RBI, Santana was clearly the player of the game but the pitching of Derek Lowe cannot be overlooked. Lowe went seven strong innings, giving up just two runs, both unearned, while scattering five hits and getting his first win in a Tribe uniform. The Tribe bullpen made things interesting once again but extra innings were avoided and the Indians got the “W.”
Tonight the Indians will look to start their series with the Chicago White Sox and get to .500 and even get a series victory. Josh Tomlin (12-7, 4.25 ERA in 2011) will face off against the south side lefty, Chris Sale who worked out of the White Sox bullpen last season and will be making his first career start.
Tomlin had a rough spring and will need to get back to the performances that made him an innings eater and a guru for getting opposing hitters to ground out in 2011. The Indians haven’t had a bad performance from a starter all year and this is the time to keep that streak going, against a team that lost its ace (Mark Buehrle) and manager (Ozzie Guillen) at the end of last year, both to the Miami Marlins.
The Bullpen Mafia is the biggest concern heading into the second series of the season. After being one of the strongest bullpens in baseball a year ago, many expected more of the same in 2012. Unfortunately, a couple games in, the bullpen has not looked nearly as strong or as intimidating as expected. A couple errors by the usually sure handed Jack Hannahan and Asdrubal Cabrera also added to the suspense with Cabrera’s error happening in the top of the ninth as the Blue Jays threatened to tie the game.
The Indians will have a special guest in attendance tonight in the form of Army Veteran, R.J. Breisacher. R.J., who we featured in a story on March 9th, is in the early stages of his 30-park baseball tour and will be hanging out with us in the Cleveland Indians Social Suite. You can follow RJ (@baseballdreamin) and I (@MatthewDTTWLN) during the game as we live tweet all night.
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images