Rain Delays and Early Offense Proves Too Much; White Sox 2, Indians 1
Danny Madden | On 28, May 2014
Despite a two and a half hour rain delay, the Indians and White Sox still powered through the weather to pull out a complete game.
With thunderstorms in the forecast, the game was delayed to start off the night for thirty minutes. After three complete innings of play, the game was then delayed for another two hours. Justin Masterson (2-4) started the game for the Indians, and Chris Sale was on the mound for the White Sox. Neither pitcher though was able to return for the fourth inning due to the delay.
The Indians placed Nick Swisher on the fifteen day DL and Carlos Santana on the seven day DL prior to the game. Both first basemen Jesus Aguilar and catcher George Kottaras were summoned from Triple-A Columbus to replace their fallen teammates.
Sale, who is only one start removed from coming back from the disabled list, started off the first inning by striking out both Michael Bourn and Asdrubal Cabrera. It always seemed that the Indians were able to get on top of Sale as he had an ERA of 8.61 against Cleveland in 2013. He looked sharp in his first inning against Tribe as he was able to get Michael Brantley to ground out following the two strike outs.
In the bottom of the first, Masterson was looking to rebound from his previous start against the Orioles where he was pitching on only three days’ rest. In that game he went three innings and gave up one earned run, two walks, and only three strike outs. Adam Eaton flew out to start the half inning, but Masterson surrendered a double to Gordon Beckham and then gave up back to back walks to both Connor Gillaspie and Adam Dunn to load up the bases with only one out. Masterson pulled a rabbit out of hat though and was able to work around the bases loaded situation when he struck out the hot hitting Alexei Ramirez and caused Dayan Viciedo to ground out to third base.
The Indians were over matched by Sale in the top of the second as they went in order, including a strike out to Ryan Raburn to lead it off. Much of the same happened for the Sox as Masterson went 1-2-3 as well in the bottom of the second.
After getting his fourth strike out of the inning, Sale gave up a walk to Mike Aviles for a one out base runner. With Justin Sellers at the plate, he grounded out softly to the short stop, when Beckham went to turn the double play Aviles went to slide into second to break up the double play. With the conditions of the infield, due to the falling rain, he ended up spiking Beckham half way up his right leg. Aviles looked like he was injured in the play, but was able to come back out in the bottom of the third. With all the injuries the Indians are currently dealing with, losing Aviles would be a huge loss.
In the bottom of the third, the Sox lead off the inning with a single by Eaton, who was eventually moved over due to a wild pitch by Masterson. The single by Eaton was hit softly by Aviles at third, who acted like he couldn’t see the ball due to all the rain that was falling at the time. With the sloppy conditions of the infield, it was going to be tough to make any type of quick play without potentially suffering an injury to another player. With one out in the inning, Gillaspie lined a sharp single to right field to score Eaton for the first run of the game. At the end of the inning the score was 1-0 Sox.
Following the third inning, the grounds crew returned to the field to lay out the tarp. With one run scored for the Sox and only three complete innings played, the game went into a two hour delay. At about 11:50 EST, the game resumed with both Masterson and Sale out of the game.
Scott Carroll (2-3) came on to pitch for the White Sox in the top of fourth in relief of Sale. Brantley singled to center with one out to increase his current hit streak to thirteen games. Raburn followed Brantley with a single of his own, but Yan Gomes couldn’t get the job done and flew out to the third basemen Gillaspie. With Aguilar coming up to bat, Terry Francona elected to go with the hottest hitter on the team to play pinch hit, Lonnie Chisenhall. Although, this was all for naught as Chisenhall flew out to end the inning.
Chisenhall stayed in the game to play first base following his pinch hit. Mark Lowe came on for the Tribe in relief of Masterson. With two outs, Lowe gave up a walk to catcher Tyler Flowers, but was able to get Eaton to strike out and end the inning. Carroll stayed on to pitch another inning, and only surrendered a single to Aviles.
Lowe had returned to the mound to start the fifth, but that was not long lasted as he gave up a solo shot to Beckham to bring the score to 2-0 Sox. Josh Outman came on in relief of Lowe, and was able to induce a groundout to Gillaspsie and a strike out to Dunn. After giving up an infield single to Ramirez he was then removed in way of John Axford. His trip to the mound was also short as he was able to get Viciedo to quickly ground out to end the inning.
In Carrolls third inning of work, both Cabrera and Raburn were able to get singles to put runners on the corners with one out. Gomes was unable to come through though as he hit into an inning ending double play. Axford returned to the mound and looked very sharp as he went 1-2-3 while striking out both Alejandro De Aza and Flowers.
With both Chisenhall and David Murphy coming up to start the seventh, the White Sox elected to go to lefty Scott Downs to face the two lefty batters. He was not able to do his job as he surrendered back to back singles to lead off the inning. The Indians had hit plenty of singles in the game, but had not been able to get an extra base hit in the last three games. Jake Petricka came in to relieve Downs following the singles. With runners on the corners, Aviles hit a groundball fielder’s choice to Ramirez to score Chisenhall from third to bring the score to 2-1 White Sox leading.
Marc Rzepczynski came on for Axford in the seventh. With the infield starting to turn into mud, Rzepczynski had some trouble with his command due to his shoes getting clogged up with mud. Despite the conditions, Rzepczynski only gave up one walk, but kept the score at 2-1 White Sox.
Bourn led off the top of the eighth and was able to lace a single into center. The Indians again threatened in this inning, but again did not score. Cabrera flew out to the shortstop, and Brantley followed by grounding into a double play. The bottom of the eighth showed off some good defense by the Indians, which is something that has been lacking lately. The inning started off with a great catch in foul territory by Chisenhall at first base. After Viciedo reached on a single, Konerko drove a long fly ball to center that was headed out of the park. Konerko did not get his home run though as Bourn was able to reach up and snag the ball as it was going over the fence, keeping the score at 2-1 White Sox. After a double by De Aza, Allen was able to get out of the inning with no runs scored.
The Indians were down to their last three outs in the ninth with Raburn, Gomes, and Chisenhall due up to face Ronald Bellisario. Raburn grounded out to short, Gomes flew out to right, and Chisenhall struck out to end the inning. For the first time since 1991, the Indians have gone three straight games without getting an extra base hit.
The Indians will need to start driving balls more if they hope to be successful. They have done a good job of getting on base with singles, but if they can’t hit the extra base hits, then they will not be able to score any runs.
Photo: Brian Kersey/Getty Images