It’s sometimes hard to believe Chicago is dead last. Looking at the names on their starting line up, you would think they have a good roster. Statistically, though, not so much; mediocre at best. Statistically, they don’t even have the worst pitching staff, other than giving up walks. They’re the best at that.
So what is it that is causing them to look so bad? Little things. Costly errors. The consistent perfect timing of unfortunate events isn’t just digging a hole for them; it’s burying them right along with it. Their offense did a great job tying the ball game giving them an opportunity to make something happen and lo and behold, with two men on base, a batter is hit by the pitch loading them up followed by another hit batsman to walk in the go-ahead (and eventually the winning) run.
It is a struggle to come back and tie a ball game against Cleveland as it is. So far in the month of July, the Indians have allowed 6 or more runs in only 5 games out of the 25 played. They have allowed 5 runs in only 4 of the remaining 20 games. The remaining 64% have been held to 4 or less.
Fortunately for Chicago, they did not get swept. The next game saw an awesome pitcher’s duel with Carlos Rodon coming up victorious, striking out 9 Indians. Matt Davidson broke the tie and ended the game with a no-doubt-about-it walk-off homer to center field.
It may have been the game the Sox needed to boost their confidence into the next game. It was enough to break the Tribe’s winning streak, but more than likely not enough to thwart their vicious offensive drive.
The Indians now move on to pay visit to the team that stopped Kansas City’s fire and doused their embers. This will be the first time this year the two teams have met. They are evenly ranked with 57 wins a piece. Boston has a 30-20 record at home while Cleveland has a 29-22 record away from home.
Boston’s Doug Fister is set to host Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger in the first game of their 3-game series. Fister did not have a quality start in his last outing against the Blue Jays, giving up 6 runs on 7 hits and walking 4. He’s going to need to keep his pitches down and on the corners to be effective. Anything he leaves up in the zone flatlines drastically and can be seen by the batters as fat pitches. He needs to also be wary of pitches down over the plate. Opponents are batting .600 in that area. So location is an absolute must for Fister.
Clevinger wasn’t much better during his last outing, either, also giving up 6 runs, but with more hits (9), two of them homers. Clevinger, on the other hand, does not have to be as selective in his location as he does which pitch can be thrown where. He can paint almost any portion of the strike zone with little worry. Nearly all of his opponents’ damage has stemmed from pitches thrown middle/middle-in and he must stay away from that area as much as possible as his release point makes it easier to read pitches there.
It may very well be a batter bonanza tomorrow. We’ll see which of these starters, if any, can buckle down and give the other team a tough set of plate appearances.