Unlike the last two times the Indians had chances at sweeps over the Twins and Yankees, Sunday they spent Fathers Day making short work of the lowly Detroit Tigers, wrapping up a dominating sweep with an 8-0 shutout win.
The Tribe scored one in the first, three in the third and two in the fourth to put the game away.
Trevor Bauer collected his first complete game shutout, and now with four games against the Texas Rangers looming, the Indians have won 7 of their last 10.
The offense was led by cleanup hitter Jason Kipnis, who homered, doubled and drove in three runs. Oscar Mercado drove in four runs in the win and collected three hits to raise his average to .306 on the season.
The win puts the team at 37-33, and they are still very much looking at the wild card race as the best chance to eventually make another postseason, as the next four days in Texas will be critical to where this team will be at come the end of June.
Here’s a couple takeaways from the afternoon affair in Detroit as the team heads to Arlington.
1. Foot on the Throat
While facing a team going nowhere in the Tigers, the Indians didn’t allow themselves to fall in the trap of playing down to a team they should beat 8 out of 10 times they face them.
Instead the weekend was full of good things on all sides, as the offense put up 25 runs to just six for the Tigers in the three games.
They collected 40 hits to just 17 for Detroit. Not bad considering that they seemed to be falling back into the mode of struggles on offense scoring just two games each against the Reds to end the last homestand.
They looked like a team that was having fun, and didn’t mind showing the rest of baseball that this team clearly isn’t done yet being an afterthought to the postseason.
2. Bauer’s Excellent Adventure
Hard to believe that with the success that Trevor Bauer has enjoyed over the last few seasons that Sunday was the first time in his career that he threw a complete game shutout.
There seemed little question on the part of the team up 8-0 to send Bauer out for the 9th inning or not, and he responded getting the Tigers out to end the awesome outing.
Bauer threw 117 pitches, 80 for strikes, and also collected eight strikeouts with just four hits and didn’t allow a walk.
This is the Bauer that Indians fans had come to expect the past two seasons, and it was the first ‘W’ for Bauer since a game against Miami on April 30th.
He did throw in a few wins since then, but didn’t record a win.
For now, he’s 5-6 with a 3.41 ERA, but more importantly he looks like in the last two outings he’s getting back to the the dominant Bauer who can throw a shutout on any given day.
3. A Huge Four Days Ahead
As the Indians wake up Monday they will find themselves a full 10 games back of the Twins in the AL Central – but in terms of the wild card, they are 1/2 game back of the Red Sox and Rangers who are tied for the second wild card position.
These four games in Texas could easily put the Indians in position to now being one of those two teams leading the wild card scramble with about three months and a week left in the season.
Yes it’s just four games, but the ability to put it to a team they are looking up at it something that they have to be excited about.
Add the fact you are getting Mike Clevinger back and that this team has won 7 of 10 shows that (at least for now) that things are coming together for this squad.