After dropping their finale at home to the Royals on Sunday the Indians used the off day Monday to refocus, and did exactly what they should have done over the last three days – sweeping the Detroit Tigers with a 2-0 win Thursday.
The fact they did it again at Comerica Park meant little considering the Indians have won now 14 straight against the Tigers, and are 15-1 against them this year.
The club got a boost on offense in the win from Francisco Lindor, who hit his second homer in two days, and also drove in the other run for the Indians with a sac fly.
Mike Clevinger struck out 10 in eight innings, and Brad Hand again looked a lot better in getting another save for the Indians.
Now the team will have much tougher competition as they will head to play the Tampa Bay Rays in St.Pete over the weekend. The Rays are one of the two teams right at the top challenging the Indians for the AL Wild Card spot.
Here’s a few tidbits from the win Thursday in Detroit.
1. Clevinger Dominant
The Indians starter looked as good as about any start this year, going eight innings, not allowing a run and striking out 10 in the win.
He gave up four hits and no walks in what ended up as his longest outing of the season.
Clevinger with the win moves to 10-2. He lasted 115 pitches, 82 of which were strikes, and he lowered his ERA to 2.72.
He’s right now got to be considered the ace of the staff with the recent ups and downs for Shane Bieber, but it’s a good position to have to even discuss who the best pitcher is on the staff.
2. Hand on Track
A perfect ninth in which he needed just seven pitches was a great sign again for closer Brad Hand, who it appears has rebounded from his struggles of blowing three saves recently.
Hand earned his 33rd save, and struck out one, and didn’t throw a ball in the inning, showing again more of the Hand that the team saw earlier in the season.
The pen has been having some ups and downs, and Hand was right there blowing three saves, but since then looks like the closer that the team should have plenty of confidence going to with the game on the line in the final inning.
3. Just Enough Offense
With Clevinger and Hand holding down the fort pitching wise, the offense didn’t do much, but got two big hits from Francisco Lindor.
The first blow from Frankie was his 25th homer to right field in the 3rd inning of Daniel Norris to give the team a 1-0 lead.
The offense only managed seven hits, but Lindor again got a big hit to get a run home, a sacrifice fly to center in the 7th to score Mike Freeman.
The offense had one very good game Tuesday, one okay game on Wednesday and today didn’t do a lot, but the bottom line is they won three games, and that’s all that matters.