While the Indians could not find their footing in their last 11-game homestand, this time it’s been so far so good against much better competition.
After taking two of three against the AL Central’s first-place Twins, the Indians took care of business for the second straight day against the AL East’s first-place Yankees, winning 8-4 on Saturday afternoon in front of a large crowd of 32,239.
Also for the second straight day the Indians came back after trailing early, as this time they were down 2-0 after starter Adam Plutko gave up a two-run homer in the first inning to Didi Gregorius.
On this day it was the long ball for the Tribe that gave them the win, as they went deep three times to put them up 7-2 after six innings, and while the Yankees scored twice in the 7th, the pen held the Yankees in check the rest of the way.
With the win the Tribe is 4-1 on this homestand, and will look for a sweep of the Yankees as Shane Bieber will go for the Indians against Chad Green.
For now, here’s a couple takeaways from Saturday’s win for the Tribe.
1. Chicks Dig the Long Ball
The Indians showed some power at the plate on Saturday, hitting three homers in the win along with three doubles, one of which was inches from being another homer.
Oscar Mercado hit a two-run blast for his 3rd of the year in the fifth that made it 4-2 Tribe, and then in the 6th it was Roberto Perez with a 447-foot two-run blast to make it 6-2, and Kevin Plawecki hit a solo shot to make it 7-2.
It’s taken plenty of time this season for this team on offense to catch fire, and while the averages are still not up to par and need to get better, it just feels like over the last five games (31 runs, 6.2 runs per game) they are getting ahead more in the count and driving the ball.
There’s no doubt that you just need a few guys to get hot to carry an offense, and with Perez and Lindor leading the way, this team just has a different feel this homestand.
2. Plutko Does the Job
Adam Plutko got the call on Saturday, and was effective after allowing a first inning two-run homer, going six innings not allowing another run.
On the day the Tribe starter went six, allowing two runs with three hits, no walks and four strikeouts. It took the Indians offense a little while to get rolling, but once they did it put Plutko in the driver’s seat.
With the pitching staff still reeling after the latest with Carlos Carrasco and having three of five opening day starters on the injured list, these are the type of outings you need from a pitcher like Plutko.
Just keep the team in the game, do your job and throw strikes (61 of 85 pitches were strikes), and don’t give up a lot of long balls.
Plutko did that, and notched the ‘W’ for himself at the same time.
3. Foot on the Throat
Right now the best starter in the rotation is going to get the ball on Sunday as Shane Bieber will go for the Indians with a chance to pull a stunning sweep of the Yankees.
The team was in a similar mode on Thursday but Trevor Bauer allowed a homer in the first and the team never recovered as Jose Berrios shut them down in the team’s 5-4 loss.
This time getting an early lead would be great, but Bieber has been throwing the ball so well as long as he keeps the team in the game hopefully they can find a way to get to Green.
It’ll be another big crowd on hand and that should make it a great atmosphere at Progressive Field.