The Indians took two out of three from the Astros this week, and they did it in style. In the rubber game Thursday night, down a run and into the bottom of the seventh, Francisco Lindor stepped to the plate with Yan Gomes already stationed on first base. Lindor took Houston reliever Chris Devenski to a 2-0 count before unloading on the ball, sending it deep into center field and over the fence to push the Tribe ahead 4-3 on the night. The Astros couldn't reply and the Indians were victorious, capturing the series victory over one of the better teams in the American League.
Lindor vs Correa: Battle Of The Ages
We live in a golden age of shortstops, a time that rivals the days of Jeter, Garciaparra and A-Rod. Two of the very best in today's era hail from the shores of Puerto Rico, a historically blessed baseball nation. Lindor, from Caguas, and Correa, from Ponce, will be battling each other for the next decade for the title of best shortstop in the majors and they faced off against one another for the first time in 2017.
Over the course of this series the two of them went head-to-head. Correa had a total of 4 hits, 2 of them doubles, 2 walks, but 6 strikeouts. Lindor had just 2 hits, one of them a double, but the other was the mammoth home run that clinched the series win, collecting 2 RBI for his efforts. He also had 2 walks and struck out just the once, as opposed to Correa's half dozen.
So far this season Correa is slashing .219/.310/.329 with 2 HR and 5 RBI. Not exactly the kind of output the fans in Houston were expecting, but it's still early days. Whereas Lindor is performing much better, with a .301/.368/.614 batting line, and leads the Indians with 6 HR, and has 14 RBI, trailing only Jose Ramirez for the team lead.
Lindor is winning the battle between the duo so far and is off to a very hot start this year. His Thursday night homer traveled 456 feet, and was recorded as the longest home run of his professional career. When told after the game how far he hit it, Lindor said, "Really? I'm not supposed to be hitting the ball that far." He's such a legend already. Long live Frankie Lindor.
Here are some other quick takes from the series:
- Dallas Keuchel shrugged off 2 home runs to go the distance in the opening game Tuesday night, and pushed his record to 4-0. He looks in fine form and has made an early case for Cy Young contention. I realise how ridiculous that sentence is in April but the guy has been a force so far. Josh Tomlin battled him and wasn't too bad, but ran into a tricky fifth inning. Overall the Texan allowed 3 runs over 6 innings, scattering 8 hits and 6 strikeouts but took the loss.
- Cody Allen recorded back-to-back saves to seal the Indians' wins. On the Wednesday night Allen entered the game in the eighth in relief of Bryan Shaw, who had almost let the Astros back in the game. Allen got a crucial groundout and pitched a clean ninth to record a four-out save. He was back in action Thursday night and made things a bit more interesting, as he likes to do sometimes. Despite putting runners on the corners he worked his way out of the jam, picking up his 5th save of the year. Allen continues to do stellar work, despite making us sweat.
The Tribe now welcome another AL West opponent to Progressive Field, the 10-13 Seattle Mariners. In tonight's matchup the M's are likely to start 28 year-old Cuban lefty Ariel Miranda against Carlos Carrasco, who will be looking to continue his fine start to 2017.
Thanks for reading.