The Indians beat Minnesota yesterday 5-0. C.C. Sabathia got his 16th win of the season, pushing his record to 16-7. His era dropped to 3.24, close to his career best (3.22 last year). As good as Sabathia was yesterday, the real story was the Tribe getting to Santana once again.
(Come on, I haven’t used the Santana joke all year…)
This is one of those baseball oddities that is just hard to explain. Obviously Santana is one of the best pitchers in the league. He has a 3.14 era this year. He ranks 2nd in strikeouts, and 1st in whip. His record, if you take the Indians games out, is 14-6. But the Indians have beaten him 5 times this year. Putting it in perspective, the last time a reigning Cy Young winner lost to the same team 5 times was…well never. In fact, the Indians will probably be the reason that Santana doesn’t win the Cy Young this season. Had Santana pitched well enough to win 3 of his 6 games against the Tribe, he would have close to triple crown numbers this year (wins, era, strikeouts.)
The offense took advantage of their opportunities yesterday, with sac flies by Victor and Gutierrez. Ryan Garko hit his 15th home run to boot. They scored enough runs to win, even if the Twins had gotten to Sabathia, which they never did. What was impressive was the Tribe’s approach to Santana. They were patient. They had Santana at 100 pitches in the sixth. In fact he was at 70 pitches in the 4th inning. That is how you beat a premier pitcher. You make him work. The Indians fouled pitches off. They worked the count. They drew 3 walks from Santana. It was a well played game.
I’m pronouncing the Twins dead. They fell to 10.5 games back with only 25 games left to go. No way they are catching us. The reason they won’t be repeating as Central Division champs this year? How about a 4-12 record against the Tribe. That isn’t going to get it done. The Indians have figured out this season that if you want to win your division you have to beat those teams. Keep it up Tribe.