Indians Blast Bronx Bombers 9-4 to Sweep Doubleheader; Three Takeaways From the Win
Remember when some Indians fans looked at the August schedule for the Tribe and cringed at the thought of all the tough playoff teams they would be playing?
With one day left in the month, the team has played better than many could have predicted, going 20-9 and taking care of business Wednesday with a doubleheader sweep of the Yankees.
The month has cemented the Tribe as the best team in the AL Central, running away with the division following a sweep of the Royals over the weekend in which they didn't allow a single Kansas City run to cross home plate.
The Indians are now 7.5 ahead of the Twins and 10.5 ahead of the Royals for the AL Central crown, and unless they have a collapse of epic proportions, they will again be AL Central champions by the end of Septembe.
For now let's look at another huge win over the Yankees, one that ends a three-game sweep over New York as the team will now get a day off before heading to Detroit for a twin bill Friday.
3. First Inning Fun
It took just 16 pitches for the Indians to get to Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery, and they pounded him for a total of 43 pitches in the first inning, putting up four runs to take an early lead they would never lose.
The run barrage started when Edwin Encarnacion singled in a run, and then Carlos Santana and Yandy Diaz continued in on the fun as the Indians went up 4-0 just like that.
The runs set the tempo in each game, two in the first inning of the first game, and then four in the first inning of game two.
They knocked Montgomery out after four innings, and it gave Ryan Merritt a shot to get the win, as he did enough to move to 2-0 on the year. The first inning runs set him up for the victory.
2. Merritt Magic
The Indians got exactly what they needed from starter Ryan Merritt, as after getting handed a 4-0 lead after half an inning he was solid for the 5.1 innings.
Merritt dominated early in the count, hitting 16 of 22 batters with first-pitch strikes, and ended the afternoon giving up just one run and five hits.
He moves to 2-0 on the season, and in his 78 pitches, 48 were strikes. Merritt is very good when it comes to these spot starts, and gave the Tribe a much needed effort to be able to save the pen for the most part.
The spot starter dropped his ERA to 1.74 on the season, and it's a luxury to know you have a starter like Merritt to call upon when needed in situations like Wednesday.
1. A Historic Sweep
The Indians don't get sweeps in the Bronx very often, and Wednesday wrapped up three memorable games as the team flexed its muscle to get to their seventh straight win.
The last time the Indians had a three-game sweep in New York was way back in April of 1989. It was also the first time that the Yankees were swept in a doubleheader since 1995.
The Tribe beat the Yankees in the first two games their four-game set at Progressive Field earlier in August, but then New York came back to win the last two games of that set.
This time around, thanks to two homers in the second game of the set, there was no doubt this time around the Tribe was going to take the series in dominating fashion.
Now with the division in hand and the team trying to hang on to the second spot in the American League over the Red Sox, the team will head to Detroit for another double header on Friday against the Tigers.