Game #55 Observations: Indians Clinch Playoff Birth as Ramirez's 10th Inning Blast Lifts Tribe to 5-3 Win Over White Sox
CLEVELAND - All of 2020 the Indians have waited for someone, anyone, to lift their offense and bring it to life.
It’s safe to say with five games left in the regular season they have found their guy.
Jose Ramiez, one of two players most associated with this current Indians team along with Francisco Lindor, is simply on a tear, and Tuesday night his two-out, two-strike, three run blast in the 10th inning off Jose Ruiz was the difference as the Indians clinch a playoff spot in the American League with a 5-3 win.
Ramirez got the chance to be the hero after Lindor doubled with two outs to score Roberto Perez. Cesar Hernandez drew a five-pitch walk, and it gave Ramirez the shot to come in and get the job done.
From a pitching perspective, the Indians went with a “bullpen game,” and the team got the job done, as five Tribe relievers allowed three runs on eight hits.
After the win the Indians celebrated their trip to the playoffs, and considering a week ago they were in the midst of an ugly losing streak that reached eight games, to celebrate a bit is well deserved.
“It’s an honor to have an opportunity to do this,” Indians acting manager Sandy Alomar said.
“I wasn’t expecting to get to do this this year, it’s a big responsibility, because you are replacing a Hall Of Fame manager (Terry Francona).
“I am glad I have people to lean on, kudos to them for helping me, and kudos to them for trusting me.”
With five games left, the Indians are now at 31-24, back to seven games over .500, and they have now won five of six after the eight-game losing streak.
Here’s some takeaways from the win and talking playoffs.
Last week there were plenty of tweets and fans who were saying the Indians were going to choke and not even make the postseason, and yet here they are having clinched a playoff spot with five regular season games left.
Yes it’s unlikely they will win the division, as despite the two wins over the White Sox it’s likely that Chicago is going to walk away with that honor in 2020, but for their hard work they look like they may draw the Indians in that best-of-three in Chicago.
There will be plenty of time to think about how the Indians are going to attack the White Sox on the road and look to win a short series, but for now there seems to be a sense of relief that the team knows 100 percent they will play October baseball.
“You grow up you always want to go to the playoffs, win a world series,” Indians pitcher Cal Quantrill said.
“We alluded to the fact that last week wasn’t the most fun we’ve ever had, but to beat a good team twice in a row is a testament on how these guys go about their business.”
Getting to the playoffs with as many distractions the team had to deal with, along with the fact there was that eight-game stretch where they simply fell apart is truly a testament to how this team manages to stay together.
They will be the underdogs going into the postseason, but with that starting rotation along with the hot bat of Ramirez, a lot of things can happen.
For now, the celebration is well deserved for this team and they know that a lot more remains to be done before it’s all said and done.
“There was a little toast, the guys are enjoying it, we are excited, let’s put it that way,” Alomar said.
More on Jose
Jose Ramriez’s final at-bat was a thing of beauty and it was vintage Ramirez.
He fought hard to eventually force Sox reliever Jose Ruiz throw him the pitch that he hit out, a four-seam 98 mile per hour fastball that was a no-doubt about it once it left the bat.
Ramirez now has 17 homers and 44 runs batted in, but none were bigger than the one that put the team into the postseason.
Right now Ramirez is simply putting this team on his back as he is having a stretch of games that can be put up against any big hitter in baseball.
Over the last seven games Ramirez has seven homers and 19 runs batted in, and he’s hitting just under .500 in that stretch.
He is making a serious case to be the AL MVP, and what he did to save the Indians on Tuesday night is going to do nothing but help.
“I think Jose Ramirez is special,” Quantrill said.
“I don’t know if you can be underrated as a top five guys in the league bit he’s underrated, the whole package, he also plays a fantastic third base.”
The homer to beat Chicago will go down as one of the most epic in Progressive Field history, and we all know there’s been quite a few since the park opened in 1994.
Can’t Ask for Much More Than That
The Indians gave the ball to start this “bullpen” game to one of their new pitchers, that being Cal Quantrill, who frankly for four innings was outstanding.
Maybe Quantrill had some Biber dust sprinkled on him prior to the start, because he was excellent, not allowing a run.
“Bullpen day, you don’t know how long they are going to be able to go,” Alomar said.
“It was an exciting night the way the bullpen pitched, the guys stepped it up and did a fantastic job, the bullpen kept us in the game.”
On the night Quantrill went four scoreless innings, allowing one hit, he walked one and struck out four. On a night when it would have been easy to allow the homer happy Sox lineup to hit a couple out, the Tribe pitcher did an excellent job keeping the ball in the park.
“I felt calm today, all three pitches were working,” Quantrill said.
“The White Sox are a good team, I think we play them well, it was fun, first time facing a lot of those guys, it was a good time.”
The only run allowed until Phil Maton gave up two in the 10th came in the 6th when Quantrill was gone, and that was Adam Plutko, giving up a two-out, full-count solo shot to Jose Abreu, his 19th homer of the season.
That run and the Indians solo shot from Cesar Hernandez in the first were the only two runs in the game until Chicago scored two in the 10th.
Quantrill, Plutko, Oliver Perez and Nick Wittgren combined to go nine innings, allowing a run on six hits, two walks and eight strikeouts.
It was a solid effort by a part of the team that often gets overlooked, but was on display front and center Tuesday night.
To keep up with all of Cleveland Baseball Insiders’ coverage, click the "follow" button at the top right-hand corner of this page.