The Indians 2021 formula for winning appears it can be broken down in a rather simple phrase:
"Score Four - You'll Win a Lot More."
The team has scored four or more runs twice. Their record - 3-0.
Scoring four runs or less - 0-3.
Could it be just that simple?
The team will eventually find out, but Friday night the team put up four runs, three in the first and cruised behind a quality start by Zach Plesac for a 4-1 win over the Tigers at Progressive Field.
The victory evens up their 2021 mark at 3-3, the first time this season the team is back to .500 after dropping their first two games of the season at Comerica Park against the Tigers.
The offense was paced by slugger Franmil Reyes, who now in 18 games against the Tigers is hitting .328 with nine homers after hitting two on Friday night.
He got the offense going in the first inning with a blast that put the team ahead for 3-0 following a fielder's choice by Eddie Rosario that made it 1-0.
“That's two games in a row where we've had one guy kind of carry our offense,” manager Terry Francona said.
“But it's been enough because we've pitched pretty well. We'll take it.”
Plesac was dominant, going six innings not allowing a run on three hits with no walks and six K's.
He threw 97 pitches, 70 strikes, and lowered his ERA to 1.70.
Here's a couple takeaways from Friday's win to get the team to .500 on the year.
When Franmil Reyes gets hot, he's probably the second best hitter on the team behind Jose Ramirez.
He proved that again Friday with two homers, and now after a 3-for-4 night is hitting .304 with a slugging percentage of .739.
You could see in the second homer how comfortable he was at the plate, simply sitting back and waiting on the pitch and driving it 446 feet for a 4-0 Indians lead in the 6th inning.
Last season Reyes got off to a fast start in the team's shortened season, and while he slowed down, he worked hard this offseason on wanting to be more consistent.
It's a long season, but Reyes is off to a tremendous start at the plate.
More Plesac Please
Zach Plesac has two starts under his belt in 2021, and while both have been against the Tigers, both have been quality starts.
The 26-year-old has thrown 6 and 7 innings in his first two starts, striking out 10 Tigers and allowing two earned runs.
He allowed just three hits on Friday night, not walking a batter and striking out six in the victory.
When you can go from Shane Bieber to Plesac the way he's thrown the first two times on the mound, the rotation looks like possibly the best in the American League.
Even not knowing the long term plan with the fifth spot, it's still a very good rotation that can matchup with any club in the division.
Impressive Start for Clase
Tribe fans had their questions about how reliever Emmanuel Clase would come out to start the 2021 campaign, and so far after a season in which he sat out due to a suspension - so far so good.
In three trips to the mound in which he's thrown one inning each time, he's 1-0 with a save on Friday night with five strikeouts, including two Friday against the Tigers.
Having Clase as an option to go to in the 9th inning instead of James Karinchak, who by most is the declared closer, only will make the back end of the pen stronger.
There's been more than one tweet over the last few days declaring that the Indians won the December 15th 2019 trade with the Rangers moving Corey Kluber to Texas getting back Clase in return.
It's likely pretty early to make that proclamation, but the injuries to Kluber and the fast start by Clase have looked to put them ahead in the trade.
We will see how the coaching staff shuffles the likes of Clase and Karinchak and the remainder of the pen, but having a healthy and available Clase at the end of the pen only makes this unit stronger.