Streaking Indians Roll Past Orioles 6-3 to Wrap Up Road Trip 7-1; Three Takeaways From the Win
A week ago today the Indians took the field after two straight losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and finally got back in the win column with a solid 12-5 win that ended their last homestand with a 3-3 mark.
Still looking up at the Twins in the AL Central, the team headed to Target Field for four games, and dominated Minnesota, outscoring them 24-8 in winning all four games and putting themselves finally in first in the division.
Fast forward four days later, and minus one one-run loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the Indians appear to finally be 'back' in terms of the expectations everyone had for them, as following another win on Thursday, the team comes home winning seven of eight games on their latest road swing.
The O's were beat up and down by the Tribe, getting outscored themselves 24-9 in the four-game set. Here's our takeaways from Thursday's win, and a look ahead to a homestand starting Friday night as they try to put even more distance between themselves and the division.
3. Action Jackson
A knee injury put Indians outfielder Austin Jackson on the DL and slowed down his start of 2017, but suddenly like the rest of the lineup he's starting to catch fire.
Thursday Jackson was the spark plug of the offense, going 3-for-5 with a triple in the second to score a run, and a two-run single in the third to make it a 4-2 Tribe lead.
Jackson also doubled, meaning he was short of hitting for the cycle by a homer. Nevertheless, he had a great night, and now is hitting .301 on the season, and he's making it hard for Terry Francona to not have him in the lineup more often the way he's hitting.
2. An Offense on Fire
The weather has heated up, and with it so has the Indians offense. Consider the team put up 48 runs in the eight games of the road trip, and it seemed like the contributions came from everywhere.
Thursday night the top of the lineup with Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis and Jose Ramirez went 4-for-14 with two runs scored and a walk.
The road trip saw two big players finally break out of slumps, that being Lindor as well as Carlos Santana, who Thursday went 2-for-4 with a run batted in.
Lindor in the road trip went 9-for-36 (.250), but started to look like the Lindor of early in the season, hitting the ball with confidence.
Santana went 10-for-37 (.270), but based on where he was during the last homestand, it was a welcome sight to see him driving the ball.
All along the team has been waiting for a couple of players to start hitting the ball, and during this road trip it looks like it finally happened.
1. Creating some Space
The Twins are coming right back to town for three games of a weekend set with the Indians, and no doubt they will be smarting after getting swept and seeing their small AL Central lead evaporate.
The performance in Minnesota of the starting pitching was a big reason for the teams' four-game run, and they will try to duplicate it starting on Friday, with Trevor Bauer going for his 7th win of the season.
The Twins managed just eight runs over the four games, while the Indians offense exploded for 24 in the game four-game set.
The Indians by no means have been world beaters at home, playing under .500 at 15-17 thus far, while going 24-15 in their 39 road games.
If there was a time to get hot at home, it would be now, as with a couple more wins over the Twins the Indians can put themselves firmly in control of this division once and for all.
For the first time in 2017, the Indians are finally playing consistent baseball, let's see if they can continue that starting Friday with the Twins.