Getting long balls from Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Santana, Grady Sizemore and Shelley Duncan, the Indians beat the Royals 8-2 on Thursday to finish a three-game sweep and win their 10th straight at home.
Cleveland is now an American League-best 16-8 overall.
What’s incredible is that the Indians have done it with Fausto Carmona and Carlos Carrasco struggling. Carmona pitched well tonight, but he has a 5.15 ERA after five starts. Carrasco just joined Mitch Talbot on the DL, but Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin have stepped up in a big way and the offense has been far better than anyone would have guessed.
With the eight runs tonight, the Indians have moved into a tie with the Rangers for first place in the AL in that category. And they’ve played 24 games to the Rangers’ 25. Last year, the Indians ranked 12th of the 14th AL teams in runs scored, a full 213 runs behind the first-place Yankees.
It’s been a team effort, too. No one on the club has more than four homers or 15 RBI. However, they have seven players with at least 11 RBI and Sizemore has nine in 10 games since coming off the DL.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.