The Cleveland Indians have far more in their arsenal than run-producing hitters in the middle of the batting order and solid pitching, both in the rotation and out of the bullpen.
While the Indians have built a solid pitching staff over the last decade, including several All-Star caliber players, and a lineup that was overhauled in the offseason with the addition of Edwin Encarnacion in free agency and return of Michael Brantley, they can play a little bit of defense, and put that on display in a 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas Tuesday night.
“You know what? Everybody made a great play,” Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco said. “Brandon Guyer and everyone made nice plays for the whole game, and I think we have to continue to do that.”
Cleveland Indians continue opening series with Texas Rangers
The defensive prowess started early when on the first pitch of the game from Carrasco, Rangers center fielder Carlos Gomez roped a line drive into the right field corner. However, Indians outfielder Brandon Guyer got a good read on the baseball and laid out for the diving catch.
“I knew he hit it good,” Guyer said. “I was just ready to make a play. For me, it might not show up in the box score, but I’m just trying to do whatever it is, anything to help the team win, and if it’s something like that or whatever, I’m glad I could do it.”
Indians manager Terry Francona added, “Yes, he did. Yes, he did. We played a good game, and we had to because they were coming. We made the plays, and played a good game.”
But Guyer was far from finished making solid defensive plays.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Rangers had designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo on first base after smacking a single to shallow left field, when right fielder Nomar Mazara smashed a base hit into right.
Although Guyer initially bobbled the baseball, he kept it close enough to pick it up and rifle a throw to shortstop Francisco Lindor, who was covering second base. Guyer’s throw beat Mazara by enough time for Lindor to make the catch and apply the tag for the out.
“He didn’t panic and it ends up being a really big play,” Francona said.
Guyer added, “When I got it and turned, I wasn’t sure if he was going, but I figured that if I threw it into second, Choo wouldn’t be scoring from first, so if he’s going to go, I’m going to try to throw him out. It worked out for us, and I’m glad we could get out of the inning and not give up a run.”
But wait. There was more.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning and Andrew Miller on the mound for the Indians, Gomez hit a pop fly into short right field. Newly-extended Jose Ramirez sprinted from his spot at second base and extended his glove to make the catch on a dead run for the second out of the inning.
“Oh, my goodness, that was a great play,” Francona said. “It kind of reminded me of that play Kip (Jason Kipnis) made last year in Cincinnati. I get a good angle there. I didn’t think he could get it. He kind of willed himself at the end there.”