Masterson Strong in Debut, Tribe Wins Series

Justin Masterson was very strong in his 1st start of the year, but came away with a no decision.

The Indians sit at 2-1 after the first series of the 2010 season. The Indians lost the opener but came back strong in games 2 and 3 and won them both, the last one in a marathon 11 inning game. The Indians followed up the game 2 start of Fausto Carmona in which he walked 6 guys but only allowed 1 hit in the 5-3 win with a strong opening start of the season by Justin Masterson who is looking to convince the Indians and the fans that he has what it takes to be a stater. Grady Sizemore had a big game to propel the Tribe to victory, with some more good defense all around the diamond, the Indians move into the first weekend of the season coming off of 2 straight victories.

Justin Masterson went 5 innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 run, walking 2 and striking out 5. He came away with a no decision after his 92 pitch outing. The White Sox made him work, but he did not give them anything, inducing 7 ground ball outs, compared to 3 fly ball outs, mixing in his 5 strike outs. It was a very impressive day for Masterson who turned it over to what appears through the first 3 games to be a quite capable bullpen. In 6 innings of work tonite, the only runs allowed by the Indians bullpen was a 2 run homerun by Carlos Quentin, off of Joe Smith, 1 of the runs was on base because of Tony Sipp walking 2 of the 3 batters he faced. Smith had a solid inning working around the Quentin homerun, and the Indians bullpen kept the game tied down the stretch, 3 strong innings split between Rafael Perez and Jensen Lewis gave the Indians offense a chance to get going, which happened eventually with a 2 run 11th inning, which brought in Chris Perez, who easily got 3 ground ball outs with his effective fast ball and slider combination, getting his 2nd save in as many days.

The Indians offense picked up 11 hits on the night, and for the 2nd night in a row scored 5 runs. The Indians are still yet to hit a home run through 3 games, but have swung the bat quite affectively. Grady Sizemore led the charge with 3 hits in 6 at bats, with 2 doubles and 3 rbis. Both of his doubles drove in runs, including the insurance run in the 11th with 2 outs, after Luis Valbuena dropped a bunt single down, was sacrificed over by Lou Marson, a strike out by Michael Brantley and the go ahead RBI single from Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera scored on that Sizemore double that hit off of the right center field wall. Sizemore had RBI hits in the 3rd, 5th and 11th innings. Shin-Soo Choo and Marson were the only Indians not to record a hit during the game, however each played their part well throughout. Marson played better defense behind the plate and Choo came up with a nice sliding catch on 1 or 2 occasions. Jhonny Peralta also had another nice night, going 2 for 4 with a double and a stolen base! Yes, Jhonny Peralta stole a base. He is batting .300 during the first 3 games, looking to put years of slow starts behind him. Matt LaPorta continued to be a hot hitter, going 2 for 4 with another double, his average sits at .364. The most upsetting trend that the Indians have shown on offense throughout the series is they have yet to cut back on striking out, they struck out 16 times tonite, only Brantley and Peralta struck out less than 2 times, they each K’d once. It was a night of a lot of strike outs though, as the White Sox also struck out 12 times, but the Indians pitching still allowed 7 walks, and a hit by pitch.

The Indians defense is looking solid through the first three games. The up the middle tandem of Cabrera and Valbuena is doing a very nice job, and Peralta has done a good job at the hot corner, he does however need to reign in his throws over to the first base. LaPorta has done a good job at first, and we all know the outfield defense is awesome. The Indians play in a tough 3 game series over the weekend in Detroit, starting off at 1:05 eastern time Friday.

Not a bad first series at all for the Tribe, who as predicted here at the Lake Erie Soldiers, took 2 of 3 from the Rival ChiSox, and for the 5th time in the last 6 years, won the first series of the season. The only year the Indians have not won the first series was last year, when the team started off 0-5. Jake Westbrook was the only starter that disappointed, but given the fact that it has been 2 years since his last big league action, you can hardly call his outing a let down. Carmona needs to work on his control still, but his stuff was amazing Wednesday night, and he limited a potent offense to just 1 hit. Masterson was also very effective in the finale, only allowing 1 run and 4 hits. The bullpen did its just and kept the Indians in the lead, or in the game, and allowed the offense to get things going. Next up is the Detroit Tigers, the Indians will be sending Mitch Talbot, David Huff and Jake Westbrook to the mound.

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