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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Howie Kendrick's Big Day: Angels 9, Indians 3

So I suppose the conventional wisdom would read this as the Tribe apparently reacting to the trade of their de-facto ace, Cliff Lee, by rolling over the very next game. Of course, this is the same offense (with Victor Martinez transliterated to first!) that badly handled a shaky Brian Fuentes two days in a row, so I'm not so inclined to that answer.

No, I think it had a lot more to do with John Lackey being on his game, and hooray for that. Cleveland got their first (and only against Lackey) tally in fourth on Kelly Shoppach's sac fly, but that was all they got until the ninth. There, Mike Scioscia decided it was time to let Bobby Mosebach get a look at the game to face the 6-7-8 batters, whereupon he got himself into trouble by walking leadoff man Travis Hafner. Shane Loux bailed him out by getting Grady Sizemore to bounce to second, and Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out to first.

But the real important story of this game was Howie Kendrick's career-high five RBI game, going 3-for-5 with a two-run homer, i.e. the kind of game we've been waiting for all year from him. Surprisingly, he's only had 15 such games in his four-year career in the majors, including four four-fer games. I haven't given up on Howie, but his 2009 has been a bucket of ice water poured on all the batting title expectations we had for him back in 2007. But enough of that: it's good that he's turning it around, and especially when Vlad appears badly hobbled for the rest of the season.

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