September 17, 2016 – Most Pitchers Ever Used in a Shutout After Carlos Carrasco Is Hit with Line Drive
The Plain Dealer’s Sunday Sports Headline the next day read, “Sept. 17: The day Cleveland Indians’ postseason dreams ended before they began.” Of course, that turned out to be false. Although 2016 ended in heartbreak, the heartbreak happened in Game 7 of the World Series and was hardly a foregone conclusion.
The Tribe had an eight-game lead over Detroit in the Central and was poised to clinch the Division, but had been wracked with injuries–most recently to Danny Salazar and Yan Gomes. A strong regular season including a then franchise-leading fourteen game win streak had the Indians in a strong position, but fans and writers were doubting their staying power. Carlos Carrasco was set to square off with Justin Verlander in the premier matchup of the weekend.
Ian Kinsler lined Carlos Carrasco’s first pitch right back to the mound that struck Carlos in the hand. Carrasco left the game and was later diagnosed with a broken bone in the little finger of his throwing hand. It was immediately apparent that he was done for the season.
A day that started as an opportunity for a workhorse starter to eat innings and prepare for the post-season became a bullpen day in an instant.
Terry Francona called Jason Bere the bullpen coach, “Tell them to put their seat belts on, ‘because they’re all going to pitch, and we’re going to win.” First up was Jeff Manship, who attempted to right the ship. Manship erased Kinsler by getting Cameron Maybin to ground into a double play. He went on to pitch a scoreless 1 ⅓ innings.
Kyle Crockett retired the remaining two batters in the top of the second with no damage done. Cody Anderson was untouched in the top of the third. In the top of the fourth, Miguel Cabrera got aboard with a line drive single to left, but Victor Martinez grounded into a double play. Zach McAllister needed only ten pitchers to retire the Tigers side in the top of the fifth on three fly balls. Perci Gardner put runners on first and third before getting Victor Martinez to strike out to end the inning. Bryan Shaw walked J.D. Martinez to lead off the seventh, but retired the next three Tigers with no damage done. Cody Allen dispatched with Detroit in order in the top of the eighth.
Through all of these changes, Justin Verlander worked through the Indians lineup. He pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up only one hit and four walks. Alex Wilson replaced him on the mound for the bottom of the eighth and held on to the scoreless tie.
Andrew Miller came on to pitch the top of the ninth for the Indians. He battled Miguel Cabrera through an 8 pitch at-bat and eventually set Miggy down on a swinging strikeout. J.D. Martinez came up with a two-out single, but was left on base when Justin Upton lined out to right.
After the Tribe squandered a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Miller returned to pitch the top of the 10th. Miller struck out the first two Tigers, and then got Jose Iglesias to ground out weakly back to the mound.
Justin Wilson stayed on to pitch the bottom of the 10th for Detroit. Carlos Santana drew a walk to lead off the inning. Jason Kipnis laid down a bunt, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia scooped it up in front of the plate and forced Santana out at second. With Franciso Lindor at the plate, Kipnis advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then stole third. Lindor drew a seven-pitch walk to put runners at the corners. Detroit issued Mike Napoli an intentional walk to load the bases and set up a double play.
Jose Ramirez stepped in and knocked Wilson’s 2-2 pitch into center field scoring Kipnis easily. Jose’s walkoff single was the club’s 10th walkoff win of the season. Miller was credited with the win and later remarked, “”We have no other choice … we have to find a way to win – no matter who is starting.” There could not have been a better tagline for the six weeks that were about to come between Game 148 and Game 7 of the World Series.
The Indians used nine pitchers who combined for a four-hit ten strikeout victory. The bullpen crew gave up only three walks throughout the whole game.