April 17th, 2012
Cleveland Indians - 9
Seattle Mariners - 8
W: Rafael Perez (1-0) L: Charlie Furbush (0-1) S: Chris Perez (3)
I don't know about anyone else. But when I go to sleep and the score of a west coast Indians game is 8-1, the last thing I expect to wake up to is a replay of said game with the score 8-8. Unless of course it is the Indians that have somehow blown that 7-run lead.
But uh, yeah we've been steadily trained for that.
That would be the exact timeline for me. I had all intentions of sticking with that game as long as I could, knowing full well I would be getting up at 6:45 AM Tuesday morning, come hell or high water. The 8-1 lead seemed like a justified reason to roll over to my other side and let the sleep timer on the television run it's intending course.
Back to my original introduction.
Funny feelings are starting to come out with this team. I know its' only 10 games into the season, but there's something strange going on. There seems to be a little bit of that inexplicable quality to them. An almost sort of "what the hell is going on here" sense of excitement and joy.
Here we go...
Fifth inning return aside, here is Nick Hagadone in the bottom half of the inning walking the leadoff guy, but then getting what seemed to be a ground ball that would have at least gotten one out, but possibly two. Of course Jack Hannahan continued his early battle with the fielding version of the yips by booting the ball. Not sure what is going on there but a different question for a different day (hopefully that never comes as he never makes another error that ends up hurting the team in a big way).
But as only someone who is in his first big league appearance of the year fresh off the plane from Columbus can in front of friends and family in his hometown, Hagadone strikes out Brendan Ryan (who had been walked in his previous two at-bats) and John Jaso (who had hit the big home run off Masterson) and then gets a lazy line-drive out to center to end the inning.
I'm just getting that feeling.
Then with a prime opportunity in the seventh off a leadoff single by Travis Hafner, Shelley Duncan would walk to give the Indians two on and nobody out. Okay so you score seven damn runs in the fifth, no problem to get one right?
As in strikeout, strikeout. Not Okay Okay.
The defensive wizards strike out and in comes Eric Wedge's favorite stepson Tom Wilhelmsen for what is surely the final out of the inning to face the guy who wasn't even supposed to be in the lineup, Jason Donald.
I've got a feeling friends.
Single, lead, things just got real. It would only be the two-out hit juggernaut Indians that would set up that scenario to come through.
Rather clean seventh and eighth from the Mafia with just a walk (Ryan, who else?) and Chris PErez comes in for the ninth.
But why would that be clean or easy? Of course it makes perfect sense that Justin Smoak led the inning off because he was in my dreams last night, clubbing me to death. Not hard shots or anything, just soft blows that give me minimal amounts of'pain, but ultimately add up to one sore back. It was Torii Hunter all over again. Nightmares!
|Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports|
But of course, ground out..
But two back-to-back singles harsh the party and if you read the game play-by-play it will say Jesus Montero singled on a ground ball to center that was deflected by Jason Donald. But it should say deflected by Jason Donald's face, because the trooper took one off the money-maker. (I've done surveys, Jason Donald is well-liked).
"Bad hop is an understatement," Donald said. "That thing, I just saw it at the last second kick up. There was nothing I could do. I didn't put a glove on that thing -- nothing. It was all face pretty much. Hopefully my girlfriend still wants to date me after getting smoked in the mouth like that."
Sorry ladies, TAKEN!
Then of course, as only he decides to do (and very much like last time he came out for a save), Perez walks Brendan Ryan.
Can I just take a pause in this recount of historic events to ask WHY the entire Indians staff walked Brendan Ryan, the team's eight-hole weak-hitting shortstop who had TWO walks the entire season, FOUR times?
Are you THAT scared to make any sort of meaningful pitch to the fearful slugger that is the .207 hitter from Seattle?
Let's not even mention how many times I saw him take a hefty swing and miss at some garbage pitch from Masterson and Hagadone. Why on earth would the team walk this guy four times? That home run power (13 career) will totally kill ya guys if you make a mistake!
Ugh and double ugh.
But back to this dream sequence that I was having that would hopefully be coming to an end.
There is the other man that has been giving me issues. John Jaso. I thought he was still in Tampa, but here he is on the left coast making things difficult. But that was hours ago, before I had went to bed. Certainly I've shut him out, unlike Justin Smoak, he isn't getting in, right?
Right, Chris Perez, door, slammed. Goodnight Mariners, good morning Ohio. If you went to be like me, you missed a lot of fun. If you woke up and turned the television on to where you had left it just like I did, you were delighted. Surely even if the Indians would have lost that, the simple fact that they battled back from a 8-1 deficit gives you happy thoughts that the poor souls who attempted to stay up with the team even after that fourth-inning bombing of Justin Masterson were rewarded for their bravery or insomnia.
And we've not even touched the fifth inning of this victory, the one that saved Justin Masterson from looking like a complete bum.
"I think it was pretty incredible when [Seattle] scored all the runs," said Masterson, who was charged with eight runs on seven hits with four walks and a hit batsmen. "Then I was like, 'We're at least going to get six or seven.' I mean, I didn't necessarily think in that next inning."
Not that he didn't look like a complete bum in the fourth. Was he in the Ubaldo Jimenez-school of whatever it is that we saw on Sunday? After two brilliant starts, these two have come back to put up some real stink-bombs. As I mentioned earlier about Ryan (who Masterson walked twice, getting ahead 0-2 once and then throwing the same pitch FOUR TIMES to get the same result, a ball), Justin's biggest problem was Justin. Both in that he was killing himself with walks (four) and another guy named Justin. Smoak of course turned out to be an issue for everyone as he had just as many dumb singles than Ryan had dumb walks.
So I'm glad Justin knew he'd get taken off the hook, but I'd rather him not put himself in that position from now on.
"These guys are not going to quit," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "They know they're capable of doing it. They did it last year a bunch of times. I thought it was great. I was hoping to come back two at a time, but they went out there and just put a seven spot up. It was just wonderful."
Yup, just wonderful. Wonderfully agonizing.
You know who didn't quit? Jason Donald. The guy got the two biggest runs of the game and he took one to the freaking face. But because he was already playing when he wasn't supposed to, there was no one else to play shortstop, so he manned up and stuck in the game. Donald came through with a sac-fly to tie the game in that big fifth inning after a rally ended with Carlos Santana's big home run and then was re-started when Duncan walked and Kotchman doubled. Donald could have hit into a double play and caused us anger. In fact, if this was last year, that probably would have happened.
But a solid fly ball and this game was tied.
Then he saved the day in the seventh with two on and the previous two hitters striking out. The two-out hit lives.
I think I'm going to need to be punched in the freakin' face myself. Hurts a lot less than getting hit in the face with a ground ball or beaten by Justin Smoak singles.
Not to harp on it, but here is the pitch breakdown for Brendan Ryan's walks..
Perez and Smith both walked him on four pitches...
The one time he was out, was when Nick Hagadone struck him out. He gave him issues though as he got ahead with a few fastballs getting him to swing, then threw a few outside trying to get him to chase.
The two Masterson walks. Again he got ahead of him with a few sliders, then tried getting fancy and threw four straight balls. The first time up he got ahead with his sinker, then tried throwing it again on the outside corner but he couldn't get the call.
Michael Brantely stole a base. I know, I was shocked too. He still trails Casey Kotchman in that department (really?).
Shelley Duncan, .514 OBP, more walks (10) than hits (9)... Caw...
Continues to be homerless, but Choo is right up there with Santana in knocking in runs.
If you ever needed Derek Lowe to give you seven, Wednesday would be the day. But the extra arm should help. I think it should be noted that despite the baserunners and the drama, for all the flack they got, the bullpen deserves credit for shutting the game down after Masterson's stinko.
The whole stage for Jason Donald to do what he did was set with the sudden news that Asdrubal Cabrera would be missing the rest of this west coast road trip. After the passing of his grandfather, Cabrera was placed on the bereavement list and not only was Donald inserted into the starting lineup, but another hero from that game, Nick Hagadone, was called up.
"All I can tell you is that he was pretty shaken up," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "It was his grandpa, who was a very important person in his life. ... He's going to Venezuela and he's probably going to miss the rest of the road trip."
Obviously not good for the Indians and best wishes to Cabrera and his family. Seattle is usually a good place to Cabrera as he would often make his former team play in their own house of worship, so I'm sure he was primed for this series.
The Indians plan on going at it with the extra arm in the bullpen until next Tuesday when Cabrera is expected to rejoin the team back home after their swing in Oakland. Unless of course something happens and they need someone to play short. I would have to think it's Cord Phelps who is on-call if such a need were to arise.
Johnny Damon was officially signed to his minor league contract on Tuesday. The announcement was made official and when his contract is purchased, he'll obviously be making that planned salary. Damon and Antonetti spoke to the media and Damon's focus was not on starting, not on 3,000 hits, or anything else other than helping Cleveland in anyway asked.
"That's why I've been able to help some teams win championships and help some teams that really weren't that good become a bit better. Three-thousand would be great, but I'm playing to win. I'm playing for the Tribe fans. I'm playing for the Indians organization. I'm not really playing for myself."
Damon went on to acknowledge Duncan's hot bat and that he will fit anywhere he's asked. He mentioned platoons and filling in whatever role asked. That's certainly nice to hear. Damon is in Goodyear right now taking part in an extended spring training. He was able to hit and shag some fly balls. If Columbus was back home this weekend I'd almost think he'd be there, but they don't return home until next Tuesday. Lake County is on the road and Akron starts a road trip this weekend, so there is no other option.
Congratulations to T.J. House on being named Minor League Player of the Week in the Indians organization. House struck out 17 hitters in 13 shutout innings in his first two starts. Guy should be in Akron as soon as other people start moving up.
The Indians will pick 15th in the June 4th MLB Draft. Yay?
There was some action from some of the reporters on Twitter yesterday that the Indians could see some discipline from the Commissioner's office for that spat with the Royals over the weekend. Really? If they suspend anyone... Word is there could be stuff handed out today and Gomez, Hannahan, Choo, and even Acta better be on the look-out. I would guess if anything, fines are sufficient, but Bud Selig is a jerk sometimes.
After Justin Verlander pitched a complete game (go ahead Leyland, keep riding that horse until he falls over), rookie Drew Smyly pitched six innings giving up just an unearned run. That will help. Poor Royals get a good performance from the always amazing Bruce Chen and they waste it by not scoring any runs. Valverde danced his way to his second save and the Tigers to an 8-3 start. The Royals have dropped five straight at home, ouch.