Or do you prefer Cruise Control...or Captain Control...or the Crooked Cap? Whatever moniker you want to use for our hefty lefty, C.C. was absolutely dominant tonight. Benefitting from some early fireworks from Pronk, Jelly, and Jhonny Cool (who broke the Indians' all-time HR record held by Woodie Held), C.C. pulled his cap on and went to work. He dismantled the Rays lineup, striking out 9 and spreading 5 hits over 8 strong innings. I think that we should have dealt him for Adam Dunn at the deadline, don't you? C.C.'s turnaround lends some credence to the belief that C.C. wasn't far away from being dominant when he struggled earlier this year. After a few tweaks to the mechanics and streamlining his delivery, C.C. has been an ace. There, I said it.
The offense woke up early tonight, though the reliance on the longball and the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position still worries me. But those worries are for another day, because the Erie Warriors took care of their business tonight.
Hafner's night (3-4 with a HR and 2 RBI) gives hope that his "slump" (for Pronk, at least) is over and he's ready to go nuts on White Sox pitching again. He was only a triple away from the cycle. Anyone who's ever seen the triple he hit in Minnesota last year to complete the cycle was hoping he would go hauling around the bases again tonight. He looks like a fullback rounding second: wide-eyed, a little out of control and very scary.
The White Sox clinched the AL Central today, which means a few things:
- The Indians are now only competing with the Yanks and the Sawx for the Wild Card. Seeing as how they're playing each other this weekend, scoreboard watching will be pretty easy at the Jake. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to root for either of those teams this weekend, but whatever it takes.
- The White Sox have nothing really to play for in this weekend's series. I'm not completely sure how home field advantage works, but the White Sox have very little incentive to give it their all this weekend. They may even set up their rotation for the playoffs. The way it stands right now, the Tribe is scheduled to face Buehrle, Garland, and McCarthy (not Contreras, thank goodness), but that could certainly change if Ozzie thinks that he's going to retire after the season.
- The ChiSox SHOULD be celebrating tonight in Detroit, meaning that there could be a bit of a hangover for Chicago in Friday's game. I hope that Johnny Blackout is planning on hanging out with a few South Siders tonight.
You can't say enough about the starters this year (Elarton's stinker on Tuesday notwithstanding) because the Indians are in EVERY game. Regardless of whether this team plays fundamental baseball, or great defense, or hits well in the clutch - the Indians' pitching staff has kept the team in virtually all their games.
Yankees up 8-4 in the 9th, Red Sox down 4-3 in the 8th.
Go Blue Jays!
Remember it doesn't matter how you get there, as long as you get there. Let's get there, Wahoos!