The Tribe salvaged the final game of the White Sox series, despite Jason Davis reverting to Jason Dangerously and Ramon Vazquez committing 3 errors on the night.
Last night’s game was a microcosm of what is so frustrating about this team. The offense was solid and continued to pour it on as Jake Westbrook cruised through 8. You’re sitting there thinking, “This is it. This is the turning point that the Indians can build on to get back into this race.”
Exuding confidence, the contacts come out, the teeth get brushed, and you climb into bed to watch the obligatory 9th, up by 8…and things start to fall apart.
Never have so many curses crossed my lips between 10:30 and 11:00 on a Sunday night.
Davis couldn’t (and didn’t) get anyone out. Betancourt came on in his 3rd straight game (uh-oh), after a “Guillermo Mota warming up in the bullpen” scare, and promptly had Thome hit a ball to the wall in CF. But it was an out.
Finally, Wickman came in and got the save, stopping the Sox 2 runs short of what would have been an absolutely crushing loss.
Who else took a deep breath and said, “It’s a win. It doesn’t have to be pretty, because it wasn’t. But it was a win.”
One person didn't. Here's serial poster Cy Slapnicka's (just relocated to Chicago) thoughts on one A.J. Pierzynski, who ran to 1st after NOT being hit by a pitch:
I have no idea how opposing players can resist the urge to just take a cut at AJ when they come to the plate. I was praying Vic would jack him yesterday. If I was an MLB player, ESPN would show footage of me pounding nails through my bat prior to bludgening him. I can't explain it. I find myself wondering where in Chicago he lives sometimes. If I ever poop on someone's porch, I can guarantee there will be a welcome mat at the door that says "The Pierzynski's".
But, even more frustrating than the 9th on Sunday was the fact that the Indians could have (and should have) swept the White Sox in Comiskey, but were done in by an unsettled bullpen that couldn’t put Chicago away. They go from a potential sweep on the road to hanging on by their fingernails on Sunday night to salvage NOT being swept.
The positives that can be taken out of the White Sox series are that the starters looked good, and the offense (behind Le Pronque and the Stick, who is officially out of his slump) kept the pressure on the White Sox.
But, just when you think the WHOLE team is coming around, something else falls apart.
In this case, it’s the bullpen.
The only settled portion of the bullpen, right now, consists of Wickman closing and Betancourt setting up. Beyond that, you have a struggling Cabrera, an absolute train wreck in Davis, two rookies with 28 2/3 career between them (Carmona and Perez), and Mr. Nitroglycerine himself (because he doesn’t just pour gas on the fire, he causes explosions), Billy Mota.
Help, though, is unlikely to come through trades, so expect the shuttles between Buffalo and Cleveland (and maybe Akron) to start running more frequently until the right mix of arms is found.
Apparently, Tom Hamilton intimated that changes are afoot on the roster (I didn’t hear…I was busy listening to Jon Miller and Joe Morgan argue about what the Donkey’s name in “Shrek” was – it was Donkey and has nothing to do with Travis Hafner’s nickname), and the off day before the Yankees series could provide the day to do just that.
The Yankees are reeling too, as they’ve lost 4 straight, so they’ll come out hungry.
Byrd and Wang (rhymes with Dong, as in Long Duck) go tomorrow. The Saturday afternoon confrontation didn’t affect Wickman adversely. Let’s hope the same is true for Byrd.
On a related note, for those looking for a good summer read, Terry Pluto has written a phenomenal book, “Dealing”, that takes a look at the Indians of the past 10 years, from the sale of the Indians from Dick Jacobs to the Dolans, right up to the Crisp-Marte deal.
It’s a quick read (it was the first book I’ve read in one sitting, probably since high school) and balances insight, emotion, and sensibility the way that Pluto does so adroitly.
I’ll start to sprinkle in some of the nuggets from “Dealing” to try to tantalize you (if you read this blog, you would enjoy it) to making the purchase. Here’s the Amazon link.
100 games to go. The Tribe will have to play at a .600 clip to get to 90 wins, .700 to get to 100.
Here’s a surprise, Mr. Glass-Half-Full here thinks they’ll fall somewhere between those two numbers and will make the end of September exciting again.