Friday, October 05, 2007

Armed Robbery

The Indians absolutely stole a victory from the Yankees, somehow winning despite squandering opportunity after opportunity, leaving 14 ( FOURTEEN!) runners on base, and looking tight in tough spots at the plate for most of the night, as they now sit atop the “mighty” Yankees by a 2-0 margin heading to the Bronx.

Hafner’s bases-loaded base knock to seal the victory was the defining moment of the young postseason (unless you count the 9th inning K for A-Rod) for the Indians and may be the at-bat that relieves the pressure from the young team, something that will be looked back on as the hit that catapulted them on a long (and strong) playoff run.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves and give credit where credit is due.
All those runs left on the bases not coming back to haunt the Tribe was made possible by the absolutely spectacular (marvelous, incredible, prodigious, fill in your favorite adjective here) pitching of Fausto Carmona and the continued domination of Rafael Perez out of the bullpen.

The Faustastic One was pitching on another plane, as the Yankee hitters weakly grounded out over and over (that is, when they weren’t striking out…ahem, A-Rod) to really never mount a sustained rally. Outside of the hanging slider to Melky, the Yankees never got solid wood on anything that came out of Carmona’s hand. He went the full 9, giving up 3 hits to the team that had the most hits in MLB this year (by the by, the Yanks now have 8 total in their first 2 ALDS games), with just 2 BB to go against his 5 K in what can only be described as an outing that announced Fausto’s presence on the national scene. We’ve known about how special he is, watching him mature into a dominant starting pitcher in about 4 months, but I’m pretty sure that there are a few more million people punching their ticket for the Fausto Train tonight.

Relieving Carmona was The Scarecrow, who went about what seems to just be his customary 2 innings of relief without allowing a baserunner for the second night in a row. Perez so completely overmatched the Yankees lineup that, once the extra frames started, it felt like the only question was when the Indians would finally break through not if New York would mount a rally.

Do we believe that “Great Pitching beats Great Hitting” yet?
A-Rod, Matsui, and Posada all remain hitless through the first 2 games as the Tribe staff has run its postseason ERA to 1.80. It didn’t matter who this Indians pitching staff was facing; any opposition would have been completely overmatched by the Tribe hurlers.

The Indians (whether you believe that the midges were a sign from above or not and wonder if the Joba Rules have been broken) sit firmly in the driver’s seat of the series, bludgeoning the Yankees one night and eking out a win the next. And all of that has to do with the pitching that the Indians possess. Everything that the Indians are built on starts with the pitching and Fausto’s performance in Game 2 certainly justified the strategy, one that bodes well for the rest of the playoffs.

Oh…and anyone who spent the night at the Jake tonight (or anyone else), feel free to share any stories in the comments section. Because when Hafner’s ball landed in RF (sleeping DiaperTribe be damned), pandemonium broke out at the Tepee.
This is getting fun…and it’s only just beginning.


Chris Swartout said...

Living in New York City, being an Indian fan has been fun this week. There is nothing better than listening to WFAN the morning after a Yankee loss to the Tribe. Tomorrow will be no execption.

Let's hope Westbrook's ball is sinking in the Bronx Sunday. It sure would be sweet to beat Clemens to put away the Evil Empire!

Finally there was a caller to XM tonight trying to say that Pettite pitched a better game than Carmona tonight because he didn't give up a run (I will admit that the 6th inning was amazing for him). But Carmona pitched 2 2/3 more innings than Pettite, and like Torre, we also knew it was a matter of time before we broke through. Never the case with Carmona tonight.

reyorra said...

So I was lucky enough to get tickets to tonight's game. At first I was upset because my younger sister got to go to thursday's game, and I was worried that I might not get to see as good a game as she did. Well after 4 hours of screaming and waving my towel, I can say that I got the better game. And I'm not talking in terms of actual baseball, but in terms of the feeling in the stadium. When you leave 14 men on base, you can't leave the park feeling good about yourselves no matter what the final score is. But they have given Cleveland something to believe in, something to stand behind, something to love again.

darthbith said...

Everyone was exhausted by the 8th inning. I mean, runners in scoring position in every inning except the first? And everyone was on their feet every time. But when Pronk hit that single...This is why I still root for Cleveland sports. Walking out, I saw a couple people with brooms....lets make every analyst in the country wrong! Go Tribe!

vbc3 said...

We listened to this classic at work tonight (will finally watch it tomorrow night after an all-day shift), and I remember at the bottom of the seventh, when Pettite yielded to OMFG THE AMAZING UNTOUCHABLE AWESOME SENSATIONAL JOBA, that I turned to a co-worker and said "bloody hell, this might the ballgame." I was getting bitterly angry that Fausto was being let to sink yet again after yet another superhuman pitching performance. And while he may not have gotten the W he so richly deserved, at least that performance wasn't for nothing in the end. I don't mind losing 9-8 in a shootout (which is what I am expecting Game 3 to be), but losing 1-0 during a brilliant Fausto or C.C. game just burns me up to no end.

As for our new best pals, The Midges: one of the wishes I had for this ALDS, win or lose, was that we found a way to give some kind of karmic pie-in-the-face to OMFG THE AMAZING UNTOUCHABLE AWESOME SENSATIONAL JOBA. I certainly don't wish any physical harm upon the guy because that isn't my style ... just a kind of poke-in-the-eye (or unsightly trip down the stairs) in order to bring THE LEGEND OF OMFG THE AMAZING UNTOUCHABLE AWESOME SENSATIONAL JOBA back down to Earth a bit, you know?

To this end, I was carrying around in my head a pleasant daydream of The Pronk regaining his old superhuman form and blasting a OMFG THE AMAZING UNTOUCHABLE AWESOME SENSATIONAL JOBA fastball clear into Lake Erie, but Mother Nature had other plans. Bless her cruel heart. Truly. ;)

R.M. Jennings said...

I made the 500-mile trip to last night's game, and it was totally worth it. It was worth the excruciating almost-rallies all night, and worth the last two times I saw the Yankees (they won). I'm still sore, my voice is still hoarse, and it was awesome.

Nothing quite like having the upper hand and being a little belligerent to those idiotic front-runner Yankee fans. After the game, I managed to taunt every one I saw (those who weren't smart enough to slink off during my celebration). "That's okay, guys, you got 26 rings, right? 26 rings, right? Have a nice winter!"

Also, one thing I learned last night that I never knew before - baserunners still on after a walk-off event still count as team left-on-base. So, while the Indians' 11 team LOB before the eleventh inning is still pretty atrocious, it's not really fair to count the three left on after Pronk's hit, right? It's not like they had a chance to score those guys and blew it.

Anyway, an amazing experience and an example of everything coming together (for me, at least). The only game I got to see at the Jake this year - and I think I caught a good one.

R.M. Jennings said...

Also, I just noticed from Garko's blog, talking about Carmona's reaction to the bugs:

"That might have been my favorite part of the game. He didn’t step off the mound once, and the other guys on the Yankees were acting like there were bullets flying around their heads, not gnats. I mean… this is the big leagues"

Ryan Garko is calling out the Yankees for being amateurs and wusses. Oh my.

Unknown said...

A lot of the comments I'm seeing coming from the other side are of the "Joba was only rattled because of the bugs! It had nothing to do with the Indians AT ALL. Nyah!" variety. While this might be true, it also goes to show that he can be rattled.

Comparatively, how awesome is it that Fausto was completely unaffected by them? It was business as usual for him.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, every Yankee but Pettitte made at least some mention of that fact that the bugs were all over the Indians as well. Rafael Perez, notably, didn't uncork two wild pitches as a result.

Rockdawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rockdawg said...

Got to LOVE a one run win where Borowski is nowhere to be seen!! Did anyone ever find out the answer to that question I posed? (Has any reliever EVER had more than 40 saves with an ERA over 5.00?)

Anonymous said...

I know we kid about it and chuckle when we see a t-shirt that says it... you suppose Jesus really does hate the Yankees?

Cy Slapnicka said...

i'm still exhausted, but elated. amazing experience last night. too tired to write.

Rockdawg said...

Looks like Toree's job is on the line tonight....Wouldn't it be great if a Yankee loss tonight sent them into a 3-4 year tailspin?