Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Collectively Collected

Now THAT’S the Indian Way – strong starting pitching, a lockdown bullpen, and a balanced offense in Game 5 to put the Red Sox on the ropes as the Indians team that we’ve watched all season long simply played the way they know how to and pushed Boston to the edge of the cliff.

As Byrd and Wakefield battled, neither offense could put a solid rally together and each pitcher seemed to be growing stronger as the innings passed. But, after being baffled by Wakefield for most of the game (6 K in the first 4 innings), they caught a break when Asdrubal’s liner glanced off of the knuckleballer’s glove and the Tribe smelled blood in the water. They jumped on Wakefield and didn’t release their choke hold on him or Manny Delcarmen until the Red Sox essentially tapped out, down 7-0.

And how about a hand for the Byrdman, who simply goes out in the playoffs and eats innings against two of the best offenses in baseball, giving his team a chance to win with double wind-ups, Crisco (whoops, did I say that?), pitches in the low-to-mid-80’s, veteran guile, and guts?
Is there a more underappreciated Indian?

After Byrd couldn’t rebound from the extended layoff, and despite the FOX announcers’ best attempts to add some intrigue to the rest of the night, Jensen Lewis (once he got past Manny) and Rafael Betancourt slammed the door on Boston. No, that doesn’t do justice to how they treated the Red Sox hitters…those two slammed the door, locked it, threw the deadbolt, set up the chain lock, and threw a dresser in front of the door that the Red Sox couldn’t even find the handle for.

While the Indians’ pitchers were calmly going about shutting down the potent Boston offense, the Tribe hitters did what they’ve done all series long – they ALL showed up and played a part in the success of the team. No one player or play stands out as the killshot, though Honny P’s 3-run job got the DiaBride (with a recently thrown-out-back) off her feet as that “line just kept on moving” in the spectacular 5th inning.
To fully appreciate what a complete offensive effort the Indians have put forth in the first four games of the series, consider the breadth and depth of the production thus far:
Peralta – 7 RBI
Gutierrez – 4 RBI
Cabrera – 4 RBI
Lofton – 2 RBI
Hafner – 2 RBI
Martinez – 2 RBI
Blake – 2 RBI
Nixon – 1 RBI
Sizemore – 1 RBI
Garko – 1 RBI
Not one Indians’ regular has been shut out of driving in runs in the ALCS and the balance of the attack and the relentless and patient nature of the lineup is what has driven three of the four Boston starters out of the game.

On a night when the Red Sox could have taken control and momentum right back from the Tribe, stealing one on the road with their 4th starter on the mound and Beckett going tomorrow, they played tight and swung early and often and the offerings of the Tribe arms. The Indians, on the other hand, fully aware that momentum in the series could swing with a Boston win in Game 5, never seemed to waver. The team put off a cool confidence that belied their inexperience, never letting the Red Sox see them sweat.

The Indians are calmly going about their business, playing their brand of baseball, and acting like they’re the team that have all been there before. In doing so, they’ve set themselves up about as well as anyone could have hoped, with an opportunity to clinch with their aCCe on the mound at home in Game 5.

On the day that World Series tickets arrived to the Tepee in the mail, and with Game 5 tickets under my bed, calm is settling in.
Next up…the storm of a potential World Series berth.


Thirsty Mouse said...

Could Byrd have been more clutch?

Unknown said...

How big is Thursday for C.C.'s future? With two unimpressive playoff starts under his belt, he HAS to step it up bigtime.

t-bone said...

wow, what an evening last night. felt the crowd wasnt as loud as monday, but maybe it was from where i was sitting (up high behind home plate). the visual was amazing though, with 40,000 towels going at once.

i am toying with taking friday off.

t-bone said...

also, we had a discussion on this last night, and rizzo just brought it up as well. does the waving of the towels make it "less loud" due to the fact that they prevent clapping?

Cy Slapnicka said...

i already have friday off and am praying for no mishaps on the drive in tomorrow, as i'm timing it to arrive about 2 hours before game time. enough time to park and have a pop or two and relax after the 350 mile drive. i've already informed my wife, in-laws, and parents (whom i am attending the game with) that I will be staying downtown if we do that thing that i will not speak of until we do it.

t-bone said...

Is the next Pirates manager tied up in ALCS?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
By Paul Meyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The American League Championship Series between Cleveland and Boston apparently is impeding interviews for the Pirates' managerial job.

That series, which might not end until Sunday, features two people believed to be strong candidates to be interviewed by Neal Huntington, the Pirates' new general manager.

Cleveland third base coach Joel Skinner's name surfaced as soon as Jim Tracy was fired as the Pirates' manager Oct. 5. Now Boston pitching coach John Farrell's name can be put on that list, too. League rules prohibit candidates to be interviewed until their teams are done playing for the season.

Both men fit the candidate description espoused by Pirates broadcaster Bob Walk, whose name was erroneously tossed into the mix early on.

"A legitimate candidate has to be somebody with some kind of ties to the new general manager," Walk said.

Before coming to the Pirates Sept. 25, Huntington worked for Cleveland in various roles for 10 years, during which time he developed a relationship with Farrell as well as with Skinner.

Skinner, 46, the son of Bob Skinner, a member of the Pirates' 1960 championship team, was a successful manager in the Cleveland farm system before joining the big league team as a coach for the 2001 season.

Farrell, 45, spent five years as Cleveland's minor league director before going to Boston last winter to succeed pitching coach Dave Wallace. Farrell, who was an assistant baseball coach at Oklahoma State for five years, has no major league managerial experience, but Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro does not view that as a drawback.

"I see him as a potential impact manager or a potential impact general manager," Shapiro told the Cleveland Plain Dealer Monday. "He's one of those guys who has no limit to what he can do."

It's believed that Huntington also has Trent Jewett, manager of the Pirates' Class AAA Indianapolis team, on his list of candidates.

Huntington, who yesterday began three days of meetings with Pirates scouts, has said he will not comment on specific candidates. He also has to hire an assistant general manager, a minor league director and a scouting director.

An external candidate for the scouting director's job could be Bruce Manno, who was let go by the St. Louis Cardinals just after the season ended. Manno was the Cardinals' director of professional scouting.

David said...

Are these the days we'll look back upon as "The Glory Days of Cleveland Professional Sports?" I mean, does it get any better than this? Ok, ok, nothing has happened yet, I understand that, but still, this is pretty damn good. We still need one more to even get there, but I like our chances (more than I liked Lebron's chances against the Spurs). Come on CC, one more, let's keep this mother going. Go Tribe!

Cy Slapnicka said...

btw, is anyone else praying for a huge blowout tomorrow so we can bring in fultz to put one in manny's ear? someone we don't care about, so that if the benches clear, nobody else comes to their rescue and risks injury or disciplinary action.

Cy Slapnicka said...

Outstanding clip from Donovan's Inside Baseball article at SI today...

"3. Like most teams, the Indians run a continuous loop of video of the opposing starting pitcher on clubhouse monitors before a game. The video typically shows the pitcher in his most recent start or a start against their own team. But the Indians tried something new before ALCS Game 4. A message on the clubhouse whiteboard said it all: "Wakefield Giving Up Hits. Ch. 18." The channel showed nothing but Tim Wakefield getting raked.

"I guess," Cleveland centerfield Grady Sizemore said, "it makes you think, This guy gives up nothing but hits."

Sure looked that way in the fifth inning."

Perhaps they should set up a TV in the bullpen and show the "Manny being a jackass" channel.

I wish Comcast offered me a channel to me at home called "Manny getting drilled in the ribs".

Unknown said...

t-bone, re: crowd noise
I sat the opposite way, 156 on Monday, 556 on Tuesday.
Upper was louder... my observation is this: older, regular crowd in 156; younger beered up crowd in 556.
Best celeb seen - Wendell Middlebrooks "mess with the High Life and the High Life will mess with you," "$11.50 for a hamburger -- ya'll must be crazy!"