Friday, October 19, 2007

One Moment In Time

In the midst of all of the ex-girlfriends singing the National Anthem, the bench-clearing brawls, and the inability of the Indians’ hitters to figure out Josh Beckett, Game 5 boiled down to one decision.

In the bottom of the 6th, as C.C. miraculously pulled his way through another inning while minimizing damage, the talk in the Mezzanine turned to how the Atomic Wedgie would set up the final three innings. With the top of the order coming up, could Jensen Lewis work an inning with LH Ortiz three hitters away, or would Raffy Perez work better in anticipation of Ortiz’s AB?

As I returned from the Mens’ Room (trust me, I never miss a pitch), the DiaBride was the first to point out that the pitcher standing on the mound with the ball to start the 7th looked like C.C. That must be a mistake, right? He had thrown over 100 pitches and had labored throughout, lucking into keeping the Indians in the game against the real Ace in the game, Beckett.

But there he stood (kind of hard to mistake C.C. for anyone else on the team), ready to face Dustin Pedroia and the top of the Red Sox lineup, pitch count and results be damned, in a 2-1 game that the Indians were (amazingly) still squarely in.

Of course, we all know how this ended, with Pedroia hitting a double and Youkilis hitting a triple before Sabathia was (finally and mercifully) pulled for Betancourt. And, despite Senor Slo-Mo’s best efforts, the damage was done and the game was lost.

Not to go all Tom Hamiliton, but “Ballgame”.

The most disturbing thing outside of Wedge’s decision to stick with C.C. is not even that he decided to use “ride with the horses that got him to the party” strategy that has served him so well throughout the postseason, but the way he handled the bullpen after the floodgates had opened. Down 2-1, or even 4-1, one would think that Wedge would play to win; instead his sequential order in the bullpen (which had worked exceedingly well) was out the window and the Indians were simply trying to stop the bleeding.

Whether or not the Indians would have been able to put more runs on the board against Beckett (who was simply dealing…as an “Ace” does) and Papelbon is secondary. The game was lost when Wedge allowed C.C. to stride to the mound in the 7th to face the top of the Boston lineup.

With that mistake staring the Tribe in the face, they head to Boston to try to close out the ALCS in enemy territory.
Let’s hope that Fausto is able to make the adjustments that C.C. simply wasn’t.

9 comments:

t-bone said...

urgh.

Ron Vallo said...

I don't want to hear any more talk from Sabathia about leading the staff and being the ace. They gave him the ball three times in the post-season and three times he went out nervous, timid and off his game. That he only gave up two runs through the first six last night is truly a miracle. He really didn't pitch much better than in game one. You can see him sweating and pressing from the first pitch. WHile Sabathia has a huge stomach, he's got no guts.

KonstrucktaTribe said...

Hey lets stay optimistic here they still have to make it three in a row (counting last night) and fausto learned his lesson.

And here is the kicker Becket can't pitch Saturday.

Schilling is old Mother Hubbard and they ain't got nothin' but gagne in the cubbard.

Keep hope alive Indians in 6!

Hyde said...

I'm curious: how many times this season has Wedge allowed any pitcher to start an inning after having thrown that many pitches? Unless it was the 9th inning and the pitcher in question was trying for a complete game, I don't know that it happened even once. It was a bizarre decision, although as with all his questionable decisions, Wedge will not even entertain the possibility he made the wrong choice.

There are only 2 types of Tribe fans: those who expecting the worst right now, and those who haven't been fans very long.

Voltaire said...

I still had a blast at the game last night. Any time I got too sad, I reminded myself that we were going to win the series. Now I've been to a playoff game at the Jake, and it was incredible.

Okay. Enough optimism. What the hell is wrong with Wedge? There is no excuse, none, for leaving in C.C. No way in hell you can justify that.

rick grayshock said...

Got beat by a better pitcher tonight. Fortunately, we have the better pitchers the rest of the series. That's it. End of story. We will win one of these games.

swarty said...

I was shocked to see CC come out for the 7th. after the double, I was slackjawed and apalled when he left CC in to face Youkilis after he had already gone yard on him.

the initial bad decision was inexplicibly compounded.

so if you grant that wedge left him in because he had an easy 6th, fair enough. but after the double...
end of rant. Carmona wins, we head into WS with some momentum.

rodells said...

Tough to beat a team the caliber of Boston 4 times in a row within days. Up 3-2 is great, who predicted we'd win in 4 or 5? I'll take our chances with Schill and DiceK, even though we're already dogs tomorrow (Bos -130 ish).

I'm on board with the 7th inning CC debacle. Perfect time to get Betancourt in the game, possibly for two.

Jason said...

I read Wedge's comments about it and he was thinking in terms of a long game. He was hoping to squeeze another inning out of Sabathia because he was hoping that they could tie the game up and then win another battle of attrition like game 2.

That does make a modicum of sense and perhaps if Sizemore had come up with Youk's liner it would have worked out that way. You may not agree with it, but it does answer, "what the hell was he thinking?"

I see where he is coming from, but I was pretty amazed that it wasn't Betancourt coming out to start the 7th with the idea of him pitching 2 innings. Ideally he would have mowed down the middle of the order again with the hope that the offense could scratch out a single run with the 9 outs they had left. and extend the game

I remember Hargrove's downfall in the playoffs seemed to come from thinking a little too far ahead. So far Wedge has done a tremendous job of leveraging the off days to win today's game today. Let's hope that Fausto gives them 7 strong tomorrow and they score so many runs off Schilling that Wedge doesn't feel compelled to use Borowski.

Anyone else a bit concerned about Raffy lefty's problems with his slider?