Sunday, October 21, 2007

One Win...Nothing Else Matters

It all comes down to one game to determine if the Indians play tomorrow or if the season has come to a sudden, and disappointing, end. Everything that has happened in the past 24 hours, in the past week, in the past month, all season long doesn’t matter at all tonight.

A win.
That’s all that’s needed.
Nothing else matters.

It doesn’t matter that the two Tribe “aces” fell flat on their faces…

The Paul Byrd-HGH controversy doesn’t matter tonight…

It doesn’t matter anymore that the Indians went into Thursday’s Game 5 up 3-1…

The fluid strike zone of Dana DeMuth of Game 6 is no longer a concern…

It doesn’t matter that the Travis Hafner has a .461 OPS in the ALCS with 10 K in 23 AB…

The “Boston Massacre” of Saturday night is only one more loss in the series…

It doesn’t matter that J.D. Drew erased a season of contempt from Sawx fans with one swing…

The amount of zeroes on Dice-K’s paychecks don’t matter one bit…

Tonight pits two pitchers against two lineups to determine the Champion of the AL – nothing more.

The Indians are in a one-game-playoff to fight for the continuation of their season and will have to bully their way past the Red Sox in Fenway to do so. The pitching match-up is identical to that of Game 3, which the Indians were able to win – albeit in Jacobs Field with the momentum of Game 2 on their side.

The Red Sox will throw Matsuzaka, a pitcher who limped to the finish line in the regular season, with his struggles continuing through his first two postseason starts for Boston. If the Indians can work Dice-K’s pitch count up, resulting in walks, baserunners, and opportunities to manufacture runs, they could set a tone early in the game and allow Jake some breathing room to work his sinker. It will be obvious fairly early how aggressive the Indians’ hitters are against Matsuzaka as the number of pitches in the 1st and 2nd innings will determine if the young Tribe is overly aggressive and tight or if the patient approach that has served them so well throughout the year has returned after disappearing against Beckett and Schilling in Games 5 and 6.

Behind Dice-K, though, is Boston’s full complement of relievers (thanks to Schilling’s stay at the top of the mountain last night), including the possibility of Josh Beckett perhaps playing the Pedro Martinez 1999 ALDS role (which I was unfortunate enough to witness first-hand).

The Tribe will counter with Westbrook and his penchant for baserunners, groundball double plays, and working out of jams. If Westbrook is getting the low strike and the Boston grounders are finding Tribe gloves, Jake could cruise into the 5th inning with little damage. However, if Jake gets squeezed on the low strike and is forced to work up in the zone, or if the Red Sox cobble together enough seeing-eye singles to have the opportunity to score that knockout punch, it could be a quick night for Jake.

The Indians’ bullpen, saved by Aaron Laffey, has everyone but Laffey and Perez (where have you gone, Mr. Scarecrow) and it will be interesting to see how Wedge works the bullpen. It’s conceivable that Jenny Lewis and Senor Slo-Mo could go two innings each, if necessary and the possibility is out there that the Byrdman (with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver racing to throw him under the bus) or even C.C. (do we really want that…and is it crazy that I just wrote that) being an option at some point in the game.

What has happened in the past remains squarely there – in the past.
The winner moves onto the World Series.
One game.
One win.
Nothing else matters.

See you on the other side.

5 comments:

Tyler said...

Whatever happens, you've been a great read this year. Thanks for staying on the beat.

Jeff said...

i'll definitely second that. Go Tribe!

Cy Slapnicka said...

wow, its not healthy to still be this angry at joel skinner. I think I take this too seriously when my wife is scared to talk to me.

t-bone said...

shocked it ended this way...

golnop said...

doesn t even matter nothing else matters video here:
video
9 minutes explicit video.