Monday, April 20

Settling for the split

I thought I'd pick up the slack for the in-transit JHH and write a few notes about the Indians' 7-3 "loss" to the Yankees yesterday, which gave the two teams a split for the four-game set and dropped the Tribe's mark to 4-9.

The most encouraging part of the game was the performance of Indians starter Carl Pavano, who allowed just one run in six innings and generally looked in command of the game throughout. The most exciting moment was Pavano's final pitch, the bases-loaded punchout of Nick Swisher to end the sixth. That left the score at 3-1, the Indians having taken a 3-0 lead earlier with the benefit of just three hits. Shin-Soo Choo got the Tribe on the board with a solo shot in the second, then walked and scored on Ryan Garko's two-run home run in the fourth. New York cracked the scoreboard on Mark Teixeira's RBI single in the bottom half of the inning.

Innings 5-9 weren't nearly as fun. For one, the Tribe failed to record a hit in frames 5-8, managing only Kelly Shoppach's single in the 9th the rest of the game. Not good. Worse yet was when Cleveland loaded the bases on three walks in their half of the 7th with one out, but were retired on consecutive weak choppers by Mark DeRosa and Victor Martinez. You can't let opportunities like that slip by.

After that, the bullpen once again failed the Tribe in spectacular fashion, 2008-style. Rafael Perez came on to face lefties Robinson Cano and Hideki Matsui and quickly allowed a double and single to shrink the lead to 3-2 before being pulled. One might describe that as "ineffective." After Cody Ransom gave the Wahoos a free out courtesy of a botched sacrific bunt, Jorge Posada hit a drive deep to right field that would change the game. Indians right fielder Trevor Crowe went back to the fence and had his glove clearly interfered with by a fan. The ball ended up back on the field - nevertheless, the umpires initially called it a home run and subsequently used video replay to uphold the call, even though it was quite obviously the wrong one. The Yankees went ahead 4-3 with this pair of dirty runs. I'm surprised there's less local media outrage about just how wrong this call was - at least the Indians' TV crew expressed their strong disagreement. This was simply a wrong call that could easily have been made correctly that probably cost the Indians a game.

Eric Wedge was typically stoic about it, because if the umpires watched it over and over again in slow motion and ruled against you, what's there to say? I guess you could remind them that fans can't grab players' gloves in the field of play, but that rule appears not to apply in Yankee Stadium. Man do I ever hate the Yankees. We also get this enlightening quote from Yankee skipper Joe Girardi:

I thought it was a home run, I did. I know it was very close and a lot of times you could be wrong with the naked eye. I actually thought it was a home run.

Wow, I'm so glad to know that a totally biased observer with a terrible angle sitting hundreds of feet away thought it was a home run. I feel much better now.

The Yankees tacked on three more via a bases-clearing bloop double to provide the final margin of 7-3, raising Ransom's OPS on the year to all of .465. It looked like Choo gave up on the ball as he approached it - I'm still not certain what happened there - but it's not like the deflated Indians were going to touch Mariano Rivera for a run anyway.

Probably the most frustrating game of the young season. Hopefully we can come home and have some success against KC, Minny, and Boston. The Tribe is off Monday - here are the matchups for the three-game set with the first-place Royals starting Tuesday evening:

Game 1: Aaron Laffey, RHP (0-0, 3.38) vs. Sidney Ponson, RHP (0-1, 4.50)

Game 2: Cliff Lee, LHP (1-2, 6.75) vs. Horacio Ramirez, LHP (0-1, 11.12)

Game 3: Anthony Reyes, RHP (1-0, 5.73) vs. Gil Meche, RHP (1-0, 2.25)

Go Tribe!

1 comment:

John said...

Andy thanks for the fill in post. Obvious I have a few thoughts on yesterday's game.

The bullpen is killing this team, again. We're wasting 10 million this year on a closer we can't get into a save situation.

Perez is a major concern since we need him bad, really bad.

Betancourt continues his decline.

Is Jensen Lewis only motivated by closing?

Well at least we miss the Royal's ace Greinke and his Cy Young candidate 2009 campaign this series.