Saturday, September 1, 2007

Finally Fake!!!!!

After years and years of failing when it counts the most, much-maligned Casey "The Dog" Blake came through when the Indians needed it the most. Trailing 5-0, the Tribe mounted an epic comeback, starting in the a two run sixth inning. It didn't seem to be enough though. In the eight, trailing 5-2 with Mark Buehrle crusing (4 hits, 0 walks in 7 innings, 97 pitches), White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen inexpilcably went to his bullpen - the worst pen in the majors, mind you. First it was Ehren Wasserman (is he a J?), then the side-winding lefty Mike Myers (recently released by the bullpen poor Yankees), then it was former Royals great Mike MacDougal. Thanks to some timely hitting and a bad hop grounder by Ryan Garko, the Tribe had gotten to within one run at 5-4. Kenny Lofton pinch hit for Jason Michaels and like he did last night, drew a bases loaded walk to tie the game. Up stepped Fake with a chance to be a hero.

His numbers don't lie. The guy flat out cannot hit in the clutch. Going into the at-bat, Fake was hitting .169 (23-136) with runners in scoring position. With RISP and two out, he was even worse - .133 (10-75). He just flat out isn't getting it done. But tonight, maybe the moon was full. Maybe it was the karma of my wife and I going to a restaurant called Blake's for our anniversary. Maybe he closed his eyes and swing as hard as he could on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and a tie score in the bottom of the eighth. All I know is he came through big time with a bases-clearing double down the right-field line to win the game for the Tribe 8-5. After the game, he was interviewed by STO announcers Rick Manning and Matt Underwood. Fake admitted he was looking breaking ball the whole way and had MacDougal thrown a fastball, he "would have had me easily." Vintage Fake. Nobody is a nicer guy and more affable to the media and fans. In that sense, I am happy for him. More importantly, The Tribe has now won seven straight and 12 of 15. At press time (for me that is), the Tigers were losing in Oakland 4-2 in the fifth.

Could this be the team of destiny? One can only hope. Although, lets not get ahead of ourselves, the White Sox are no 3-17 in their last 20 games and seem to be completely mailing it in. Asdrubal Cabrera got the night off, but ended up at second base in the ninth after pinch hitting for Josh Barfield in the eight. He closed the game with another fantastic defense play, robbing the hated A.J. Pierzynski. Rafael Betancourt got his first save of the year as Joe Borowski was given a much needed night off. Props go out to Aaron Fultz as well for pitching two scoreless innings and picking up his fourth win. His work was huge to keep the Tribe in the ball game after Fausto Carmona was clearly off his game. Paul Byrd goes tomorrow night against Javier Vazquez.

Here's one for you, from
Payback: The postgame pies in the face suddenly seemed to be telegraphed, as if the receiving players were in the know beforehand. Turns out, they were. Sportstime Ohio broadcasters Rick Manning and Matt Underwood would often give a playful heads-up to the players they were interviewing. This did not go over well with pie ringleader Trot Nixon. And on Thursday night, clubhouse workers Mike Quidatano and Josh Ball came up to the press box in the ninth inning and turned the tables on the Sportstime Ohio personalities, nailing the pair during postgame interview time. "Oh man, it was awesome," Ball said with a laugh. "They were more stunned than anything. ... Before we did it, everybody was saying get Underwood's hair because he's funny about that, so it was sweet."

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