Friday, October 5, 2007

Buggin Out

Man am I drained. I feel this way and I'm just a fan. I can't imagine what it would feel like if I were a player. Tonight took five years off of my life. Seriously. And its only game two of the ALCS. Tonight was like a five hour drama. You couldn't look away and you had no idea how or when it would end. But when it did, the Tribe faithful went home happy.

Fausto Carmona and Andy Pettitte put together a pitching dual for the ages. Each did it in their own unique way. Carmona, the Tribe's 19 game winner was dominant. He went nine innings, allowing just one run on three hits. But it was the Melky Cabrera third inning pizza that looked to be his undoing. That's because Pettitte pitched in and out of trouble all night, and came up with the big pitches every time he needed it. He pitched into the seventh, allowing seven hits and two walks. The Indians has the leadoff man on base in five of the seven innings he started. Yet thanks to key strikeouts and a pickoff of Kenny Lofton in the fifth, he was the pitcher of record when the Yankees took the field for the bizarre bottom of the eight.

Then the bugs came to save the day.

Put of nowhere a swarm of "Canadian Soliders" attacked the players on the field. Poor Joba Chamberlain. The Yankees stud rookie reliever became so rattled, he couldn't throw strikes. Watching the bugs crawling on the pasty white neck of Chamberlain in HD literally made me itchy. Nevertheless, Chamberlain walked the leadoff man Grady Sizemore and wild-pitched him to second. It was only his second wild pitch of the season. Asdrubal Cabrera, who had a tough night, bunted Grady over to third. Up came Travis Hafner. He ripped a liner right at first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz for the second out. It seemed as if yet again the Indians would leave that tying run on third. But with the bugs clearly getting to young Joba, he uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning and Sizemore scored to tie the game at one.

The top of the ninth was even more nerve wracking as Carmona gave up a two out single to Bobby Abreu, which brought up Alex Rodriguez. This seemed like the at bat A-Rod has been waiting for to break his three year October slump. Abreu stole second. It was all there for the no doubt AL MVP. He battled Carmona, fouling off pitch after pitch. And with a 3-2 count and the crowd chanting "lets go Fausto," Carmona K'd A-Rod for the third time and the inning was over.

Fast forward to the 11th. The Tribe has already seen Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera for two innings, so in came Luis Vizcaino. Again, the leadoff man, Lofton walked; the eighth time in 11 innings that the Indians put the first man aboard. Franklyn Gutierrez singled. Casey Blake bunted them over. After Sizemore was intentionally walked, AC stepped up. Then he popped up. Again, it looked like another blown opportunity. But that all changed as Pronk lined a 3-2 pitch into right field and bedlam broke out at the Jake. The Tribe now leads the best-of-five series 2-0 and are in the driver's seat.


1. Carmona was fabulous tonight. Holding the vaunted Yankee lineup to three hits in nine innings is a remarkable feat. Unlike Chamberlain, he seemed completely unaffected by the swarm of bugs in the ninth.

2. You have got to give it up to Casey Blake. You know what, the man is a professional ball player. I watched him move runners by hitting the ball to the right side and lay down a perfect sacrifice bunt in the 11th. He plays a solid third base and is a perfect nine-hole hitter. I am here to offer an apology to the man for ripping him so badly over the years. He deserves a ton of credit.

3. Interesting that when Joe Torre went to Chamberlain to face Jason Michaels, Eric Wedge countered with another righty, Franky G with old scrub dog lefty Trot Nixon on the bench as well. If Wedge doesn't have the faith to use Nixon in that spot (and rightfully so), then why is he on the playoff roster while Ben Francisco isn't? Francisco offer more in every aspect of the game except pie-throwing.

4. The bullpen difference showed again tonight. I said it before the series, the Yankees have only two relief pitchers worth anything - Chamberlain and Rivera. Once they got past them tonight, it took the Indians less than an inning to win it. Vizcaino loaded the bases and gave up with winning hit. It really makes you appreciate just how good and deep the Tribe bullpen is. Raffy Perez was brilliant again tonight in his two inning stint, getting the W.

5. Did you notice that Wedge also went to Perez for two innings tonight and had Rafael Betancourt warming to come in for the 12th? Betancourt would have no doubt gone two innings if need be. Even Wedge knows, you cannot bring in Joe Borowski in a game of this magnitude unless you have exhausted all other options.

6. How about that A-Rod huh? One more 0-fer and a three game sweep by the Indians and his season for the ages will be all but forgotten. The rest of the Yankees aren't really helping either, Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui, the Yankees 4-5-6 hitters, are a combined 0-20 in this series. I'm still surprised Torre hasn't sat Matsui for Tribe-killer Jason Giambi.

7. Give Wedge credit for going with Lofton, the hot hand, despite being 4-32 lifetime against Pettitte. Lofton responded with two hits against Pettitte.

8. Did you know tonight was the 10 year annivesary of Sandy Alomar's dramatic Home Run off of Mariano Rivera in game four of the '97 ALDS? That's what I call karma.

Goodnight now......

1 comment:

Adam aka Boca said...

One game closer. Looks like Lebron's yankees may be outmatched by the heart of cleveland, and the bugs.