Friday, October 12, 2007

First Class Whippin'

Travis Hafner hit a solo pizza in the top of the first to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead. That was about it. C.C. Sabathia forgot to show up, Josh Beckett was masterful, and Tribe pitching could not keep Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz off base. All of this lead to a Red Sox dominating 10-3 win in Game One at Fenway Park.

I'm not going to give you a blow by blow of the Red Sox offensive berage, but Sabathia 's performance needs examinating. He pitched scared all night long. I gave the Big C a mulligan for his five inning, 114 pitch outing in game one of the ALDS, but he gets no free pass tonight. His command was nowhere to be found, other than in the second inning where he struck out the side. Ortiz and Ramirez reached base all six times they faced C.C., including a bases loaded walk to Ramirez in four run fourth where Manny was down 0-2 in the count. The guy who challenged hitters and had pinpoint control all year had disappeared. Sabathia walked just 37 in 241 innings during the regular season. In 9 1/3 postseason innings, he has walked 11.

We also got to witness the back-end of the Tribe bullpen at its finest. Jenson Lewis mopped up for C.C. and wasn't much better, giving up two earned runs in 2/3 of an inning. Aaron Fultz came in to face David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez in the sixth and walked them both. If you can name me the last time he was effective, you have a better memory than I do. It was good to see my guy Tom Mastny get some run tonight. He gave a solid scoreless two inning, bullpen saving session, while Joe Borowski pitched the ninth to get some work.

But tonight was about the relentless Red Sox offense that produced 10 runs, 12 hits, and eight walks. They were patient against Sabathia and made him pay. He threw 81 pitches in his 4 1/3 innings. Ramirez wore the Indians out at the plate and in the field, going 2-2, walking three times, driving in three runs, and making two great catches effectively killing Tribe rallies; all of it made with a classic Manny smile on his face.

The most impressive stat from tonight: The Red Sox loaded the bases five times and scored each time.

The most interesting stat: Ortiz and Ramirez have had 36 plate appearances between them in the postseason thus far and have reached base a whopping 29 times including all 10 tonight.

The most typical stat: Casey Blake has two hits tonight; both came when nobody was on base and the Indians were down at least six runs.

What the Indians have done best is put losses behind them and take it one game at a time. That's the Eric Wedge Way. They will turn to Fausto Carmona, their co-ace to get them a split at Fenway, which is a must of they are going to win the series. It won't be easy, as the Sox will throw Curt Schilling, perhaps the best postseason pitcher of all time.

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