Saturday, October 20, 2007

Here We Go Again

This is sickening. A 3-1 series lead with your pair of 19 game winners going back to back and now its all tied up, going to Game Seven. Fausto Carmona failed to show for the second time this series, going only two innings, allowing six hits, four walks, and seven earned runs. He had his chance to get out of trouble in the first after he loaded the bases with two out. He managed to get past Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell unscathed. The came J.D. Drew. His first pitch looked to be right down the middle, but Carmona was squeezed by home plate umpire Dana Dimuth. He got behind once again 3-0. On a 3-1 pitch, Drew took Fausto deep to center for the back-breaking, series-changing Grand Slam. I received a call from one of closest confidants right after the Drew at-bat who said "with that one swing, the series completely changed and it's over." Well it's not over, but Clevelanders have that old sinking feeling. After tonight's 12-2 loss, instead of "we are one win away from the World Series" it feels closer to "we are one loss away from a classic Cleveland collapse of epic proportions."

Lets take a look at the culprits:

Fausto Carmona and C.C. Sabathia - The twin 19 game winners pitched like two guys who are completely frazzled and out of gas. In four starts, they have allowed 23 runs in 16 1/3 innings pitched. They have walked 16 Red Sox hitters, and caused tax to the Indians bullpen. If you would have told me that CC and Fausto would have these kind of numbers, I'd have told you the Red Sox would have the series wrapped up by now.

Travis Hafner - Where have you gone, Mr. Pronk? After taking the collar again (0-4, 2 K's), his ALCS hitless streak stands at 15 with nine punch outs. He's hitting just .158 for the series and is looking bad doing so. His strike three swing in his third at-bat was the most disturbing. Hafner swung at ball four up around his eyes. He is clearly pressing and couldn't have picked a worse time to do so.

Grady Sizemore - Exactly what has the heart throb done this series other than hit a solo pizza in Game Two? Nada. Zilch. His 0-4 has him at .208 with only one RBI. He also continues to leave runners stranded and not moving them over when need be.

Rafael Perez - Has the man Peter Gammons called "the best left-handed reliver on the planet" hit the wall? It sure seems like it. The Red Sox right handed bats have completely worn him out. In three games, Perez has a 45.00 ERA, allowing six earned runs in one full inning of work.

There was so much not to like about tonight, but really only a couple of things stick in my craw. One was the decision to go to Perez in the third inning after Carmona failed so miserably. I was thinking Eric Wedge figured he needed to stay afloat for a few innings and keep the Sox off the board, giving time to get back into the game. Perez failed miserably, allowing three runs in the third and putting four of the five men he faced on base. By the time long man Aaron Laffey came in, it was 10-1 and the game was already out of hand. Props to Laffey for pitching 4 2/3 scoreless relief and saving the Tribe pen for Game Seven tomorrow night. Had Wedge gone to him right away, maybe the game gets closer. Who knows.

Lastly, Hafner and Sizemore must wake up or the Indians are doomed. The third inning sums up their entire series thus far. Trot Nixon and Casey Blake lead off with singles. You figure a rally to get back into the game was at hand with the top of the order coming up. Negative. Sizemore popped out to shallow right, not even advancing Nixon to third. Asdrubal Cabrera then hit what would have been a sacrifice fly to deep right center. The Pronk weakly grounded to first to end the inning. The Sox scored six in the home half. Game over.

Im sick over this. All we need is one more, and it's our third try tomorrow night. Lets see what kind of stones this team has. It's all on Eric Wedge now.

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