The magic number…
The Indians didn’t get out the brooms yesterday. They broke out the shovels and buried the Tigers. They’re done. They will not make the playoffs. C.C. and the Tribe won 4-2 on a positively gorgeous day at the Jake. (I’m calling it that forever- I don’t care who buys the naming rights.)
Sabathia won his 18th game, and kept his Cy Young chances alive. He had the typical C.C. inning, this time in the 3rd, when he gave up 3 hits and 2 runs, but settled in to get Polanco and then a great leaping catch by Michaels took extra bases from Ordonez. In the Tribe half of the inning, Casey Blake hit a rocket shot leading off the inning that nearly won a truck for a fan, hitting it over the home run porch. Cabrera ended the threat by grounding into a double play, which he would do again later in the game.
In the 4th, C.C. worked around a lead-off double, striking out the next 2. After that inning you knew C.C. wouldn’t be denied. In the 5th Casey Blake walked, and then stole second to get into scoring position. He was rewarded when Gutierrez hit a double to tie it. Michaels and Cabrera would also get rbi hits in the inning, and the lead would grow to 4-2.
The big question in my mind was whether of not Sabathia would come out for the 7th inning. He had already thrown 97 pitches, and it was the bottom third of the order. He did come out, and set the Tigers down in order. His line for the day- 7 innings pitched, 2 earned runs, and 7 strikeouts. His era sits at 3.19. He has 18 wins. In his last 11 starts, he has pitched 6 innings each time, and went at least 7 innings in 9 of those games. He finished yesterday with 109 pitches.
The Tigers got buried in the 8th inning. Rafael Betancourt came in to face the top of the Detroit order. Granderson, who was not in to face Sabathia, came in to pinch hit and had a tremendous at bat against Raffy and ended up drawing the walk. After Polanco flied out, he gave up a hit to Sheffield. Now he was facing Ordonez as the go ahead run. Our best reliever vs the man who has a good shot to be the MVP with the game, and their season on the line. Struck him out! The crowd (32,511 by the way) went crazy! After a Guillen infield hit to load the bases, Marcus Thames flew out to left and it was all over but the crying. But it was a slightly tense moment. Even John was nervous!
Borowski worked a scoreless 9th for his 42nd save, and was the pie recipient for the game. The strange part of yesterday’s box score was seeing that our 3-5 hitters went hit-less, while the rest of the team each had one hit only. It was absolutely a team win. And there was an electricity at the Jake. It was play-off atmosphere. That was nice to see again. As was the Feller statue. He had a new shirt though.