I am a Cleveland sports fan. I was raised that way. I’m not the only one. I know that around Ohio, and scattered around the country, people were hurting as I was yesterday. I feel like Victor does in this photo. I could hardly watch at the end either. I never saw the last half inning of the game. If I hadn’t seen something about it when searching for photos, I’d have never known that Casey Blake was the last out. It was too painful to watch.
The last 12 months have been pretty brutal for those of us that follow the teams that this blog is primarily about. The Browns were abysmal last season. But the Buckeyes put on an unbelievable show. They won game after game after game, including the most monumental rivalry game of my lifetime. And then, they completely fell to pieces. The Cavs and Buckeye basketball teams had great regular seasons. Mike Conley came to life and along with superstar Oden propelled the team into the Championship game. And got beaten soundly. Continue reading
Filed under ALCS, Browns, Buckeyes, Casey Blake, Cavs, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Curse, Cleveland Indians, Fausto Carmona, Greg Oden, Indians, Jake Westbrook, LeBron James, Mike Conley, Ohio State, play-offs, San Antonio Spurs, Sports, Victor Martinez, World Series
Sometimes a moment, or a game can define a season or a team. Friday night the 2007 Indians might have had that moment. By now you know the story. You watched as 23 year old Fausto Carmona pitched the playoff game of a lifetime. You saw him strike out 5 Yankees, including soon to be AL MVP Alex Rodriguez 3 times. You watched him limit baseball’s most potent offense to 3 hits. One lone home run accounting for the only Yankee to get past second base. And yet it almost wasn’t enough.
Filed under A-Rod, ALDS, Asdrubal Cabrera, baseball, Casey Blake, Cleveland Indians, Fausto Carmona, Indians, Jacob's Field, Jake Westbrook, Jhonny Peralta, Kenny Lofton, LeBron James, New York Yankees, Paul Byrd, Rafael Perez, Sports, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez
Indians 12 Yankees 3!
Just like we thought it would be! Alright not exactly. C.C. Sabathia struggled a little, but not the Tribe offense. Pumped up from the log wait, C.C. didn’t have his best command tonight. He was high in the strike zone an awful lot. He threw an ungodly amount of pitches. And I might add that the strike zone was pretty small tonight. But what he did was keep the Yankees in check. Though he went only 5 innings, he left the game with the lead, and pitched his way out of a couple of serious jams. Obviously, the 5th inning was the big one. With the bases loaded and one out, and a 3-0 count on Jorge Posada, Sabathia struck him out on high fastballs. Now, a Yankee fan would be quick to point out that the pitches Jorge swung at were more than likely balls. Yep. I’ll agree to that, with the exception of the first one. So what? Your guy swung at them. After a weak pop up by Matsui, the Tribe and C.C. had held strong.
Filed under A-Rod, Asdrubal Cabrera, baseball, C.C. Sabathia, Casey Blake, Cleveland Indians, Indians, Kenny Lofton, LeBron James, New York Yankees, Ryan Garko, Sports, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez
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.) Continue reading
Filed under Asdrubal Cabrera, baseball, C.C. Sabathia, Casey Blake, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Division race, Franklin Gutierrez, Indians, Jacob's Field, Pennant race, Rafael Betancourt, Sports
Jhonny Peralta hit 2 home runs, the last a two-run shot in the eighth that tied the game at 5.
Extra frames ensued, thanks to more outstanding bullpen work. Tonight Fultz, Borowski and Betancourt combined for 3.2 innings of shutout ball to bail out Paul Byrd, who struggled, and was a victim of some suspect defense. Rafael worked 2 innings and is credited with the win. He is now 5-1 with a 1.48 era. He struck out 4 of the 7 batters he faced, and gave up only 1 hit.
The hero tonight was a familiar one. He was the hero only a few nights ago. Casey Blake stepped up in the 11th and hit a low curve ball that just stayed up to get over the mini-green monster. That’s right, 2 walk-off homers in 4 games for Blake. He was so excited he shouted and pumped his fist as he sprinted around the bases. What a great night for the Tribe, who all but cemented the division with the win. The lead is back to 5.5 games, which means the Tigers would have to make that up in only 12 remaining games. In other words the Indians would have to go 5-7 while the Tigers ran the table. Not gonna happen. Enjoy the rest of the series Indian fans, we’re just watching the number go down at this point.
Filed under baseball, Casey Blake, Cleveland Indians, Indians, Jacob's Field, Jhonny Peralta, Joe Borowski, Paul Byrd, Rafael Betancourt, Sports, walk off
Uh, Casey…you got something on your chin…never mind.
The Indians came from behind to maintain their 5.5 game lead, reduce their magic number by one, and get C.C. off the hook for a loss. It’s strange that Sabathia’s career high for strikeouts in game came last night, in a game that he gave up 4 runs. Still, 4 runs over 7 innings is not a lot, it’s just un-Sabathia like. The offense struggled last night, but did just enough to win, this time with the long ball. Continue reading
Filed under baseball, C.C. Sabathia, Casey Blake, Cleveland Indians, Division race, Franklin Gutierrez, Grady Sizemore, Indians, Jacob's Field, Rafael Betancourt, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez
Alright, different Santana but the same result as C.C. worked all nine innings last night holding the Angels to 1 run. The offense got on track scoring 6 runs on 10 hits, but Saturday night belonged to Sabathia. The Indians needed their big ace to come through after dropping the first two games of the series. He was up to the challenge.
The defense behind him turned 4 double plays, though there were some interesting moments, mostly from Casey Blake who bobbled at least three balls by my count. He recovered to make the play on two of them, and the other was erased by a double play. As was pointed out by Rick Manning, C.C. made light of the situation each time taking the pressure off Casey, who has played excellent defense this year. Cabrera helped to turn a nice double play as well.
The Indians maintained their 5 game lead with win, keeping pace with the Tigers who beat the Mariners again Saturday. I said at the beginning of this road trip that what we needed were series wins, but that I would be satisfied with a split against the Angels. Sabathia kept that thought alive with his 17th win.
Did someone forget to tell the Indians they had a game tonight? They didn’t show up until about the seventh inning. By then it was too late. It’s not worth wasting much effort to describe this ridiculous game. Apparently, the Tribe left Detroit thinking they had won the Central. THERE’S MORE BASEBALL TO PLAY MEN! C.C. had his usual inning of complete and utter non-concentration. What was odd is that he got Victor involved this time. In the fifth inning Sabathia hit Pena, then on a pitch that was exactly where Martinez wanted it, Victor simply missed the catch. It bounced off his mitt and sent the runner to second. Gathright, who was up there to bunt him to second took the opportunity to bunt him to third instead. Hmmm…imagine that, a sacrifice bunt executed called for and executed correctly. Runner on third with only one out, next batter hits a sacrifice fly to center. Second run crosses the plate. Ball game. Oh, we still had to play 3.5 more innings, but that essentially ended the game. Continue reading
Filed under baseball, C.C. Sabathia, Casey Blake, Cleveland Indians, Division race, Eric Wedge, Grady Sizemore, Indians, Jhonny Peralta, Kenny Lofton, Pennant race, pitchers, Rafael Perez, Ryan Tucker, Sports, Travis Hafner
Don’t have much time to post, but it has been made official that Kenny Lofton is coming back to the Indians in exchange for minor league catcher Max Ramirez. Ramirez is a fine prospect, but certainly is playing a position that is seemingly blocked with Martinez and Shoppach. Word is that Lofton would be available for duty even tonight starting the Twins series. Whether he plays left or right field, my question is where does he hit? Do you lead him off? Do you bat him second? How does this line-up look-
cf- Grady Sizemore, lf Kenny Lofton, c Victor Martinez, dh Travis Hafner, 1b Ryan Garko, 3b Casey Blake, ss Jhonny Peralta, rf Jason Michaels (platoon), 2b Josh Barfield
Do you leave Blake in the 2 hole? I would hear the argument that we should leave Blake alone because he is having a decent year. I think Lofton would be a better 2 hitter than Casey. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing Lofton in the lead-off spot and put Grady in the 2 spot. Bottom line- this trade should only be the begining of the moves. We now have at least one too many outfielders. One should be traded. To be continued…
Two quotes to open- the first is from yours truly before yesterday’s masterpiece…
“The Tribe sends Fausto Carmona to the mound tonight against Josh Beckett. This is a very important game for Carmona. It may give us an indication if he is ready to pitch in the post-season.”
The second is from the AP wire after the win…
“Carmona reminisced about his personal Boston massacre on Tuesday, but the right-hander was able to block it out during a late July game that had October-like electricity.”
October-like electricity. I’d say so. Carmona was fantastic last night. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. His line- 8 innings, 0 runs, 2 BB, 4 Hits, 6 K’s. On a night when Beckett was great, Fausto was even better. He got some help. It hurts me to even type it, but Casey Blake made some nice plays at third last night. He made snares of line drives the camera couldn’t even catch up to.
Then there was the play at the plate. Ortiz hits a ground ball into shallow left center that Barfield catches up to. Crisp, who had been on second decides to try and score. Barfield throws a one hopper to Victor. Martinez had to catch the ball on the right side of the dish, and turn to get Coco. He blocked the plate with his entire body. As Rick Manning said in the broadcast- he sat on the plate. It was brilliant.
No, that wasn’t the score last night. Actually the Tribe won 5-4 in 11 innings. If you’re reading this you probably don’t need a complete game recap. I’ll highlight a couple of things here. First, Blake came through with his 12th homerun of the season. Not that I got to see that mind you, because STO was experiencing technical difficulties during the 11th. Nice.
Casey and I have this love/hate relationship going on. Actually, he doesn’t know who I am. And there is generally no love part of the relationship. I refer to him as death. Such as-
“Who’s up next honey?” my wife might say if she was interested for some reason.
“Death.” I would reply.
“Oh, Blake again?” She would surmise.
“Maybe he’ll get a hit.” She might say.
“Slow gronder to third, easy play.” The announcer might say next.