I have to admit- I never thought I would type that sentence.
Over the past year I have been a little critical of the performance of Wedge. This team doesn’t advance runners like they should, and they strike out way too often. In addition, he worked Sabathia and Carmona probably more innings than they should have. The Indians paid for it in the off-season. I hate the way he pulls Hafner in the seventh inning in tight games.
That being said, the Indians finished tied for the best record in baseball. Does that mean he deserves the Manager of the Year? Probably not, but I can’t really say that anyone else deserves it more. Managing a baseball team is a lot different than coaching football or even basketball. Wedge puts the players on the field, and is at the mercy of what they do. He can instruct them, but when that slider comes in it is up to Peralta to lay off the pitch.
So, I will leave the decision as to who deserves the award to the professionals. And say congratulations to Eric for the honor. Here’s hoping he can push the right buttons next year.
Paul Byrd wasn’t perfect, but he was good enough to get the Indians to their bread and butter relievers with the lead. Byrd allowed base runners, but got the big outs when he needed them most. The Tribe took advantage of Wang, touching him up officially for 4 earned runs, while only getting 3 outs. Torre was forced to go with Mike Mussina, and the Indians worked 4 walks and 4 hits off him in his 4.2 innings of work, scoring 2 more off the aging vet. Perez pitched two strong innings, allowing a solo homer, and Betancourt absolutely shut down the Yankees in the eighth. Borowski, as he usually does, made things interesting in the ninth. He gave up a solo homer and had a 400 bomb cross a few feet on the Tribe side of the foul pole. He finished the game off however, and the Tribe will meet Boston in the ALCS!
Filed under ALDS, baseball, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Eric Wedge, Indians, Jhonny Peralta, Joe Borowski, Kenny Lofton, Paul Byrd, Pennant race, play-offs, Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Perez, Sports, Victor Martinez
The Indians had a chance yesterday to take the Yankees behind the woodshed and put the country out of its misery. Unfortunately, they couldn’t finish the act and we are subjected to more over-priced pinstripes. I just finished reading a column by Howard Bryant of ESPN who seems to think that the Indians are in serious trouble because they are pitching Byrd instead of Sabathia tonight. I will admit that I don’t really love the idea of Paul Byrd throwing against that line-up in Yankee Stadium, but my mood changed dramatically when I discovered that the Yankees are bringing back Chien-Ming Wang on only 3 days rest to pitch the game. Wang was completely ineffective against the Indians on Thursday night. He didn’t get out of the fifth, and threw 95 pitches in the process. I was more nervous that the Yankees would trot Hughes out there than Wang. After having to use Hughes for nearly 4 innings last night, that scenario flew out the window. Continue reading
Filed under ALDS, baseball, C.C. Sabathia, Cleveland Indians, Eric Wedge, ESPN, Fausto Carmona, Indians, Jacob's Field, Jake Westbrook, New York Yankees, Paul Byrd, play-offs, Sports
Lofton walked home the tying run this time, and the Indians rolled to their 12th win in 15 games. This was one of those games I didn’t expect to win. Carmona was not on tonight, even still, he kept the White Sox from making the score out of hand early. He struck out three straight in the first inning after loading the bases. He did not allow a run until the 5th inning, and left the game after 6, having given up 5.
Down 5-0, with the way Buehrle was pitching, I figured this one was probably not going to go our way. But in the sixth the Indians got 2 back thanks to Gutierrez and Martinez. Fultz came on and pitched two near perfect innings to keep the score the same. The eighth inning was disaster for the Sox. Continue reading
Filed under baseball, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Division race, Eric Wedge, Fausto Carmona, Franklin Gutierrez, Grady Sizemore, Indians, Jhonny Peralta, Kenny Lofton, Pennant race, Rafael Betancourt, Sports, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, walk off
Well, I’m not sure where to start tonight. Let’s try the Indians. A one out hit by Victor in the bottom of the ninth earned him a seat on the bench as Barfield came in to run. (I had to remind myself that Wedge had been ejected already, because I was ready to jump on him for that one.) Garko gets drilled in the elbow, pushing Barfield to second. Peralta flies out, leaving the runners where they were. Gutierrez works a walk with some rare plate discipline, loading the bases and setting the stage for Lofton. Two outs, bottom of the ninth in a tie game. The count goes full. Lofton fouls off a high outside pitch that could have ended it. Next pitch…did I mention it was a tie game? Do you know why?
Back-up to the top of the ninth. We have a 5-4 lead. The only reason we had a lead was very timely hitting by, well most of the line-up. See, all of our runs scored with two outs. In fact we had 8 hits with two outs. So Laffey pitched well enough to win, Perez allowed runners to score for the first time since like 1999, and we came back to take the lead. Done deal right? Not really. Enter Joe Bo. He walked the lead off batter. Gave up a single, then a sacrifice bunt. The tying run scored on a ball that just got past Borowski, but was handled by Cabrera for an out. Joe got his 6th blown save, and nearly his 6th loss.
Filed under Aaron Laffey, announcers, baseball, Bernie Kosar, Brady Quinn, Browns, Cleveland Indians, Eric Wedge, football, Indians, Jhonny Peralta, Josh Cribbs, Kenny Lofton, NFL, Sports, Victor Martinez, walk off
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
The Indians blew an opportunity to gain ground on the Tigers today. They had a lead in the 10th inning and Borowski gave up a walk and consecutive hits to tie the game. All this after striking out the first two hitters. Fundamental baseball. You don’t walk the tying run on base. Problem was Borowski was warming up expecting to pitch in a tie game. He had mentally prepared for doom since he can’t get anybody out in non-save situations. Seriously, does anyone feel comfortable with him in the post-season? It makes me shudder. We still have to get there however, and today with C.C. on the mound we should have gained ground on the Tigers after they dropped 3 of 4 to the Yankees. You couldn’t have asked for a better scenario than that…and the Tribe blew it again. Continue reading
The good news is the Tribe wins, Tigers lose and the Indians lead the division by half a game. Paul Byrd pitched 6 solid innings giving up 1 run on 9 hits improving his record to 11-5. It was not a pretty win; the Tribe is still struggling to cross the dish, only managing 2 runs despite 12 hits and they left a pretty depressing 14 runners stranded. They also made some poor choices (in my humble opinion) in the 7th inning.
Thank you Gutierrez. A two run shot in the second, (on a full count no less, with two outs even) gave the Tribe a lead and helped Carmona settle down. Fausto pitched superbly again, striking out ten Tigers en route to his 14th win of the season. The 3-5 hitters went 3-8 tonight with a double, triple and 2 runs batted in. I refuse to give Wedge credit for this ‘discovery’ as most fans have been calling for Sizemore to hit third for about two years. Tell me it isn’t intimidating to see Grady, Victor, Hafner, and Garko sandwiched together.
One other thing to point out tonight- in the eighth inning with one run in and Granderson on third Fasuto struck out Thames. What was impressive was the way they set up that strike out. After getting ahead 2 strikes Victor calls for the breaking ball down and away. He didn’t just call for it, he made a huge commotion to set up out there. Ball is way low and outside, Thames doesn’t offer. Count is now 1-2. Victor calls for the same pitch, this time he sets up right behind the plate and Fausto delivers the exact same pitch to the same location. Thames, thinking the ball was supposed to be on the plate whiffs mightily. Fausto gets the punch-out, then gets Sheffield to line to short, and Magglio to foul out. Masterful job boys. Now let’s build on this. Go to Tampa and sweep these guys. Let the Tigers and Yankess battle for three games before we see Detroit again.
Filed under baseball, Detroit Tigers, Division race, Eric Wedge, Fausto Carmona, Grady Sizemore, Indians, Jacob's Field, Pennant race, Ryan Garko, Sports, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, Wild Card race
Unbelievable. I can’t even tell you how mad I am at Eric Wedge right now. Lead-off double in the ninth inning in a tie game. Peralta up to bat, and Wedge doesn’t order the bunt! Of course it is pointed out by the dynamic announcing duo that Wedge likes to give his hitters freedom to get men over how they feel comfortable. So Peralta swings at the first pitch at his shoestrings. The second pitch is right below the knees for a called strike. The end result- a strikeout, what else. How can you not bunt in that situation? The first pitch was so low that you wouldn’t have even offered a bunt at it. I know that Peralta botched a sac bunt chance in Minnesota…I saw that one too. My point is shouldn’t your starting shortstop be able to lay down a freaking bunt?!? Isn’t that a fundamental part of the game? Oh, I forgot, Wedge doesn’t coach fundamentals. The Tigers were ripe for the picking in this game. In the eighth we had a chance to take the lead, but Victor strikes out and Hafner flies out. Of course Hafner is practically hopping out of the box after every swing because his knee is not healthy enough to play, but there he is batting.
I hate the Yankees. I have always hated the Yankees. That 22-0 game a few years back in the Bronx- yeah I loved it. What I really hate is being swept by the Yankees- FOR THE WHOLE STINKIN SEASON!!!
The Indians wake up this morning and see that they are now out of the post-season mix. Unless they wake up and start doing the things that made them near unbeatable at the beginning of the year, they will once again choke away the division lead, and any chance for the wild card. I seem to remember a team that was patient enough to work walks and get starting pitchers deep into counts. I remember quality at-bats, even if the outcome was eventually an out. I remember guys fouling off pitches to get the one they wanted.
I remember timely hits. I remember that they did all of this with Travis Hafner in a slump. I remember being on top of the league in runs scored. Where has that team gone Mr. Wedge? Why do we have Peralta striking out on three straight pitches? Why is someone not helping Grady with his swing selection? How does a team unravel like this once again? Detroit is coming to town and they feel like it is Christmas. They played absolutely awful for the past month, and they have a half game lead on the Indians. They probably feel like they are going to sweep this two game set, and leave a thank you note for handing them the division.
I don’t know what it is going to take to wake this team up to what they were doing before- because obviously they aren’t getting it from the manager. Do they need another player’s only meeting? Do they need to get in some kind of brawl? I hope that they start getting their act together quick- because the Tigers are starting to get hot again.
I’ll make a Cooperstown post later today or maybe tomorrow, but first let me get to some of the recent news. Last night the Indians had golden opportunities and failed to take advantage of them. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Tigers lost to the Devil Rays, the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays. We had a one run lead in the 9th and the 12th, and blew both save opportunities. Great job guys. Perhaps most disturbing was that Travis Hafner had to leave the game with ‘tightness in the knee’. I am not a doctor, but if a knee is tight, and there is a noticeable limp like there was last night, this is not a one or two day thing. Indians fans need to prepare for life without Travis for a while. That line-up without Hafner is not pretty.
So how does Eric Wedge explain what happened last night? You’re going to love this- and by that I mean you might throw up in your mouth-
“Guys kept fighting, pitchers kept pitching,” Wedge said. “They had last ups today. Sometimes that’s the difference.”
They had last ups. Come on Eric, time to earn that contract extension. I’ve always been willing to give Wedge the benefit of the doubt, but if this team misses the post-season this year- I won’t rest until his bags are packed.