How ’bout that Kouzmanoff? First pitch of the first at-bat in your big league career, and it’s a jack with the bases full. All those who were watching know that he is only the third person ever to do that. What’s remarkable is that 2 of them have been in the last 13 months, and that the only other one was by a pitcher in 1898.
I certainly didn’t expect the offense to call it a night after the second inning. During the middle innings I was flipping back and forth between this game and the Auburn game, and settled back on this one as the Rangers crept closer and my War Eagles lengthened their lead.
I think we got a break on the call at home, and the Rangers got hosed. Victor blocked the plate well, but that camera right behind the plate seemed to indicate – to me, at least – that dude slid around the tag and Victor’s leg and I thought he got his foot to the plate. But I’ll take it. Mastny made like Bob Wickman in the ninth, getting the save but making us die-hards sure we would go into cardiac arrest by the end of the game.
So now we’re 18-5 in the last 23, within 4 of .500. When I got up the morning of Aug. 9, if someone had asked me what did I want the Tribe to accomplish the rest of the season, I would have said, "Just that they not lose 90 games." When you’re 17 under .500 with 2 months to go, 90 losses is what’s staring at you. Now, with this hot streak, we can hope for something much better – a winning record. For the last 28 games, I hope they match the August record by going 18-10. That would give us an 83-79 record. Even though it’s only 1 game, 83-79 just sounds better than 82-80. After the misery of May, June and July, it would be wonderful to go into the winter with a winning record of any sort.
The Tribe head to to Texas for 3 this weekend after finishing off a sweep of the Blue Jays last night. Can’t believe we won that one. In the ninth, when Hafner struck out and Martinez flied out leaving the bases loaded, I was sure we would get pummelled in the tenth, so I went to bed. Get up in the AM to find out Jhonny Peralta hit a walk-off jack in the tenth. Nice! At least indians.com had the video.
So the Indians are now 16-5 in their last 21, and have won after falling behind 3 times in the past week. I don’t think it had happened 3 times all year. This is what we were supposed to do from the jump. I guess it took getting rid of most of the veterans and going with the kids. Ryan Garko, Andy Marte, Franklin Gutierez, Hafner, Martinez, Grady Sizemore, Jeremy Sowers, Rafael Bettancourt, Tom Mastny, Shin-Soo Choo and Joe Inglett have all played well most of the time, and they’re all under age 26. We haven’t seen Trevor Crowe yet, and right now there’s no place to play Kevin Kasminoff, who is tearing class AAA pitching up. At least we aren’t the Royals, who have a worse record and hardly any good players in the minors.
But this is going to be a monster road trip. Texas always plays us tough and has a lot of bats to swing at you. You know Toronto will be playing angry, looking for revenge when we go there. And the White Sox are the White Sox. If we go 4-5 I’ll consider it a success. If we actually win more than we lose, I may be in need of a sleeveless jacket.
The home PC is fixed, finally. Too bad it is now way too depressing to blog about the Tribe. It is unbelievable how badly this has turned out. The 2 problems have been that nobody can seem to catch the ball (other than Grady), and nobody in the bullpen can get anybody out (so it was a genuine surprise how Mastny managed to finish Saturday’s game).
But let’s try to keep our heads up as best we can. Marte is getting better, at the plate and at third base. Garko is hitting better than expected. Grady deserved his All-Star appearance (instead of just being there becasue an Indian had to be there). Pronk has been Pronk, and God love him for it. Hey, Shoppach actually threw some base stealers out the other day! And did anyone predict that Choo would hit as well as he has? No, especially me (since I ridiculed the trade when it happened, I won’t claim I saw it coming).
C.C. and Cliff have been steady despite some bad fortune. Sowers has been even better than advertised. Westbrook and Byrd have been decent as the 4 and 5 starters.
And we still have not seen Trevor Crowe, Adam Miller or any of those studs we have in the lower minor leagues yet. All is not lost. We may not win 93 every year, but I expect this year to be the exception, not the norm.
Since I was a Royals fan for so many years, I am en expert at watching bad baseball (Watching 4 years of 100 losses out of 5 years will make you an expert). The debacle that is the Tribe in 2006 is among the worst I have ever seen.
Yesterday was particularly disgusting. I really wanted to blow my lunch. The defense is worse than the Royals ever dreamed of being. The baserunning, aside from #24, could easily be duplicated by a crew of toddlers (strike that, the toddlers would do better). And it has been, what, a month since anyone got a hit with a runner in scoring position?
Sowers would be on the way to Rookie of the year if only Liriano of Minnesota wasn’t a rookie this year. Grady is every bit the all-star, and Pronk, despite his recent slide, is the most under-rated player in the AL.
The rest of the team could be dropped into Lake Erie and only their loved ones would notice.
I have never seen such a bunch of pathetic, under-achieving bums in my life.
There has been little to say the past few days. This is an exact mirror image of the first week of the season. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. When the bats are alive, the pitching stinks. When the pitchers are on top of their game, the bats go silent. Watching the last out yesterday, I managed to destroy a remote control for the first time (hard to believe, as many as I have thrown over the years).
What has been most agonizing is that every one of these 6 losses could easily have been a win, with the possible exception of Saturday night’s domination by Bonderman and the Tigers.
I’m looking for better things this week. The two worst teams in baseball are coming to The Jake for 7 games. Anything less than 5 wins is abject failure, 6 wins is preferable, and winning all 7 is not an unreasolable expectation. The Royals are bound to go back to being the Royals, even against us. Pittsburgh has struggled from the get-go. This is the week for us to get back on track.
So now we’re 1-3 against the Royals. I still say that if the Royals played a 7-game series with any average women’s slow-pitch softball game, they are no lock to win it. I still think they are going to lose 120 games. It just might be that they only lose 4 or 5 to us. Ugh.
Tonight our worst pitcher, Jason Johnson, goes against Jeremy Affelt. JA was my favorite pitcher when I was rooting for them. He’s actually incredibly average. So, naturally, he looked like Sandy Koufax in our first meeting with him this year. Hopefully everything will return to the natural order of things and we’ll win 11-2……
There’s this cat who has his own MLBlog called The Royals Optimist . He doggedly refuses to succumb to the temptation to join the rest of the world and label the Royals a hopeless joke. When I found his site, I started visiting out of morbid curiosity. Then it became amusement. Now I am going to visit regularly just to heckle him.
My divorce from the Royals is definitely final – the last needed piece of evidence came last weekend, when I watched the Royals and Tampa Bay on MLB Extra Innings. I couldn’t stop laughing at them. Mark Redman is their best pitcher. He got raked. Doug Mientkiewicz was their cleanup hitter. Their bullpen might be as bad as it was in 2000, when they turned in what many are calling the worst season by a bullpen in the history of the sport. About the only bright spot for the franchise is Mark Teahen, who is performing so well that he’s making the Carlos Beltran trade look merely one-sided (instead of being in the Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas class). This is the best chance the 1962 Mets have to get their name off the record books. The Royals are worse than the 2003 Tigers, the Braves and Orioles of 1988 and the 2004 Diamondbacks.
If the Royals played the Aeros in a 7-game series, I believe Akron would win. Seriously.
There is little reason to believe Cliff Lee will give up more than a run or two tonight and we ought to win by at least 4 or 5 runs. I will watch with glee this weekend as the Tribe returns to its week 1 form and the Royals march on toward making people forget their 19-game skid last year by pulling off a longer one.