I apologize for the light blogging recently; there's been a lot of things going on in my life right now. And you should be seeing more regular posts from now on.
The Indians looked dead and buried after the top of the third inning, as they gave the White Sox two runs after Victor Martinez turned a routine throw to first into a two-base error. The next hitter, Pablo Ozuna, slapped a double down the first-base line, and Chicago had a three-run lead. Most fans, including myself, were saying "here we go again!"
But in baseball, sometimes the events you least expect are the ones that happen. The Indians took advantage of a gift triple by Aaron Boone to start the inning to get on the board, and three straight extra-base hits by the 3-4-5 hitters later, they took the lead. And you know what? They held the lead. CC Sabathia held down a pretty good White Sox lineup for another three innings, Fernando Cabrera and Rafael Betancourt pitched ho-hum (in a good way) innings, and Bob Wickman saved the game after allowing an obligatory baserunner.
The story of the game for me was the two setup men. Both Cabrera and Betancourt spent much of the first month of the season on the DL, so it was nice to see them effective and healthy. There still should be some tinkering in the bullpen (Mota doesn't look healthy to me, and Sauerbeck has been very ineffective), but I think we're starting to see at least a beginning of a solid relief corps.
Another encouraging sign was Jhonny Peralta hitting a home run to the opposite field. It may be a coincidence that the weather finally warmed up a day ago, but that he's hitting the ball the other way with authority is a promising sign. Pitchers have adjusted to Peralta, and have been feeding him a lot of off-speed pitches and inside fastballs. That's part of how today's game works, especially with the recent advances in video technology. So Jhonny is going to have to prove he can hit those sliders and curves the other way in order to get a hittable fastball.
More after the game.
Season 106, Game 52
Chicago (33-18) at Cleveland (25-26), 7:05 PM (STO)
Chicago: Freddy Garcia (7-2, 4.31 ERA)
Cleveland: Jake Westbrook (4-3, 5.58 ERA)
Lou Merloni is starting tonight. Again.