The Indians managed to take a series from a division rivial today, elevating their record to 13-22. Today's game was notable for it's normalcy; two exceptional pitchers battled for seven innings with Cliff Lee outdueling Mark Buehrle. CP Lee was as good as he's been at any time in his career, striking out nine and walking only one by commanding his fastball masterfully. Lee was so meticulous with his fastball that he infuriated both Ozzie Guillen and Jermaine Dye, both of whom were ejected for arguing that Cliff's ability to spot so effectively (83 strikes out 113 pitches) could only be witchcraft. Homeplate Umpire Mike DiMuro would hear nothing of it and Dye and Guillen enjoyed an early shower. Despite these shenanigans, it was 4-0 Indians after seven innings, a lead built with homeruns from Victor Martinez and Ryan Garko and an RBI single by Grady Sizemore.
What happened next is startling in it's routineness: Rafael Betancourt and Kerry Wood each went a scoreless, uneventful frame. This is not an occurence that Indians' fans are used to; hopefully it's a harbinger of things to come. Betancourt and Wood were both ruthlessly efficient, combining to finish the 8th and 9th innings with just 22 pitches.
And, just like that, it was over-an average seeming, 4-0 win. A normal looking score with runs distributed in a normal looking way with the best players from the Indians, Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez, serving as the primary contributors. It was a reminder that, at times, baseball is simple and easy. The success of a team is not predicated solely on flashpoints like David Dellucci's playing time, Vinnie Chulk's free agent status, or a AA pitcher's K/9 numbers out of relief. Sometimes, all you need is 9 good innings of pitching and some decent at bats by talented hitters.
Enjoy it, it's been a rough couple of weeks. Next Up: The Indians go to Tampa. Fausto Carmona vs. James Shields, 7:05 pm.