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Game 69: Cubs 8, Indians 7 (10 Innings)

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When a season is going down the toilet, every loss seems somehow bizarre. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not but today seemed pretty surreal. When the game entered a rain delay in the 8th inning, the Indians were leading 7-2 and Cliff Lee had just left after pitching a good game: his final line was 7.0 IP and 3 ER. The bullpen waited around for the rain to end and then entered and promptly exploded. Joe Smith allowed four runs to cross the plate (one inherited) but, entering the ninth the Indians still led 7-6 with Kerry Wood entering the game. Before the season there was a lot of ink (much of it my own) devoted to building an instant mythology for Kerry Wood and, frankly, it all looks wasted right now. Wood blew his third save of the season when he surrendered a game tying solo shot to Derek Lee.

From there, it seemed almost routine when the Indians lost in the tenth with Luis Vizcaino on the mound. The fact that Wood wasn't used in a couple of close and late situations over the last two games has raised some ruckus among fans and I suspect that the fact that Wood was only good for one inning today, despite having not pitched in five days, will cause the same kind of clamor. However, I'm not sure it should; maybe Wedge just isn't confident in Wood. Why should he be? His numbers are hardly any better than Greg Aquino's and Aquino just got cut.

As has been typical lately, the bullpen's seppuku act covered up some great offense. The Indians' touched up Rich Harden for 7 runs in five innings, including a 2-5 day for Jhonny Peralta (including an improable triple) and homeruns out of Martinez and Valbuena. In his last 53 plate appearances, Luis is showing serious signs of life with 4 doubles and 7 walks. He still has a lot of work to do but early returns are encouraging.

It's funny, five or so weeks ago it was obvious the season was over because of the bullpen; then, suddenly, that seemed not obvious. Now, that seems obvious again.