September 13, 2013
This was not a pretty win, but any wins this time of year look very nice in the standings.
Danny Salazar started today, and while his final line looks great (4 H, 0 ER, 9 SO, 2 BB), he only went 3.2 innings, putting the bullpen under an immense about of pressure. And thank goodness that the Indians blew out the White Sox last night, because they had to use almost every of the regular relievers today. That 14-2 game was important not only for the victory, but because it allowed Terry Francona to get through the game by using Corey Kluber and the Columbus callups. So today, when there was little room for error, Bryan Shaw was available for multiple innings, Scrabble was available for Adam Dunn in a tough spot, Matt Albers could come in and face Paul Konerko, etc. Right now the rotation isn't going very far into games, and with the Tribe offense not scoring many runs, the bullpen is crucial to winning games right now.
Speaking of early exits, Ryan Raburn was pulled in the fifth inning after his two-run double. Judging by the way Francona is handling Raburn, it's obvious that Ryan is not even close to 100%. He was the DH today, but that didn't prevent the quick hook. But what he's been able to do at the plate has been very valuable, and his double was the difference in this game.
With Salazar out before the fourth inning was over, Francona needed to squeeze 5+ high-leverage innings out of the bullpen, and I don't think that happens if Bryan Shaw doesn't bridge the gap between the fifth inning and the seventh inning. Shaw has been excellent of late, both because of his effectiveness and his length. Cody Allen, though has neither pitched well nor given the Indians any length, a big reason why the amount of innings that he's logged this season. He hadn't pitched since Monday's game, but the rest apparently didn't help, as he gave up two singles and line shot that just so happened to be hit right at Asdrubal Cabrera to start the seventh. Francona saw enough, and brought in Scrabble to face Adam Dunn, who has struggled of late and is still a very dangerous hitter. Scrabble fell behind Dunn 3-0, and threw three straight pitches past him for a huge out. Then Matt Albers, who has been used in high-leverage situations lately, got Paul Konerko to end a huge threat.
The excitement wasn't done yet, of course. Chris Perez had his usual bumpy ninth inning, beginning with a Jordan Danks drive that the Michael Bourn pulled down at the wall. The catch was difficult to make, as not only did Bourn have to deal with the wall, but an afternoon sun that was right in his face. And it's a good thing Bourn made that catch, for Perez allowed an Alexei Ramirez single and walked Adam Dunn to put the tying runs on base with two outs. And of course Paul Konerko was up. Konerko has over his long career tortured Indians fans many times, and although he's likely playing his last games as a major-leaguer, he still strikes fear into your heart. So when I heard Tom Hamilton yell "A LONG drive, to DEEP center.." I immediately thought that the game was over, and that the Indians had lost in devastating fashion. Well, the game was over all right, but it was a happy ending, as that long drive was caught by Michael Bourn 5-10 feet short of the warning track in center.
And so ended an ugly but needed 3-1 victory.
Now it's time to root for some help. Tonight's games of interest:
- Baltimore (-1.0) at Toronto, 7:07 PM (Hammel vs Redmond)
- Kansas City (-1.0) at Detroit, 7:08 PM (Chen vs Verlander)
- New York (+0.5) at Boston, 7:10 PM (Kuroda vs Lackey)
- Oakland at Texas (+3.5), 8:05 PM (Straily vs Holland)
- Tampa Bay (+1.5) at Minnesota, 8:10 PM (Archer vs Correia)
Roll Call (38 Commenters)
|16||new zealand tribe fan||16|
|17||Mr. Bad Example||14|
|24||Denver Tribe Fan||5|