Since I last wrote a blog, I traveled to New York to see the Indians lose 3 out of 4 in the Bronx, return home to see the Indians lose 2 out of 3 to rival Detroit and then sweep Pittsburgh at home, all while losing a beloved hitting coach yesterday while remaining in first place by 1 game over Detroit. It has been quite an adventure in the last 10 days. Now Colorado awaits.
A Bronx tale
My family arrived in Queens on Thursday. I was excited to be able to finally see Cleveland in NYC. At the time I planned the trip, it was April and the Indians were 18-8. The night of the trip, the Indians were coming off a very disappointing Minnesota series where they lost 2 out of 3 games. The Yankees were next.
Day 1 Friday New York: Indians lose 11-7.
This game was never close. In Spring Training, the Indians’s Manny Acta wanted his pitchers to throw strikes. This was not how Fausto started the game. The walks killed him. This team cannot afford to fall behind especially to the Yankees, especially with a struggling offense but this is exactly what they did.
There were Indians fans there. The ones I met had nothing that said they were Indians fans though. However, they came up to let me know how they felt that night and how proud they were of the team’s progress this year. I had a Yankees fan tell me “At least you are not wearing a Red Sox jersey.”
When I left after the bottom of the 8th inning, the Indians were down 11-3. It was wonderful when we got to the car when we turned on John Sterling that the Indians were still batting and scored their 7th run with a hit by LaPorta off Mariano Rivera. It gave me hope that perhaps the Indians were headed out of their funk.
Day 2 Saturday New York: Indians lose 4-0
The day in New York was filled with a cold constant rain. My family spent the morning going to a tour of Citi Field. Very nice. I met some people from Korea who were Shin-Soo Choo fans and really hope that Choo stay with the Indians. There are very nice people in NY that come out of the shadows to tell you how much they like Cleveland but would never admit it publically. By the end of the tour, the Indians were starting game 2 vs. Bartolo Colon.
The weather reminded me of “Dracula weather” as Acta likes to describe it. However, the Indians did not show up to haunt the Yankees. The emphasis from the Yankees point of view was that the Indians were targeting their hitters on purpose. Without warning Talbot, after hitting A-Rod , was ejected. What, no warning? It was crazy. I was on the subway when it occurred. No matter, because without an offense, we still would lose. Where was the fight? Where was the run support to help Talbot salvage this very good performance?
Day 3 Sunday New York: Indians lose 9-1
This game was over before it began. Garcia was beatable. However, I was starting to see the pressure that the Indians pitchers were putting on themselves. With no run support, they were trying to be too perfect. However against the Yankees, finding yourself down 1-0 every game was a great possibility. The Yankees like to pile on especially when they see that you are not trying to score yourself. I was wondering if the Indians were going to freefall their way down to their 4th place prognostication. At this point, it sure looked that way. Luckily Clevelanders enjoyed seeing the Mavs beat the Heat and Lebron James.
Day 4 Monday New York: Indians win 1-0
I was home. Back to work. I caught bits and pieces and score updates throughout the night for this game. The Indians’ last win happened in the same fashion. Carlos Carrasco pitched a shutout vs. the Twins, days earlier, and now was doing it again vs. the Yankees. It was very nice. Still I did not like the run support. 1 run for us in both of the Indians last two wins. This was crazy. And Detroit was next.
Day 5 Game 1 Tuesday Detroit: Indians lose 4-0
I understand I must be arguably watching the next AL Cy Young Award winner. Still, I have seen us do much better against Verlander than the 2 hits we managed late in the game. The man was piching a no-hitter against us for 7 1/3 innings. After the game I vented my frustration in a constructive way to Manny Acta that basically said that the team needs to support our pitchers more by scoring more runs. I could understand losing but I wanted the team to try harder to compete and possibly win.
Day 6 Game 2 Detroit: Indians win 6-4
My tweets worked. At least this is what my ego said. I was very leased that the Indians were not going to sit back and let a 3-0 deficit be their downfall. They came back to take a 4-3 lead. Although it became 4-4, I realized the team did not let the Tigers retake the lead. This was very important for Fausto and the team to help them regain their confidence. Also it gave the Tigers and Indians a tie for first place, again.
Day 7 Game 3 Detroit: Indians lose 6-2
The Indians started out the way you wish they did every game, with the lead 2-0. Yet to see them give right back up and let the Tigers tie it at two was discouraging. This loss was ugly. Still I was trying to find some hope in it. Instead of being down 3 games, the Indians were down by 1 game and headed for interleague play. I was really optimistic that the Indians with a return home and the Tigers going on the road that first place would be ours rather soon. I would soon be right.
Day 8 Game 1 Cleveland: Indians win 5-1 vs. Pirates
In Interleague play leading to this game, the Indians were 3-0. On Twitter, trends like to get going like #Batmagic. Well I wore my Green Bay Packers hat to bring some #hatmagic to the game. Against Pittsburgh, who won 4 in a row prior to the series. Their city’s love for football, in seeing Packers, I believed, would help the Indians. And it did.
The Indians, in a tight one, leading 2-1 for most of the game, broke it open in the bottom of the 8th, thanks to the return of Pronk hitting what looked like a homerun, even though it was a double as ruled by the umpires, even after a replay. Still 3 runs scored this inning. 2 of the runs scored on the Pronk double. The Indians were back playing well. To make matter even better, they were back in a tie for first.
Day 9 Game 2 Cleveland: Indians win 5-1 vs. Pittsburgh
This night I helped a fellow fan who was coming to town for the game. Since I had to work, I thought it would be nice to help someone out by letting them use the tickets for the game. There was going to be a post game concert with Donnie Iris from Pittsburgh and Michael Stanley from Cleveland after the game. The Indians never lost the lead in the game, leading 2-0, 3-1 and eventually winnng 5-1. Yet I never felt the excitement throughout the contest. I felt bored.
Now I think this would be shocking for the fans to read since Carrasco had a no-hitter through 5 innings. It just seemed like this offense was vanilla and needed a jumpstart, an identity. The next day, it would get one.
Day 10 Game 3 Cleveland: Indians win 5-2 vs. Pirates in 11 innings
Itwas truly a joy, as a baseball fan to take my family to the Indians game. It was Father’s Day and was really special. News came across the Twitter feed that Bruce Fields was the new hitting coach and Jon Nunnally was out. I was okay with this move because of the lack of runs and exciting hits. Also there were guys struggling like Cord Phelps. This change was going to help.
Already, after the news, the swings looked better, the offense looked sharper and my attitude about the team’s progress looked brighter. Cord Phelps and Carlos Santana alone looked like they appeciated this news as they led the team with 2 homeruns, 2 doubles and 4 runs batted in. It seemed to me that this team was ready to do great things. I hope Fields will help make this young team even better. We shall see.