I have spent the last two days going to see the Lake County Captains, the level A ballclub between Mahoning Valley and Kinston for the Cleveland Indians organization. I see some potential at this level. Still, one never knows what it might bring. I have seen current major league players play here such as Kevin Kouzmanoff, from the San Diego Padres, Ben Francisco and Fausto Carmona play here. Who knows if any of these current players have the potential to become major leaguers?
The people I would think may make a splash someday are Karexon Sanchez, 2B who bats .277 and leads the team with 7 homeruns. On the pitching side I liked what I saw from T.J. House who ended up with a no-decision Sunday. He just seems to have that composure that will benefit the Indians possibly someday He also attacks the strike zone which is what this organization needs. His final numbers Sunday were giving up no runs and 2 hits with 6 strikeouts in 7 innings of work.Too bad he couldn’t get the win after leading the game with the lead.
Saturday’s game at Classic Park had the largest crowd so far for the 2009 season. Sunday I would argue had a more boisterous crowd, although it was much smaller. They seemed a lot more responsive to cheering and clapping hands and spontaneous cheers. It was awesome to be a part of both games.
Tonight I will return to Progressive Field to see David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays face off against Fausto Carmona tonight at 6:05 p.m. I just expect a lot of carryover from last weekend’s series at Tropicana Field. We shall see. I expected we would be on a winning streak at least. Unfortunately, what looked once like an outstanding homestand may be a disaster if we cannot put together some wins here. I hate being the worst when I know the talent here is better than that. However, it is what it is.
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY TO ALL FANS, EVERYWHERE! To be able to play or watch baseball today in freedom is the best blessing any fan could ever ask for, yet so often this fan writing takes it for granted. THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHOSE SACRIFICES HAVE PRESERVED FREEDOM FOR OTHERS AROUND THE GLOBE. GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Just like players, I too am a fan full of superstitions. Wade Boggs of the Red Sox, Yankees and Devil Rays ate chicken before every game. I am wondering, am I blogging too much?…not enough? There is more than the question of blogs. Let me explain…
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A FAN OF THE INDIANS! I have seen every type of moment that the Tribe has presented since 1977. I saw a perfect game on television on May 15, 1981 with Len Barker. I loved Joe Charboneau’s 1980 rookie of the year season. I saw when Joe Carter led the team to win 10 in a row and finish in fourth place only to be picked by Sports Illustrated to be special and fall flat. The revival of the 90’s and when I thought our 1997 team was better than 1995. It was interesting that I never had time to follow the 2005 team but went to Game 4 of the 2007 ALCS against Wakefield. With all these memories, I have seen a common idenity that I saw at the end of last year…effort and fight for respect. I take the Indians personally.
I prayed that the Browns would lose….wore Denver shirts to school….I saw the shot that Jordan had against the Cavs and when Mark Price left, so did my heart for the team. However, with the Indians, I have remained faithful. This year, I have not watched or listened to one Cavalier game. Good thing, they keep winning. Yet its interesting. I never think to let go of my dream for the Tribe. I often joke saying that the Indians will finally win when my career gets reestablished and I am relocated to a place out of Ohio and sent to a place yet to be determined.
Tonight was another one of those games that I said we had and let go. We had the Red Sox on the ropes in 2007 up 3-1 and let them go to knock us out. Tonight we had Papelbon on the ropes with runners on and could not tie it up and let them go. Where is the fight? What is the plan? I wonder if I just care too much and need to let go and expect my team to lose 120 games then it won’t be so bad.
I want to say this player or that player has to go, this coach or that coach has to go. Yet what good does my blog do to change this? I see talent and plans going to waste, yet no one is talking enough. I wonder when this team will catch on. Perhaps I need to make this a general blog about all things baseball. Yet this would be hypocrisy. I love my Tribe They are my team. At 7-13, this looks bad. I just wonder how this, if this is ever going to turn around.
A microcosm of what I saw. Grady was at third, two out. Skinner, the third base coach is telling him something, yet he acts as though he is brushing him off. Also I saw a tremendous try at a ball by Grady in the top of the ninth. Ben Francisco does not back him up. He gets the ball and keeps Lowell at first.Eventually the Sox don’t score again and only score the three. Fans beside me think they may be the curse and may not come back. We have individual leaders yet the team is divided. End of story. As my faith tells me, a house divided cannot stand. This house has cracked and I’m wondering how to fix it as a fan.
Friday night, the Indians went out to make the best out of this 2008 season. They had just had Boston celebrating days earlier their opportunity to repeat as Major League Baseball’s World Champions. Going into the Chicago series, I felt confident that we could finish strong, perhaps even over .500. This was pretty impressive seeing that we were at one time the cellar dwellars of the division and the possibility of 100 losses was very real to me.
Friday night, the scoring started off with a bang as “San Ben” Francisco hit a high drive that entered into the first row of the bleachers. The score was 1-0. The scoring continued with a key hit by Josh Barfield scoring Franklin Gutierrez. That made the score 2-0. Homeruns and errors in the bottom of the second inning brought the Pale Hose back however and made the score 4-2 in favor of the White Sox.
The theme of the homerun picked up again for the Tribe as Ryan “I just scored a lot of runs by switching to Garko” hit a solo shot and cut the deficit to 1 making the score 4-3.
Then came the fifth.
The hit parade showed up with singles by Sizemore, Cabrera and “Choooo” with a walk in between to “San Ben” The score was now 5-4. The scoring didn’t stop there for the Tribe as after a base on balls to Jhonny Peralta, Ryan “I just scored a lot of runs by switching to Garko” did just that by hitting a grand slam to center field. It was now 9-4 and things were ooking very well for the Tribe.
One unwritten rule that I learned as a fan was when having the lead, never let the other team score right away after taking the lead in fear of giving the lead right back to the other team. When you have one down, don’t let them back up to pounce on you.
Yet these were the White Sox whose play had given them an opportunity to win the AL Central. Surely, they were not going to give up that easily. Jermaine Dye went deep and hit a two run shot making the softball score Cleveland’s East 9th Street Pub 9 and Chicago’s South Side Tavern 6. It didn’t stop there.
Walks and wild pitches increased Cleveland’s lead to 10-6 after 6 innings. More singles and wild pitches made the score 11-6. If this was what the Pale Hose has to offer for the playoffs in October and I was a Sox fan, then I would buy a broom and be a front-runner for Tampa.
Still, Chicago pride would not let the score stay that way as the White Sox as key hits would help score single runs in the 7th and 8th innings for the Sox making the score 11-8. Finally we brought in our stopper and put an end to the comeback. The final score was 11-8.
So Twins win the division, right? No, not yet! They lost too to the Royals 8-1. Ouch!
What would happen Saturday? Deja vu!
The Twins played before the Pale Hose and lost 4-2 to the Royals. Inside, I wanted the Indians to win. However, I thought the Sox would find a way. I’m glad I was wrong. The Indians picked up where they left off the night before. “CHOOOO” like “San Ben” the night before led off with a homer making the score 1-0. The chess match was matched by the Sox with a homer of their own by Dye making the score 1-1.
Then came the fifth, again.
Like the night before, the Indians had scored six runs. They did it with a series of hits that made me think we would have won at least two more against Boston had we had the key hits that we did this inning. The Indians were in the driver’s seat, 7-1. What made this even nicer was the fact that we didn’t allow them to make a quick comeback in the bottom of the 5th. It was 7-1 and was looking good!
Paul Konerko added a homer in the bottom of the 7th. However, it was a solo shot and really didn’t threaten the Tribe’s efforts for a win making the score 7-2.
The Tribe continued to score when Ryan Garko continued to live up to the nickname I gave him by padding the Indians’ lead with an RBI making the score 8-2
Then the bullpen almost imploded. Mark Shapiro has always said the bullpen needs to be rebuilt. An inning like the bottom of the 8th shows why. With two out and tone on and one run already scored, R. Perez one of the most consistent pitchers gave up a single driving in another run. Bringing in the closer, he too gave up a homer to Paul Konerko om the first pitch scoring himself and J. Thome. It was now 8-6 and looking rather uncomfortable after 8 innings.
The ninth was a special inning for the Tribe as a series of hits from the hit parade added the 4 runs right back to the Indians making the score 12-6. What made it extra special was the Tribe did not give up any more runs. The final 12-6 made the Sox lose again!
Now I really thought it was really going to be tough to sweep. What are the chances of the two teams that are tring to win the AL Central would both be swept? Not likely! However, if the Twins lost, I surely did not want to have to sit through the possibility of causing the Sox to be closer to winning the AL Central.
The Twins won 6-0 and finally helped themselves. So the Twins were 1 game in the lead. Chicago, however also answered the call and won handily 5-1. However, the game started out like the previous two games with a homer from Peralta making the score 1-0. Chigago, this day would not be denied, espicially since Lee was not going to start. Had he started, I believe the Twins, right now would be going to Tampa as AL Central Champs. Chicago scored 3 runs on a homer by Konerko and a series of hits to make the score 3-1. Unlike the previous two days, we never struck back. To make matters worse, the Tribe gave up two more runs on a series of hits making the score 5-1.
Interestingly enough, it was today’s starter that gave up a ton of runs way back on Opening Day. Now when the White Sox needed a win, they got it through Buerhle. Ironically, our starter that day won also today 3-1 leading the Brewers also to a playoff berth in one CC Sabathia.
So, will you all become Tiger fans for one day and cheer against the Pale Hose or want the Twins and Sox to battle it out in a one-game playoff? Either way, the prayers said to God tonight will have to bring out the effort tomorrow and beyond for the Sox and Twins.
God, may the best team truly win the AL Central Division for 2008.
It was truly nice to see the Indians battle their way back to 81-81. It could have been much worse but expected to be much better.