They did it… They actually did it.
The Indians beat the Red Sox today to complete the three game sweep. It’s the first time the Indians have swept the Red Sox in almost ten years. In the process the Indians improved their record to 4-2 to start the season and take a 4 game winning streak with them to Seattle. The Red Sox meanwhile are in a free fall. They find themselves staring at an 0-6 record straight out the gate and go home to take on the rival Yankees. Have fun with that Boston.
A fun fact about Boston’s skid here to start the season: The last time the Red Sox started 0-6 was 1945. That team struggled because it’s roster had been ravaged by the war effort of WWII. There’s no world war right now and the Red Sox are rocking a 100+ million dollar payroll. Let’s all sit back and have a good laugh at their expense.
Ok, moving on to the game…
The Indians got an outstanding pitching performance by Fausto Carmona. He was absolutely brilliant pitching 7 innings of scoreless, three hit baseball. He got ahead of hitters and his sinker ball was heavy as hell. The was evident by the fact that Boston repeatedly slammed sinker after sinker into the ground. Any time the Red Sox did threaten, Fausto was able to recover and wiggle his way out of it. Absolutely amazing. Chad Durbin and Rafael Perez came on to pitch the 8th inning, .1 and .2 of an inning respectively. Chris Perez closed everything out in the ninth to earn his second save of the season.
Not to be forgotten in all of this was the effort put forward by Red Sox starter Jon Lester. He was equally outstanding also pitching 7 innings of three hit baseball. He might have even been more dominating than Fausto, striking out 9 total. The Indians only had one real opportunity to score and when push came to shove, Lester got the outs he needed. This was exactly the kind of pitching performance the Red Sox have been missing early on and should be a silver lining to Boston fans. Unfortunately, they’re probably overlooking Lester’s performance and focusing more on the 0-6 record and the inability of anyone to get a key hit. Can’t say I blame them, but this is a marathon, not a sprint. They tend to forget that fact.
The play of the game happened in the bottom of the 8th inning. Adam Everett led off the inning against Daniel Bard and drew a walk. He then stole second base and was moved over to third thanks to a wonderful sacrifice bunt by Orlando Cabrera. With the game in the balance, Manny Acta when balls to the wall and called for a squeeze. In this instance… the juice was worth the squeeze. On a 2-1 count, Everett took off for home. Asdrubal Cabrera put down a beautiful bunt down the third base line. The Red Sox had no idea what hit them. Everett scored and the game was in hand. Chris Perez closed it out and the 26 fans in attendance went insane.
No doubt the suicide was a gutsy call by Acta, especially considering how little control Daniel Bard had shown so far in the inning. Fortunately, Bard threw a fastball belt high outside to the left-handed cabrera. There couldn’t have been an easier pitch to bunt in that situation. If things had gone wrong and Everett didn’t score they could still be playing. But this is something that was missing during the Wedge era. He never called for bunts or small ball. Acta is more open to it. Perhaps it has to do with all the time he’s spent in the National League as a player and manager. Regardless, I loved the call and I hope to see more of it moving forward.
So what’s next? For starters, Cleveland fans are ready to start flipping and torching cars. I know, because I feel the same way. When was the last time any of our teams had a four game winning streak? Exactly. This was the hot start the Indians needed to have. Right now they’re winning and doing it in a lot of different ways. If people aren’t able to get behind them, well then that’s their own fault. You all wanted a winner and here you have it. For the time being this team is winning. So who’s in? I know I am…