Last night just wasn’t the Indians night. They came close, battling back to get it to within 1 run, but in the end the Tribe was unable to pull it out. I expected as much though. As I said leading into the game, Manny Acta gave the majority of the regular lineup the night off and Jeanmar Gomez was making his first start of the season so I wasn’t expecting much. What we all ended up getting wasn’t so bad.
Jeanmar Gomez didn’t pitch very well and in the process ended the Tribe’s streak of quality starts and only giving up 4 runs. Actually, given the types of pitching performances we’ve seen thus far, this was damn near unbearable to watch. He only managed to pitch 4.1 innings giving up 5 runs on 9 hits. Ouch. On the other hand, the Indians bullpen was outstanding yet again. Chad “Pass the Antacid” Durbin and Justin Germano combined to pitch 3.2 innings of no hit baseball. Their performance is what kept the Tribe in the game and gave them a chance to make a comeback. But what else is new? These types of performances out of our bullpen are becoming common place in 2011.
Meanwhile, Royals starter Bruce Chen pitched lights out against the watered down Indians lineup. How I’m not sure, because when I think of Bruce Chen I don’t think of dominance. He pitched 7 solid innings and only gave up 2 runs. The Indians never really got anything going with the exception of a 2 run rally in the 7th which was the result of a telephone malfunction.
In the 7th, the Royals were unable to call out to the bullpen and the exhausted Chen was forced to pitch to Lou Marson with 2 runners on. Marson doubled, cutting the deficit to 3. Chen was then able to get out of the inning and hand it over to the bullpen thanks to a set of police walkie talkies. How that was legal, I’m not exactly sure.
In the 8th inning, Carlos Santana singled home Shin-Soo Choo to make the score 5-3 heading into the 9th inning. That’s when things got really interesting.
Austin Kearns led off the 9th inning by getting to first on a throwing error by Royals third baseman Wilson Betemit. Lou Marson, who’s hit surprisingly well the season after last years debacle, struck out. Then in a surprising move, Manny Acta brought Grady Sizemore off the bench to pinch hit for Adam Everett. So much for that scheduled day off. Sizemore hit a shot to left field, only to have Alex Gordon make a spectacular diving catch to save the day. If that ball drops, or gets by him, we are talking about a much different outcome. Michael Brantley followed by singling to center, Asdrubal was hit by a pitch, and Shin-Soo Choo walked to force in a run.
Somewhere in Cleveland I’m sure John Adams was sitting on a couch, beating away on his drum as Carlos Santana came to the plate. This was the type of moment the young catcher was brought up from Triple A for. If this was July and Santana was on a tear, then maybe what happened would have been different. Instead, Santana struck out on three called strikes. Those types of things happen when things aren’t going well. Santana might as well be trying to hit a golf ball with a broom stick at the moment. He’ll figure things out, but right now it’s hard to watch the kid struggle.
Anyways, I’m willing to overlook this loss in the grand scheme of things. Given the circumstances surrounding the game and the lineup being used I wasn’t really expecting a win. If anything, it’s encouraging to see the Indians fight back to make this game close after being down by 5 runs. They could just as easily rolled over and died. This team has fight. I like what I see, even in a loss. It goes back to the same thing I said after opening day. It doesn’t matter what the score is, this team isn’t going down without a fight.