Just when I think I’m out, they go and pull me right back in!
Thanks to a suicide squeeze executed to perfection by the much maligned Aaron Cunningham, the Indians were able to top the Tigers 3-2 and pull back to within 3 games of first place in the division. While there’s still a considerable amount of space between themselves and the Tigers and White Sox, it’s all about baby steps. The Indians aren’t going to get back into first place in one fell swoop, but last night’s win was a start.
(It’s ironic that Aaron Cunningham came through with his biggest moment of the year for the Indians on the same day they acquired Brent Lillibridge from the Red Sox. Lillibridge can play multiple positions and many believe he was acquired to ultimately replace Cunningham as the Tribe’s 5th outfielder/pinch runner/9th inning defensive replacement. It’s funny how baseball works sometimes. I’m almost surprised Cunningham didn’t hit a game winning home run, given the circumstances.)
Not only was the suicide squeeze a huge call by Manny Acta, but the fact that the Indians were even in that position in the first place speaks volumes for Ubaldo Jimenez. He was great last night weaving his way in and out of trouble and holding the Tigers scoreless over 6 innings. Unfortunately, thanks to a two run homer by Miguel Cabrera off of Joe Smith, Ubaldo didn’t get the win. Despite that, his performance was exactly what the Tribe needed in order to set the tone for the series. They aren’t going to roll over and die for the Tigers.
Crazy fact about the Indians and Tigers… despite their issues late last season, the Indians have now won 6 out of 7 games against Detroit this year. If they can keep up this run of success, then there’s no reason to think the Indians can’t remain in the thick of things well into September. Of course, they’ve been equally as bad against the White Sox, that’s the bigger issue moving forward.
Now with that in mind, it’s time to put last night’s game behind us and focus on what’s in front of us. The Indians have two more games against the Tigers and can put themselves in prime position to make a run if they can find a way to win the next two. Many left them for dead, myself included. They couldn’t hit, couldn’t pitch, and couldn’t do anything. Sweep the Tigers and faith is magically restored for another two weeks. If they can manage to make an impact move beyond acquiring a new utility player, then we might really have something to get excited about.