Don’t be fooled by the big smile…he’s the Dusty Baker of the AL.
While watching last night’s game something came over me. It was a feeling I hadn’t had while watching a game in some time. I checked to be sure it wasn’t excitement, you know offense can do that to you, and since we hadn’t seen that consistently…
No, it was empathy. For an opposing pitcher. The Rangers have been taxing their bullpen like Roman Governors lately, but I don’t understand why Ron Washington would do what he did to his guys last night. First you have Sidney Ponson, who Washington decided could start on only 3 days rest for the first time in his big league career. Ponson started Saturday’s game going 7 innings and threw 101 pitches. So Sidney is moved up a day while Kevin Millwood attends to a personal matter. Then, after Ponson was more or less victimized by terrible defense and some decent hitting by the Indians, Washington summoned Elizardo Ramirez to the mound.
Ramirez was in Triple A Oklahoma on Tuesday. He and fellow reliever Kameron Loe joined the Rangers last night. Ramirez has been in the big leagues before, getting his first cup of coffee with the Phillies in ’04, before seeing significant time with the Reds from ’05-’07. This was his first trip up with the Rangers. He entered the game in the top of the 5th and went right through the bottom third of the Indians line-up for three quick outs. The outs would not come so easily after the 5th.
With the game tied going into the 6th, and most of Cleveland watching Cliff Lee pace the dugout like some caged cat, Ramirez was coming apart at the seams. Single by Carroll. Sizemore flies out, and then Francisco gets his third hit of the night. Ramirez uncorks a wild pitch. He walks Martinez, which I might have done intentionally there with first base open. Garko singles in 2 runs with a shot up the middle. Peralta flies out for the second out. Then Dellucci uncorks his three run shot, making it 11-6 Indians. I thought Washington might go get the kid there. A 5 run lead is significant, but in this series it is certainly not impossible to overcome. Ramirez clearly didn’t have it, and if he wanted a chance to win the game he needed to pull Ramirez. Didn’t happen. Blake singles to center. Then Ramirez gets Choo to end the inning. Good for the Indians. They got Lee back in line for a win. Well done, I thought.
Then Ramirez came back out for the 7th. My jaw dropped about 9 inches there. He got Carroll on a fly ball, then walked Sizemore. Francisco singles, setting up Victor with men on first and second. Surely Washington is coming to get the kid now…nope. Martinez doubles, scoring Grady. No sign of Washington. Garko singles scoring 2…no sign of Washington. At this point the home crowd is yelling for Washington to make a move. But to no avail. Ramirez looks fried. He’s been getting beat down like Boggs in Shawshank Redemption, but no help is coming. After getting Peralta out, he hits Dellucci. Finally, Washington emerges from the dugout. After 70 pitches(!) 2.2 innings, 8 hits, 2 walks, a hit batter, and 9 earned runs Ramirez is allowed to hit the showers. Unbelievable.