While the Indians 10-6 loss was really not news to anyone, the real story was David Dellucci getting a start in left field for the Blue Jays…. OK, I’m kidding. DD did get the start, going 0-2 with a walk and a runs scored, moving his season average to a hefty .185, but hey, DD is got the last laugh as his team won.
Now to the important stuff.
King Carl Pavano got his first start after a 10 day layoff and hoped to continue his string of good starts. While his stamina was there, unfortunately his stuff wasn’t. “It’s just one of those games where I struggled to get the ball down,” Pavano said. “I left a lot of balls up. I don’t think I got a ground-ball until the fourth inning. The balls that I did leave up, they hammered and made me pay.”
Pavano gave up four solo homers; Vernon Wells hit his in the second, Aaron Hill in the fourth, and two in the fifth from Alex Rios and Marco Scutaro. He had his chances to get through the fifth, but just couldn’t get the third out. Rios’s solo shot led off the fourth, but Pavano got the next two batter she faced. At 4-1, the damage seemed to be minimized. Then Scutaro, “the new Mike Sweeney” as Scott calls him, hit the first of his two homers and the flood gates opened.
Hill walked and Adam Lind doubled him home. Scott Rolen singled home Lind and Lyle Overbay doubled in Rolen. Just like that, it was 7-1 and Pavano’s night was over. “The fifth inning hurt us,” said Pavano. “I get two outs and I couldn’t buy another out. I needed to get out of that inning and get us back in the dugout.”
It was still early for the Tribe bats, and they actually tried to make it a game. After rookie left-hander Ricky Romero stymied them over the first five innings, he seemed to tire in the sixth. With one out, Ryan Garko singled and Ben Francisco walked. Up stepped Luis Valbuena. The line-drive hitting rookie second baseman laced a three-run homer to right-center field, putting his team right back in it at 7-4 and chasing Romero.
SIDE NOTE: I have to say despite his .220 batting average, I really like what I see from “Sweet Luis.” The ball jumps off his bat and he seems to find gaps. His defense his above average as well. I think the future looks real good with Asdrubal Cabrera and Valbuena up the middle.
SIDE NOTE II: Isn’t it interesting how when AC went down, Eric Wedge had no problem playing Valbuena every single day at short and now he is out there at least four times a week at second base, yet when Matt LaPorta was brought up in May and Ben Francisco and Dellucci (two guys who aren’t in the future plans of this team) were his options in left field, LaPorta rotted on the bench?
So now, at 7-4, it was up to that stellar Indians bullpen to keep the deficit at three so the offense could attempt to chip away. First up was the great Jose Veras. The Yankee castoff came to town with a reputation for having a live arm and control problems. Honestly, you could put Greg Aquino in Veras’ jersey and nobody would no the difference. They are the same guy – neither guy can stop walking opposing hitters. In his 1.1 innings of work, Veras walked two, allowed one hit, and three runs. That one hit was a big one too – Scutaro’s three-run blast to left which broke the game open in the sixth.
Here is my take on Veras. If the Yankees, starving for bullpen help, cut him in the middle of the season, how good can he really be? Don’t tell me he couldn’t handle the pressure of New York; he just isn’t any good.
Chris Perez and Mike “John” Gosling pitched the final two innings without allowing a run. Quite a feat for the Tribe bullpen these days. The Indians got two back in the top of the seventh on a Jhonny Peralta RBI double and a Francisco RBI single.
There was a lot more going on yesterday afternoon on the trade front, which will will discuss later today. In the meantime, the Tribe and Jays play the rubber game of their series this afternoon at 12:37. David Huff takes the hill for the Tribe against another rookie lefty, Marc Rzepczynski.