My brother and his 10 year old son (visiting from out of town) along with my four year old son and I decided to head down to the game last night and bought $8 upper deck seats as walk-up patrons. As we walked through the concourse, two staff memebers stopped my brother and asked him if he had bought seats walking in. He told them yes. Then they asked him if he would like to be upgraded. Of course, he obliged. Then they dropped the news on us, we were being ushered into one of the dugout suites.
Right there on the spot, they handed us four tickets in the suite right behind home plate. The kids went crazy. Mad props go out to Maggie Rodriguez and Dave Taylor of the Indians for hooking us up and making the day of two young Tribe fans (as well as their dads, who bleed Wahoo Red, White, and Blue).
The four of us were treated to an absolutely masterful pitching performance for Carlos Carrasco. The 24-year old right-hander entered the game with an iffy resume of late and seemed to be in dire need of a big start from a confidence standpoint. His team needed it even more than he did. They came into last night losers of five straight with the red-hot Detroit Tigers breathing down their necks.
All Carrasco did was deliver the game of his life.
For eight and a third, Carlos was close to unhittable. He had everything working and was painting the corners with his 95 mph fastballs. Yes, it helps when you are facing a weak lineup like the Twins have, but nevertheless Carrasco came strong when his team needed it the most.
“We kind of ran into a buzzsaw pitcher tonight,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Carrasco was very good.”
The Twins never really made any sort of threat against him. Carlos allowed just two hits, striking out six, and walking just one. At 97 pitches and a 1-0 lead, Manny Acta sent him back out for the ninth to go for the complete game shutout.
After getting the first out, Ben Revere singled, which brought Acta out of the dugout to call for closer Chris Perez. Luckily for everyone, Pure Rage came in and finished the job, K’ing Michael Cuddyer looking for the final out.
“Shame on me if I let that kid lose the ballgame,” said Acta. “Chris came in and shut the door for the kid.”
This was a badly needed win for the struggling Indians, says Perez.
“This game was bigger than Carrasco,” said Perez. “Yes, he pitched a good game, but this was a big game for our team. We’d lost five in a row. We haven’t been playing good ball and our offense hasn’t been hitting on every cylinder.”
That is an understatement. Though they won the game, the only run was driven in by Shelley Duncan’s RBI groundout. Carlos Santana was on third thanks to a double which was booted by Delmon Young in left, allowing him to get to move up an extra base. They only had four hits on the night, none of which came with runners in scoring position.
While Santana had the double, he also grounded into a double play with runners at the corners and one out in the first.
Lets stick with the positives. Carrasco was fantastic. “Everything was perfect tonight,” he said. “The key was I didn’t throw too many pitches … I need to pitch like this in my next game.”
In the meantime, my son and nephew enjoyed every second of their experience. They were both given game-used baseballs, were wowed by how close they were to the players, got to hang with Slider, and saw a Tribe win.
Its the little things like this nice gesture from the Indians customer relations staff that makes for a night my son will never forget. Neither will I.
The Indians will now attempt to take the series this afternoon at 12:05 before they head out for a seven-game road trip to New York and Detroit. Justin Masterson (5-4, 3.28 ERA) looks for his first win since April 26th on what expects to be a hot day in downtown Cleveland. He will face old friend Carl Pavano (3-5, 4.83 ERA)
We will have more on this at 11, but today’s game will feature the debut of infield prospect Cord Phelps, who was called up this morning from AAA Columbus.