What’s not to like about Boston? Plenty. Those pesky Red Sox gave us another reason to dislike them tonight, winning in walk-off style with three consecutive singles in the ninth off Vinnie Pestano. It wasted a good albeit short effort from David Huff and two homers from rookies Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall. The Tribe now falls back to three games behind Detroit. Below is my attempt at the in-game blog format. It’s my first, so forgive me for not being the master of format and funny like my colleague Jon. I hope you enjoy it, though.
8:47 Brantley is suffering from Carlos Santana Syndrome: Watching FAR too many called third strikes go by.
Still 8:47 Take it in from a distance, Orlando Cabrera! WE ARE ALL KIPNISES! I thought McDonald may catch that at the kiddie level wall out in right field. This kid is going to be something special. Good thing we didn’t throw him into the Ubaldo deal. After all, prospects are no sure thing……
8:53 Moving on… David Huff is on the mound. He currently has a 0.71 ERA. I still keep Carlos Carrasco in this rotation at this snapshot in time. I’m hoping Huff does something to change my mind tonight.
8:56 Kipnis makes a nice play at second going away from first. He’s looked very solid defensively so far. I’m hoping he avoids any and all Cord Phelps-sized meltdowns.
9:00 Adrian bangs one off the base of the wall and Brantley plays it poorly. Not an easy wall to play, mind you, but he does have some practice from Progressive Field. A good throw would have got the ploddy Gonzo. Asdrubal just misses the tag.
9:01 Huff The Magic Dragon gets Yuck, I mean Youk, to whiff at a high fastball. Overall, a pretty solid first for the southpaw.
9:06 Santana swings at one in the dirt to strikeout. He’s a frustratingly talented player. He reminds me eerily of Jhonny Peralta.
Still 9:06 Fukudome lines a single back up the middle. He’s been okay, mainly because it means Austin Kearns is eating sunflower seeds next to Acta.
9:10 Matt LaPorta rolls one past the second baseman Pedroia and into right. He’s been pretty good this past week.
9:13 Any footrace where Ezequiel Carrera is involved is bound to be thrilling. This one doesn’t break the Tribe’s way, and another two-out threat does not come to fruition.
9:16 David Ortiz looks a little skinnier than in years past. Good for him. Papi wins this go-around as Huff misses high and outside for ball four.
9:21 Yep, that was me jinxing Jason Kipnis. I could delete the above, and you’d be none the wiser. That’s not my style, though. It wasn’t a great throw, but you’ve got to grab that and send it to first for the easy double play. Two on, nobody out.
9:22 Single by Aviles. Bases loaded. Nobody out. Good thing Papi runs like a beer vendor with a full tray. I hope this isn’t a self-destruct scenario like the Phelps error and Carrasco implosion was a few weeks back.
9:25 Strike three to Captain Varitek. But, wait… Santana is a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker behind the plate. Ball skips a mile away, everybody moves up. We’re tied.
9:27 Huff’s breaking ball has a devastating drop on it tonight. He gets McDonald for his second straight K.
9:29 Three wicked breaking balls. Three strikeouts this inning for Huff. Too bad Kipnis’s error pushed one unnecessary and unearned run across for the BoSox. Huff minimizes the damage.
9:35 Double for Drubal… that lady’s knee caps is probably still numb. Boston every MLB team should want nothing to do with him right now.
9:38 Pronk is officially struggling. He wasn’t going to hit .335 over a full season, but he needs to keep that strong plate discipline. It may be slipping a bit right now as Beckett gets him to chase.
9:50 Look what Matt LaPorta found… a lifejacket for Huff. He fell behind every hitter in the inning but it does no harm, except to his pitch count. The TD/Underwood alert says a whopping 71 pitches through three innings.
9:57 Tribe youth! Chisenhall goes yard, to the small part of the yard just inside the Pesky pole. He’s a prospect too. I hope we hold onto him. 2-1 Tribe in the 4th!
10:02 David Huff now has struck out five Red Sox. This time, it’s Crawford. What a terrible year he’s had. I should know, he was on my fantasy team. Another curveball, another one that winds up in the dirt after the hitter commits.
10:06 Six. Another curveball. Another one that needs to be thrown down to first. A 1-2-3 inning for Huff, and with his pitch count in the 80s, he can come back out for at least one more inning.
10:09 Carrera has been in such a hurry to bunt and steal with the big league club that he’s forcing it and not being fundamentally sound.
10:16 Kipnis just got the old rookie screw job there. First, they say he went around on a 50/50 check swing. Then, strike three is a little high, a little outside, but it ends the inning. They’ll respect him soon.
10:20 Durbin’s warming in the pen with one out in the fifth. That’s never a good sign, whatever the score.
10:22 Asdrubal Cabrera bobbles an easy hit groundball. Remember when we thought the Tribe played good team defense? Seems like a lifetime ago.
10:26 David Huff is fading fast. You can tell by Tim Belcher’s moaning at third base ump Mike Estabrook for that check-swing to be a strike. The .357 hitter in Gonzalez gets that call, Kipnis doesn’t.
10:28 Kipnis redeems himself. Adrian hits the double play ball right to the rookie, who calmly throws it to Asdrubal who relays the throw to first. Five innings, 102 pitches, one unearned run, six strikeouts. Well done, David Huff. Cookie Carrasco has his work cut out for him tomorrow.
10:34 It’s the top of the sixth, and David Huff’s evening is done. Meanwhile, I look at Josh Beckett’s pitch count and it’s in the sixties… the only way he doesn’t go the distance in this game is if the Tribe clubs him out of the game.
10:43 Fast sixth for the Indian offense. Hafner one-out singles, but nothing comes of it.
10:44 Rafael Perez now in. Thank God that Huff went five and we avoided playing Durbin Roulette.
10:47 Then again, maybe Durbin wouldn’t have been so bad. Youkilis powerdrives one over top of The Green Monster. Tied. No win for David Huff. I won’t feel too bad for him, though, because he somehow won 11 games in 2009 with a 5.61 ERA and 1.56 WHIP.
10:53 Joe Smith in. Two pitches later, Joe Smith ends the inning. Good work.
10:56 Beckett gets pulled after six and 85 pitches….. huh? Perhaps warming up around 7:30 when the game was supposed to start messed with his stamina. Morales in for the BoSox, and the Tribe is thanking their lucky stars. It was a low stress 85 too for Beckett.
11:00 Matt LaPorta swings at a 3-0 pitch and pops up to short. Ouch.
11:02 Not even The Green Monster can rob Ezequiel Carrera of an extra base hit. Another two-out hit for the Tribe with nobody on.
11:03 Brantley swings at the first pitch and grounds out. He’s struggling too.
11:08 Joe Smith works so fast and effective through the Boston seventh that words fail me. Let’s just say he’s awesome.
11:16 Tribe offense puts up a big nothing in the 8th inning.
11:19 Smith back out to face Pedroia in the 8th. I like this move. Too often, I don’t think Acta rides the hot hand in the bullpen.
11:20 Right on cue, Pedroia singles past LaPorta who was playing second base for some reason….Sipp time.
11:24 Sipp’s head jerks back like he thought Gonzalez got more of that than he truly did.
11:28 Carlos Santana realizes Pedroia stole the base off Sipp and holds onto it instead of throwing it into centerfield. Baby steps.
11:30 Boston fans are the worst. They sit there and boo when the pitcher steps off or throws over. Shouldn’t they be used to painfully long games? It’s their team’s specialty! The Tribe has been part of some remarkably short games this season.
11:32 Youkilis goes around (again 50/50 call) and he’s ejected after strike three and some barking with the first place umpire. Good riddance.
11:33 IBB to Papi… not even a question. Crawford will probably burn them, though. Either way, it’s the right call.
11:36 Nope. Going to the ninth tied after Kipnis settles under a Crawford fly ball to shallow right. Time is now to push a run across for the Indians.
11:40 Papelbon now in. Compared to Papelbon, Beckett is a guy I’d like to be roommates with.
11:45 Pap retires the Tribe in order in the ninth. We now enter the walkoff danger zone. I officially don’t have a good feeling about this. Maybe we’ll bring Chris Perez into a tie game…?
11:47 My main man, Vinnie “No Fear” (trademark by me, not really) Pestano is now in the ballgame. He was dynamite last night. He could really use another quality outing to build on (i.e. NOT involving the Red Sox walking off on him).
11:50 Old Man River, aka Jason Varitek, rifles one past Pestano up the middle. Red Sox have their winning run on base now.
11:51 Bloop single on a broken bat and Kipnis with his back away from the plate, sprinting, couldn’t get to it. Runners on second and first, one out. Uh oh, top of the order.
11:53 Ellsbury lines it to center. Carrera fields it on a hop and fires it home, but Saltalamacchia beats Santana to the plate as the throw is slightly up the line, and the Red Sox walk off on my guy Vinnie, winning 3-2. He and the entire Bullpen Mafia have fallen back to earth. All those innings and appearances are catching up to them. One more thing, if Ezequiel is our best defensive outfielder, I weep for the future.
(Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)