Next year’s Indians schedule was released last night. I checked, and yes, unfortunately, the Rangers are on it. If the Tribe never played the Rangers again, I would be OK with it. They should be renamed the Texas Dolans, because they own the Tribe.
Last night was another in a long line Ranger beat downs of our Wahoo Warriors, who are looking like they are ready for this season to be over. I can’t decide if these last two losses are disconcerting or just another case of being worked over by a superior team who has the Indians number and needs to win every game they can on their way to a potential division title.
David Huff, who is going to be heavily counted on next year to pick up the slack at the back end of the rotation, was scoreless through three, mostly thanks to the defensive stylings of….. wait for it….. Shelley Duncan!
The Tribe left-fielder made three consecutive great catches at the wall in left in the first and second innings. After the third grab Duncan, ever the character, made classic facial expressions as if he was saying “did that really just happen?” It still boggles my mind that the Indians chose to hang on to Austin Kearns for as long as they did with Duncan available. Shelley is a perfect bench guy. Knows his role and does it well enough. Kearns was well, Kearns.
Is it sad that the highlight of this game for the Tribe was Shelley’s back to back to back great grabs against the left-field wall?
The shots were a sign of what was to come. Yes, Huff held the Rangers without a run the first three innings, they were hitting him hard. In the fourth, they kicked in the door with the help of some shoddy defense.
Huff walked Josh Hamilton to open the inning. Michael Young, who may be the most under-appreciated players in the game, doubled him in to put the Rangers ahead 1-0. After Adrian Beltre flied out, Mike Napoli crushed an absolute bomb to left center, which was measured at 432 feet. There were two outs and nobody on with the score just 3-0. Huff had the chance to minimize the damage. But he didn’t.
Yorvit Torrealba singled. Craig Gentry reached on an infield single to short. Ian Kinsler then sent a grounder to third that Lonnie Chisenhall booted, loading the bases for Elvis Andrus. He sent a sharp liner up the middle that ricocheted off of Huff’s glove for an RBI single. Hamilton, the man who led off the inning, then ripped the Indians hearts out with a grand slam.
“That’s what happens when you load the bases,” Manny Acta said. “There’s a reason for that. I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s having the wrong guy at the plate.”
And with that, you were free to change the channel. It was 8-0 in the blink of an eye.
“I left too many pitches over the middle,” said Huff. ”A guy like Hamilton doesn’t miss many mistakes.”
Huff’s history doesn’t leave you with a ton of confidence in his abilities, but he has been pretty good since his recall this summer. But when he has starts like this, its easy to go to the “here we go again” card with him. There is no doubt he is an improved pitcher from the guy who was so bad last year, and you can’t forget he was a first round draft pick with pedigree. Next year will be huge for him.
He last just the four innings, giving up eight hits and eight runs, but only three were earned. Chad Durbin, Frank Herrmann, and Nick Hagadone mopped up the rest of the way.
The lone Indians run came from a solo homer off the bat of Chisenhall.
Tonight’s tilt is the last one against the Rangers this season. They are 8-1 against the Tribe. ”These guys continue to overmatch us at both ends of the game,” said Acta.
That is the understatement of the year.
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)