The old adage in baseball is momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher. The beauty of the game of baseball is the you can turn the page after a bad night. The season is a marathon, not a sprint. You can’t get too high or too low after one game.
Take last night for example.
The game between the Tribe and the Chicago White Sox was delayed by an hour thanks to a light rain storm. The umpires didnt want to start the game, get the pitchers all warmed up, and then have a delay. They would have been better off just calling the game for the Indians sake.
The White Sox abused Jeanmar Gomez during a six-run fourth inning which for all intents and purposes ended the game. Chicago would go on to take the final game of the series 8-1.
They got two in the first inning for the second straight night, this time thanks to an Adam Dunn homer. Interestingly in the last three games of the series, Dunn crushed a pitch in the first inning deep into the Cleveland skies. On Monday night, Michael Brantley reached up and stole a homer at the fence. An evening later, Brantley tracked the Dunn fly ball, but mis-timed his jump and watched as the ball bounced off of his glove for a double. Last night there was no catching that Dunn shot.
Dunn, who was an absolute horror show last year for the White Sox, now has 10 homers and 25 RBIs on the young season. He hit just 11 in and drove in 42 in 122 games in 2011.
In that six-run Sox fourth, Gomez was throwing batting practice. He had a hard time finding the strike zone (only 58 of his 106 pitches were strikes) and when he did, his stuff was flat and down the middle.
“Gomez just couldn’t throw strikes,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “The first four innings, he struggled with his control to a point where, in the fourth inning, he had more balls than strikes thrown. When you’re not overpowering, you’re really not going to get away with it up here. They made him pay for it.”
Give Gomez credit for one thing, he managed to pitch into the seventh, taking one for the team and saving the bullpen, despite giving up eight runs on nine hits while walking four. He entered the game with just four walks on the season. Jairo Ascencio went the final two and a third innings without allowing a base-runner.
The Tribe’s lone run came on an RBI fielder’s choice from Jason Donald. Jake Peavy was terrific again and has found his old Cy Young groove. After seven innings of one-run ball, Peavy’s ERA is now 1.89 and he is 4-1.
“It was just a bad evening,” Johnny Damon said. “It started with the delay and ended with Peavy throwing the ball very well.”
The White Sox leave town with a 5-4 record against the Tribe this year. One guy we won’t be sad to see leave is leadoff man Alejandro De Aza. I don’t know what it is about the Indians that he likes, but whenever he sees Wahoo Red, White, and Blue, De Aza turns into Wade Boggs. With two more hits, the Sox center fielder is hitting .394/.474./667 against the Tribe. He hits .233/.316/.372 against the rest of the league (h/t to Jon).
Thought I would mention another two hit evening for the much maligned Tribe first baseman Casey Kotchman. While his defense has been stellar all season, the bat has left a lot to be desired. What nobody has noticed that is that Kotchman is in the midst of coming out of his funk. Over the last week, Casey is hitting .381 (8-21) with four RBIs. Obviously none of us are ready to pronounce him as completely back, but its nice to see some life from his bat.
After splitting the four-game set with the White Sox, the Indians remain in first place at 17-13, two games in front of Detroit (15-15). They must now travel to Boston to face the Red Sox in a four-game set starting tonight. They may be catching Boston at a great time. The Red Sox are 12-18 and in last place in the AL East.Their pitching is a complete mess and the Indians will attempt to exploit.
Manny Acta will send former Red Sox pitcher and Boston fan favorite Derek Lowe (4-1, 2.39 ERA) to the mound, where he is expected to get a warm ovation. Lowe played for the Red Sox for eight years and was a member of the 2004 curse busting crew that won the World Series. He will be opposed by the slow working Josh Beckett (2-3, 4.45 ERA).
(photo via Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)