It would’ve gotten the talking heads talking and the writing wonks writing. It would’ve kept me from sleeping, excitable as I am. This is the sort of win that would’ve felt momentous, back when momentum was still a thing that could make a team win, rather than a weight that pulls it down night after night.
Zach McAllister has quietly become the team’s best pitcher, which, while certainly cause for some legitimate concern going forward, is also a somewhat of a boon in an otherwise lost season. You’ll recall that we acquired young Zach for two months of rotting-corpse-of-Austin-Kearns. As Eddie would say, that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year long, Clark.
Last night McAllister pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs (1 ER) on six strikeouts, no walks, and eight hits. While he wasn’t facing Texas’ best lineup, that’s certainly still a line to be proud of. He left a tie game after six innings, despite throwing quite a gem against one of the league’s best offenses. 1
But this was a game to be decided by the bullpens, and after McAllister and Texas starter Derek Holland were out of the game, things got more interesting. In the bottom of the eighth, the Indians looked to be ceding the series sweep to the Rangers with some terrible defense behind Joe Smith. After Elvis Andrus reached on error by shortstop (!) Brent Lillibridge, he advanced to third on a sac fly. Another error by Jack Hannahan scored Andrus, and a single by Michael Young put the Rangers up 4-2 before Scott Maine (?) came on to get the Indians out of the inning.
To recap, heading to the top of the ninth, the Indians were down by two with the Murderer’s Row of Carrera, Canzler, and Kipnis due up.
Of course, Carrera lead off by ripping a home run that barely cleared the wall in right field to cut the lead to 4-3. Canzler followed with a single to center and after being replaced by pinch runner Jason Donald, Kipnis followed with a towering smash to put the good guys up 5-4. Santana followed with a double, but Rottino, LaPorta and Choo failed to get him home, leaving Chris Perez in for the one-run save.
And despite a couple of well-hit balls off Perez, including a triple off the bat of Elvis Andrus and a fliner from Ian Kinsler, Perez continued to look pretty dominant with a two strikeout save. From what I understand, this win made the computers who wrote and directed Moneyball happy. So it made me happy too.
As an aside, I am going to the game tonight. Each March, my wife’s uncle generously asks us to pick three games we’d like to attend in his season ticket seats, which are just ridiculously wondeful, a few rows behind the Tribe dugout. Of course we immediately chose a September game against the Tigers, because there was no doubt in our minds that the two clubs would be locked in an epic, David-versus-Goliath struggle for command of the AL Central. After all, how could they not?
Ah well. There will be hotdogs. There will be beer. There will be bright fireworks and green grass and white uniforms and an oversized American flag and husbands and wives and parents and kids and scorecards with miniature pencils and the crunch of peanut shells beneath my feet.
And there will be baseball.
And it will be good.
Unless it rains.
Photo Credit: Peggy Turbett, PD
- Tied, we should here note, because of a Matt LaPorta two-run home run. You may think it unfair of me to corral Mr. MaTola’s accomplishments into a footnote. To that, I remind you simply that in his 41 plate appearances so far this season, he has walked exactly once, struck out 10 times, and recorded exactly two extra base hits, including last night’s aforementioned MAJACKOLA. He’s lucky to have been mentioned in a footnote. [back]