August 26, 2014

Indians 5, Rangers 4: You Can Call it a Comeback

peggy turbett, PDThere was a time, not too terribly long ago, when a win like this would’ve mattered.

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

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Footnotes:

  1. 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. []
  • The_Real_Shamrock

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • Harv 21

    OK, my avoidant behavior combined with don’t want Jon to get lonely here at the corner of Apathy and Ontario leads to three comments:

    - why don’t we periodically win 9 – 2, like all other horrible teams do every three weeks playing out the string? How is it possible never scoring 9, when your opponent is starting a rookie and September call-ups and the other team cares as little as you? This is weird.

    - Jason Michaels circa 2006 would be one of this team’s best players. Maybe that’s why Tom Hamilton sounded the way he did when I tuned in for an inning Wednesday night. Poor dude is clearly beaten down, cracking weird jokes about the FCC, the professionalism leaking out his ear, desperately attempting banter with “Rosie” rather than calling the details of the play.

    - I forgot what was third. Never mind.

  • nj0

    Great first question.

    Cause I was interested:
    the last time we scored 9 runs or more was July 18th
    the last time we won by 7 runs or more was July 4th
    that was for 9 runs, our largest margin of victory all year

  • mgbode

    “an oversized American flag”

    I hope that Brandon Weeden isn’t throwing out the first pitch.

  • mgbode

    oh, and I have given up on Matt LaPorta doing anything of significance at the MLB level, but last night he was our most consistent and frankly best hitter when guys like Kipnis looked overmatched (until he got to face Nathan). Baseball is a funny sport and that likely doesn’t repeat itself again.

  • Harv 21

    amazing. How do you not score 9 runs one time over 50+ games? All opponents have periodic implosion days, putrid pitching on the same day they kick the ball around. Must be that when it’s happened we’ve managed to make putrid pitching look merely middling. Been watching this team since way way before the ’90s renaissance and this one is up there with the most weak and lethargic of the worst of them.

  • Steve

    Jason Michaels in 2006 had a 0.8 WAR, which would be good for tied for 6th on this team with Hafner. When Hafner is healthy, we have a perfectly cromulent offense, when we don’t, its average. Michaels’ 2006 86 OPS+ would have him a tick below Duncan in the LF-du-jour contest.

    The problem is, and will continue to be rotation. Don’t let the recent league-wide decline in offense fool you. The offense is not too bad. The rotation is one of the worst you will ever see.

  • Steve

    We are tied for 19th in MLB with 11 9+ run games. Tied with Cincinnati and Tampa, and one behind the Yankees and Orioles. League average is 13. Sure, some more high scoring games might be nice, but considering the park they are in, they aren’t doing too poorly.

  • Harv 21

    those overall season stats totally miss my point that we have packed it in the last few months. Since we last scored 9 runs we are, by definition, no better than tied for last in that category. And that’s about a third of a season, and counting.