Yankees 6 Indians 4: Pronk and CC help sweep Tribe out of the Bronx

Mike Aviles

Mike AvilesSeth Greenberg, former head basketball coach at Virginia Tech, now an analyst on ESPN once said after a blowout loss “sometimes you’re the dog….sometimes you’re the tree.” Well your Cleveland Indians were the tree all week as the Yankees took turns battering the Wahoos into submission.

The Indians had hoped to stop their 4-11 skid on a sunny afternoon in the Bronx, but things just got way out of hand far too quickly. Corey Kluber entered the game pitching as well as any Indians starter. In the first inning, the Yankees hit a couple of rocket shots. One of them was a fly ball towards the gap in right center off the bat of Robinson Cano. Center fielder Michael Bourn ran a long way to get the ball and did everything put make the catch. The ball bounced off his glove for an error, giving the Yankees an extra out. Of course, they would capitalize.

“He chased it down and just didn’t catch it,” Manager Terry Francona said. “He went a long way and he got to it, but it didn’t stay in his glove.”

Throwing salt in the wound was the titanic blast that old friend Travis Hafner crushed to the second deck in right field for a two-out, two-run homer. Of all people…..

Hafner has 10 homers on the season. Three of them have come against the Indians.

An inning later, it got worse for Kluber. With a shift on, Lyle Overbay punched a knubber down the third base line for an infield single. An out later, another ex-Indian, Jayson Nix, slapped a double the other way moving Overbay to third. Ninth place batter Chris Stewart made the score 3-0 with an RBI single. The Yankee catching duo of Stewart and Austin Romine were on base six times in this series and were constant thorns in the Tribe side. As was Brett Gardner, who followed Stewart’s single with a three-run home run. There was one out in the second inning and the Yankees already had a 6-0 lead.

So now what?

The Indians had to face CC Sabathia in this one. Oh wait, another ex-Indian who killed them Wednesday afternoon? You don’t say? Sabathia, like any ace, is extremely comfortable pitching with a huge lead and took his time making easy work of the Indians early. He retired the first 14 Wahoos he faced until Mike Aviles’s single broke his string. But as we have seen with CC, he can get lazy at times.

With one out in the sixth, Drew Stubbs beat out another infield single. The man can fly. Bourn followed with a single to left, moving Stubbs to third. He would score on Jason Kipnis’s single past Mark Teixeira at first. Nick Swisher’s fielder’s choice brought in Bourn. At the time you were thinking “hey, at least they got on the board.”

Give Kluber credit for at least calming things down and eating innings after the debacle of the first two innings. He didn’t allow another run through the next four innings and left after six, striking out eight.

“I just left a few balls over the heart of the plate a little bit too much early on,” said Kluber. “I don’t know what the difference was — I just didn’t make those mistakes after that point.”

CC probably figured he could cruise right along for another inning and fly to the winners circle. Instead, he gave up three more hits in the seventh, including a two-out, two-run home to the Yanimal, Yan Gomes. It was his sixth on the season. By contrast, soon to be former backup catcher Lou Marson has five homers in 882 career at-bats!

Like the night before, the Indians seemed destined for a quick loss, but fought back to make things interesting. Which brings us to the Tribe bullpen. Its now a two-run game in the bottom of the seventh and Tito turned to rookie Matt Langwell for some odd reason. He walked Stewart on four pitches. Realizing it wasn’t a great idea, Francona gave him the quick hook and called for the struggling left-hander Rich Hill. Gardner bunted Stewart over to second for the first out. Cano grounded out to second for the second out. With first base open and a man on third, Hill intentionally walked Teixeira to set up the force. Up stepped Hafner and I was all but certain he would hit a three-run jack. Its tough to do so when Hill won’t throw you strikes. He would walk Pronk to load the bases for Vernon Wells.

That was all for Hill as Francona signaled for Joe Smith, who got Wells to pop out to second. Memo to Tito: next time just skip right to Smitty. It wouldn’t shock me one bit if both Langwell and Hill are not with this team by the weekend.

With setup man David Robertson and closer Mariano Rivera seemingly unavailable, Yankees manager sent Sabathia out for the last two innings. With two outs in the eighth and a man on first, Mark Reynolds sent a liner to the gap in right-center, but it was run down by Ichiro. CC entered the ninth at 102 pitches. He retired the Indians in order for his sixth win of the season.

I am not one for moral victories, but at least the Indians showed fight in this one.

“We had to dig out of a hole,” Francona said. “[Kluber] gave us a chance. That says a lot for him and his competitiveness. That’s just a pretty big hole to dig out of with CC pitching.”

Their comeback came up just short and the Wahoos lost their 12th in their last 16 games.

“After we started that game in Cleveland against Tampa after midnight on Friday, it’s all kind of gone downhill from there,” said Nick Swisher. “We’re a little tired. I think the off-day is going to be crucial for us.

“We’ve played 20 games in a row, all sorts of hours, night games, day games … but this is what we’re paid to do and we need to find a way to go out and get it done.”

They will now receive a much needed day off before a three-game set in Detroit with the Tigers.

  • mgbode

    We need to snap out of this funk.

    Oh and CC is no longer an ace.

  • Hypno_Toad

    CC not an ace? Next you’ll tell me that Derek Jeter isn’t leading the AL in all star voting.

  • mgbode

    haha, nice. well, CC has struggled to keep his fastball above 90mph and teams have been catching up to it. He’s been allowing more hits, more HRs and hasn’t been going as deep into games lately (until yesterday).

    to his credit, he’s not making excuses (which he could with his shoulder) and he’s made a concerted effort to keep down the BBs, which is why his WHIP has only marginally gone up.

    but, he’s not someone to fear, he’s given up at least 4ER in 5/13 starts. just not someone that is feared anymore (and that happens when you have been throwing 200IP+ for 13 seasons, which is close to what he has done).

  • Natedawg86

    He needs to get back to the box of Captain Crunch every day. Get back into fighting shape. Hafner is doing well so far, but he would have been a little out of place for how the tribe is operating this year.

  • mgbode

    Hafner found a good place for him to get more ABs w/ a ballpark situated for his swing. He’d be better than Giambi, but we have bigger concerns than a part-time DH at this point.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Don’t worry, he’ll be back up to his usual dominant self next year when he is no longer on my fantasy team.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    A Seth Greenberg quote? Love it! I never heard him say that one though… I’m having a “tree” kind of week.

  • JNeids

    I wanted to root for Pronk this year despite the pinstripes. I know he was a disappointment for the last few years here but he was still very likable and I held no grudge when he left. Now that he is exacting revenge where no revenge was due, he is officially just another Yankee I hate.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Agreed, I feel more bitterness towards “fate” and even Wedge/Acta than Pronk himself. It’s just not fair that the Yankees are using him the way the Good Lord intended (mostly against RHP) and his body is holding up.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    He’d be an ace on the Indians!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You have Hafner on your fantasy team if so can I join next time?

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Wrong comment thread :) I have CC.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    On a much brighter side…Bruins up 3-0 one win away from another Stanley Cup Finals appearance!!!!!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Oh well I have him on a team too but at least he’s not Johnny Cueto who again finds himself on the DL with the same injury for the 3rd time in a row. Get ‘em a PED dispenser stat!

  • mgbode

    I had both CC & Cueto. luckily, I dumped CC for Machado during his mini-resurgence.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    My one team can’t afford to dump CC but my best move was picking up Dominic Downtown Brown one game into this unbelievable statistical tear that he is on!

  • Jaker

    I’m frustrated.

    I live in New York, and I circled this series as possibly the only time I will be able to see the Tribe this year. I stayed in on Monday night, but I went to the games on Tuesday(with my Yankee fan friends) and Wednesday(with my Tribe fan father). This series just helped fuel the fire of everyone I know that Cleveland sucks. I also attended the loss to the New York Giants(most of my friends are Giants fans) and Philadelphia Eagles(some are Eagles fans) this year. I also went to school in DC and am still friendly with plenty of Skins fans. More fuel. Point being, the embarrassment has to stop. Those who live in Steeler country know what I mean.

    I like this Indians team, at least more than last year’s, but why can’t we win a season series against these teams? I expected this from the Browns, but not from this Tribe team. I think this team needs a kick in the rear. They seem to complacent. Giambi or Swisher need to provide a spark through a player’s meeting type thing. And with a series in Detroit coming up, I can’t figure a better time.

    Oh, and we better beat the Jets this fall. Because, well… OH COME ON, NOT THE JETS!?!??