August 26, 2014

Indians 4 Royals 3: Had ‘em all the way!

Chris PerezHad em all the way….

Chris Perez just never wants to make it easy on us does he. Nursing a one run lead in the ninth inning of another uber important game – well, they all are at this point – CP put Tribe fans everywhere through the emotional wringer. Even manager Terry Francona said during the ninth he “had a stomach ache.”

We don’t know how Perez was feeling because he still isn’t talking to the media, which is probably a good thing. But for those of us inside of Progressive Field last night, it felt like another swift kick in the gut while it was happening. We shouldn’t have even gotten to this point.

The real story of this game wasn’t the shaky closer, it was the Tribe’s all of a sudden rotation stabilizer Ubaldo Jimenez. Yeah, I said it. The guy has become a rock. After two and a half years of frustration, the Indians have finally gotten what they traded for. In dire need of a quality deep start, the Wahoos turned to Jimenez and he responded like he has done so often since the All-star break. For seven innings, the Royals had nothing for the big U. His power stuff was working, hitting 96 with his fastball and command his breaking pitches. He would exit the game allowing one unearned run while scattering seven hits. More impressively, the former walk machine didn’t offer a single free pass while striking out 10. It was the third time in his last four starts that Ubaldo has had 10 K’s.

The whole comeback story is just incredible to me.

Jimenez now has nine straight starts where he has allowed three or fewer earned runs. Eight of those nine have been two runs or less and in his last two starts, in the most crucial time of the year, Ubaldo hasn’t allowed an earned run in 13 innings. His season ERA sits at 3.62, a whopping 1.94 since the break.

“I’m getting ahead, I’m staying ahead and I’m getting people out,” said Jimenez. “Right now it’s fun the way we’re playing together. Every day you come to the stadium, you know it’s a big game.”

The Tribe offense staked him to a 4-1 lead thanks to the long ball. The much maligned Asdrubal Cabrera got the Indians on the board with a solo shot in the second off of Kansas City’s Ervin Santana, who has dominated the Indians in his two starts this season. They would add a second run in the third behind the wheels of rookie Jose Ramirez. Making his first Major League start at third base, Ramirez led off the frame with his first career hit. He was so excited that he overran first thinking double. He managed to scamper back to first, but over-slid the bad. Luckily first baseman Eric Hosmer never attempted a tag. Drew Stubbs then hit a 3-2 ground ball to third with Ramirez on the move. Stubbs was erased, but Ramirez attempted to get to third. Hosmer’s throw was wild, allowing the speedster to dash home. It was almost as if Ramirez ran a marathon on the base paths in the third.

“He was all over the ballpark tonight,” said Francona of Ramirez. “He played with pure passion and joy. He helped us. That second run was huge and he scored on a grounder to third. It gave everybody a spark.”

Yan Gomes, who just keeps on hitting, put the Tribe up 3-0 with a solo blast of his own the opposite way. It was the Yanimal’s 10th on the season. He also gunned down two of three Royals attempting stolen bases. Gomes would have been perfect, but Cabrera dropped a throw on Alex Gordon’s steal in the third.

Fellow catcher, now mostly the DH, Carlos Santana would hit the Tribe’s third solo homer off the foul pole in right to start the bottom of the seventh. The play was initially ruled foul, but was overturned by instant replay.

The final six outs should have been on cruise control, but the Indians bullpen made this a maalox masher.

Cody Allen came on to pitch the eighth and wasn’t fooling anyone. Alcedes Escobar nearly missed a home run and settled for a double high off the big wall in left. Gordon then finished the job with a 394 foot blast to right that got out in a hurry. In a blink, this became a game. Allen recovered to strike out Emilio Bonafacio, but Francona took no chances, calling for lefty Marc Rzepsynski to face the lefty Hosmer. The southpaw did the job he was traded for to do, retiring Hosmer on an easy grounder to second. Francona then replaced Rzepcysnki with Joe Smith to face DH Billy Butler. Working for the third time in four days, Smitty got Butler on a comebacker, setting the stage for the ninth.

It was Pure Rage time and he almost drove Tribe fans into a pure rage. Salvador Perez sent a slow grounder towards the hole between short and third and it got through for a single. He would be lifted for pinch runner Chris Getz. CP then compounded things by walking Mike Moustakas. In an obvious bunt situation, KC manager Ned Yost sent up pinch hitter David Lough, who did his job, moving both runners into scoring position with one out. Then for some odd reason, when the last thing you need is a strikeout, Yost pinch hit Carlos Pena for Jarrod Dyson, who had two hits in the game. Pena is essentially a left-handed Mark Reynolds. With first base open, you pitch to him. CP recovered to do exactly what the Tribe needed, striking out Pena for the big second out.

Yost went to his bench a third straight time, calling on George Kotarras, who had hit a grand slam against the Indians earlier in the season in Kansas City. He fell behind in the count 0-2, worked the count full, fouled off four pitches, and eventually walked. It was a great battle that Kotarras won. The bases were now loaded for Gordon, who had homered his last time up. Perez buckled down and got him to fly out to shallow center to give the Tribe a 4-3 victory.

Exhale.

Never a dull moment with this bullpen and this closer, right? Hey, look at the bright side. Perez was brought on to get three outs without allowing a run. That is exactly what he did.

“We just try to show up and be one run better than the other team,” said Francona. “Tonight I felt we were 1/10 of a run better. I had a stomach ache in the ninth inning. That’s about a nail-biting as you can get.”

The Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 4-2, pushing the Yanks a game and a half back of both the Tribe and the Orioles. Tampa Bay did not play, so both teams gained a half game on the Rays. The Detroit Tigers lost to the Chicago White Sox, leaving the Indians faint hope of winning the AL Central still alive. They sit a game and a half back of the Wild Card and four and a half games back of the division lead.

Tonight it is Zach McAllister’s (7-8, 3.97 ERA) turn to come up big. He will face off with former Tribe first round pick Jeremy Guthrie (13-10, 4.19 ERA)

  • bobby

    Then I am right there for sleeping with Scarlett Johannson.

    I was within 3 feet of her.

    Except I am not a danish super model, and NFL quarterback, or an internet billionaire being introduced to her by her childhood friend and closest confidant. Or all 4.

    that is exactly how close we are.

    we are right there
    except we have no hitting
    our infield defense is sub par
    we haven’t beaten anyone with a winning record
    our starting pitching is a ride on the tilt a whirl
    and our closer makes bob wickman look like jose mesa

    The browns are “right there” for winning the AFC north too.

  • bobby

    Rotating cast of 20-25 teams. The bottom 5 absolute garbage

    Astros and Marlins AAA- part of the bottom 5

    I would pay $5 a ticket and enjoy the day.

  • Steve

    Your tortured analogy doesn’t come close to applying.

    But you seem to be happy to complain about how much money you spend on such an awful team that is quite close to the playoffs, and I’m not intending on stopping you from enjoy your complaints. Have at it hoss.

  • mgbode

    I’m not going to be as hard on you as others. I agree that it’s tough to cheer for the team year-over-year when we know we are at a distinct disadvantage in the sport.

    however, you are being way too hard on the team. teams we have a winning record against who are over .500 this season:
    Baltimore (4-3)
    KC (9-5)
    Oakland (5-2)
    Texas (5-1)
    Wash (2-1)
    (also 2-2 vs. Cinci)

    The horrific record is against Detroit, NYY, Boston (6-27), but we have done well against the teams we would likely meet up in the WC game (also 2-4 vs. TB).

  • bobby

    no you cant. Those 12 tix are not for sale at the window

    walk up to the window 27 bux all day long.

    and they arent wha’t you are saying they are either click all the way through.

    they do the same thing.

    a printed ticket is 20.25

  • nj0

    I don’t think facts and statistics are going to win the day on this one.

  • Steve

    First, I’m going to have to ask you to put complete sentences together if you want to continue this discussion. You make it damn near impossible to actually understand what you’re trying to say.

    So only 5-10 teams are MLB worthy? And yet 30 teams worth of players get paid MLB-level salaries. I think your standard is way off here.

  • bobby

    how much you spending Steve? You are sure glad to tell others how to spend their money.

    or do you get in free?

  • mgbode

    also, this is not an “awful” team. our SP has been incredible. our hitting is better than you think:

    #9 in team OBP
    #10 in SLG%
    #6 in SB
    #7 in runs (and runs/game top5)

    agreed our IF defense is subpar. our OF defense is superb (most of the time). we have speed on the basepaths.

  • mgbode

    just putting it out there so everyone can see the good and the bad. there is plenty of both on this team.

  • Steve

    $15.35 for that cheapest seat, still the cheapest seat for a contender. And the Indians have made it well known that you can save a few buy by not asking for a printed ticket. If the price is such a concern for you, why are you not taking advantage of the obvious places to save?

  • mgbode

    I’m with you on the prices. I still think they should offer $10 tickets Monday – Wednesday. Maybe force you to follow their twitter feed or friend their facebook page, but allow an access code to get it.

    Weekends are priced appropriately though IMO.

  • Steve

    Again, you move this to something no one has said. I’m not telling anyone how to spend their money. You’re the one who said how much you spend on tickets, and I’m just noticing that you seem to enjoy the complaining more than the baseball.

  • nj0

    I know there’s a lot of controversy down here about both the Astros and the Rockets not being carried by many cable providers. Pro sports and the networks need to figure this RSN stuff out.

  • mgbode

    also, those of us who do bring up attendance are doing so because we love the team and love that the team is in Cleveland. the long-term prognosis is an issue if the team is consistently in the bottom 5 of attendance.

    Based on current standings:

    #30 TB – #1 relocation candidate

    #29 Miami – still amazed they got that ballpark built. They are there for the forseeable future. Huizenga had a good plan in place their FO is still trying to execute since he sold. Either be really bad or really good. Mediocre doesn’t help the talent and the revenue from attendance is made up in the sharing structure if you strip it all the way down. Spend when you have a good team.

    #28 Houston – Crane is being smart. He is building the team the Nationals-way. He understands he is going to get a huge local-TV deal and that he can keep all the young stars he develops, but the last ownership left the talent-base bare. He’s taking his lumps now to build later. Won’t be a long-term issue unless their drafting is terrible.

    #27 Cleveland – I don’t see how we are not relocation candidate #2, which scares the beejesus out of me.

    #26 Kansas City – for as much support as StL gets for their team and as beautiful as Kauffman is, they don’t support the Royals anywhere near as much. Then again, any Indians fan complaining about bad teams should take a look at what a KC fan has had to endure since the early 90s. However, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be considered for relocation. They would certainly be a candidate and it’s not like the team has never moved before.

    #25 Oakland – will get to San Jose at some point (likely new commish)

  • mgbode

    until the Dolan’s sell and the new owners have the fortunate luck of having a good talent base to do what the Indians are doing this season for a couple years in a row (and with a new FO).

    no, honestly, I think that is what is needed. sometimes the perception becomes the reality and you just need “new” names. I don’t expect that for the next several seasons though.

  • Steve

    As you’ve pointed out, the most likely candidates to buy are going to be the most likely candidates to move the team.

    Clevelanders may not like Dolan, butt they should at least get that he’s the devil they know.

  • nj0

    Just read that last night’s attendance was a record low for a Sept/Oct game at the Prog/Jake.

  • CBI

    I live in Dallas.

  • nj0

    Even if they sell and the new owner keeps the team in town, will the general approach to the on-field product be any different? Will fans accept it if/when the new owners spend no more than Dolan did? I think an ownership change might cover up some of those issues in the short run, but I don’t expect support to radically improve over the long term.

  • Steve

    http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2013/09/why_is_indians_attendance_so_l.html

    Indians fans speak up and 25% of them say that they don’t believe in this team, despite how close they are to a playoff spot, and another 21% just say “Dolans”.

  • bobby

    You want people there.

    Is it free? no it is not, it costs money.

    So you want me/us/them, people other than you, to spend their money on this tired old act. That is exactly what you are saying. Not enough people (everybody but you and yours) are spending their money. How else do the fans get in the ball park?

    How much are your spending steve? or are you like honsie….getting in free?

  • bobby

    where is the 3 game sweep against Atlanta? and not in the good way?

    35-48 against teams with a wining record? Are we facing teams with winning or losing records in theses “playoffs”? Bud Selig thanks you very much for buying his 1 game WC play in game as the playoffs ( you know the 5 and seven game playoff series that comes after the thing you keep talking about as the playoffs). The NCAA “first four” approves this message

    And we are “right there” with a 27 percent chance

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/standings/probability.jsp?ymd=20130910

    of making the 1 game play in game to the actual playoffs where we will face David Price. He of the CY young credentials, us of the banjo hitting team of utility players Jason Kipnis excepted.

  • bobby

    The Cleveland Indians top home run hitter, Carlos Santana, is tied for 30th in the AL with none other than the illustrious Coco Crisp..

    Kipnis is 16th in RBI’s in the AL Carlos is tied for 37th Brantley 47th.

    Kipnis 26th in Avg (the only guy hitting above 300 doesn’t qualify to be ranked) Brantley 32 Santana 48th

    OPS kipnis and santana at 18 and 19, nobody else made the first page.

    This team could not hit its way out of a wet paper bag.

    Those are numbers that everybody sees every day watching this team.

    Right now statistically the Browns ( the AFC north) and the Indians (making the WC play in game to the real plaoffs) are the same distance away from the post season…about 1 in 4

    Expect everything everybody sees tells them differently.

    Hope in 1 hand poop in the other, see which fills up first.

    Go hope in somebody else’s hand, I know what is coming out of the chute.

  • mgbode

    how have we done against previous Cy Young winners this season? :)

    though, honestly, there is little chance of us facing Price in the playoffs IMO. I think the AL West wraps up the 1st WC. We need to take the 2nd WC from the AL East teams who all play each other (and Boston).

    we likely get the division loser out of Oakland and Texas. we have done well against both this season.

  • mgbode

    we haven’t built out team that way though. we have built out team in the same way that Oakland built their team (we have more team speed, they have more overall depth and better overall defense). OBP, SLG% w/ doubles, speed on the basepaths. That is where we make our hay.

    yeah, it’s not like the 90s teams that could mash. those were fun. but, we are pitching great and our hitting isn’t horrible.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dconeil Hamsterdam

    Phew. Just win again tonight. Just keep winning. If team is in a playoff position come Thursday, Sept. 19 fans will show up for final six home games. Go win. Go beat K.C. and the ChiSox.

  • mgbode

    I think alot of the overall angst is from the trades of CC, Victor, and Lee. The blood will be washed off the hands for those moves. It might not affect attendance much long-term (maybe a small bump), but I think it will affect peoples general opinion of the team and the discussions on how to fix it from there (where right now it seems to devolve too quickly).

  • mgbode

    And we have the vast majority of Texas covered. Thank you!!!!

    Now, let’s see some support from San Marcos, Fredericksburg, Lubbock, El Paso, College Station, and La Grange, and others :)

  • WFNY_DP

    I guess I’ll ask the rhetorical question at this point: if it’s soooo bad, why do you keep paying $1288 for it? I don’t understand the logic. You’ve spent 100 comments bitching about the product and the prices, only to then turn around and say you’re paying for it!

    What incentive do they have to change if you’re going to keep buying in despite all the protestations of product and cost?

    If I go to the store and think a product is a) inferior and b) overpriced, I DON’T BUY IT.

  • bobby

    MUCH better than against teams with winning records.

    This is a conversation worth having, How much money (butts in the seats) fans are willing to pay, isn’t even a conversation. The people on this board who don’t even live here, telling us how to spend our money need to just stop it. The customer has spoken, we aren’t buying what you are selling, really crappy business people blame the customer for their own failings.

    Times all flush down in Texas with that Oil money and tech money telling this downtrodden region how we should be happy to pay 30 bux for this schlock is beyond loathsome.

  • nj0

    So you’re saying that NEO can’t/won’t support the Indians and they should relocate to Texas? Couldn’t agree more.

  • nj0

    All that matters is scoring runs. And by r/g, last time I looked, we were top five.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I wanna hold em like they do in Texas please
    Fold em let em hit me raise it baby stay with me, I love it

  • Steve

    This team plays in quite the pitcher’s park. Once we adjust for that, the offense is well above average.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I DON’T CARE, I LOVE IT!!!! I DON’T CARE, I LOVE IT!!!! I DON’T CARE, I LOVE IT!!!!

  • mgbode

    see, I tried to turn the conversation back to baseball.

    anyway, I’m not telling anyone how to spend their money. I have said many times I wish I could see the team more in person. I buy tickets for family/friends and go to the games on my yearly trip to Ohio, but that’s all I can do.

    but, if people don’t go to the games, then the Indians are up for relocation. that is the harsh reality. i don’t want that to happen.

  • nj0

    To beat the dead horse: people said the same thing back in April.

  • mgbode

    I hope the day it is no loner available to you doesn’t come (for what that likely means).

  • mgbode

    IMO, they need to just let the consumers decide. let us go ala carte and pick which channels for which prices we are willing to pay.

    i’m willing to pay $1.20/month to see a few Astros games (the going rate), but why am I paying $.50 for channels like C-Span, Court-TV, etc. that I will never turn on?

    and, there’s a decent chance that it will force many of the channels that do not have a largely inelastic demand product (like sports) to provide programming more in tune with what people want to watch. that will devolve some things to the lowest common denominator, but I won’t be paying for those channels, so what do I care?

  • nj0

    Exactly. Hanging the messenger doesn’t make the issue go away.

    Attendance is horrible, maybe rightfully so, but the fact remains that there will be some consequences because of the lack of support. Maybe that’s relocation, maybe that’s Indians slicing payroll even more dramatically, maybe it’s new, better ownership. Whatever it is, ignoring the reality of the situation or getting mad at people who talk about it is just ridiculous.

  • nj0

    It’s just crazy to me how difficult it is to watch some sporting events. These leagues have captive audiences willing to pay premium prices, yet large swathes of consumers (and their dollars) go untapped because of antiquated rules and institutions.

  • TSR3000

    This is the first season my MLB package on DirecTV has been worth it. Relevant Indians baseball in mid-September!

  • Steve

    If it goes a la carte, prices wont stay at $1.20 a month. Prices for unpackaged live sports could probably hit $5+ a channel.

  • mgbode

    as long as it was in-season only pricing, then I’d be fine with paying the $30 for 6 months of the local baseball team. cheaper than going to even 1 game by myself.

    I think it would depend on the model they selected though of whether the prices hit that high. I don’t think they would go pure “free market.” they’d likely lock you in for a year of a channel at $x/month, which would portend to keep prices down somewhat.

  • mgbode

    my question (w/o answer) is would Ubaldo take a $30mil/3yr contract over a 1yr/$14mil contract? if yes, then I think you extend him the QO. if no, then you don’t. but, it’s not like he’d give you an honest answer (as if you don’t then he might get Edwin Jackson money. I don’t think so, but his agent will try).

    of course, it also begs the question, should we offer him that $30mil/3yr contract ourselves? and tell him we are extending the QO if he doesn’t take it?

  • Steve

    Once you tack on every other channel you want at $5ish a piece, you won’t be saving any money on your cable bill.

  • Steve

    You keep moving the discussion, I get why you don’t want to get pinned down on one topic and have to explain yourself, but it makes it impossible to talk to you.

    Since it’s important for you to know, yes, I spend to get in, but I don’t feel how much one spends is much of a measure. I’m guessing you’re the type who brings out the ruler whenever you get into an argument.

    I hope you enjoy talking about how much money you spend to complain about a team you don’t even seem to like.

  • mgbode

    not all channels would be $5 and i’d at least get to watch what i want unlike now

  • mgbode

    missed a golden opportunity tonight. everybody ahead of us lost.