Get out the Flying DeLorean and the Flux Capacitor! In what can only be described as a flashback to 2006 the Indians played excessively bad baseball but somehow managed to take 2 of 3 from the putrid Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Bad defense, Victor Martinez throwing the ball into the outfield on a regular basis and strikeout after strikeout by Tribe hitters that plagued the Indians in 2006 have returned in 2007.
In Game 1 Friday, Victor ruined C. C. Sabathia's chance to start the season 4-0 by throwing a ball into left field while trying to throw a runner out at third. This allowed the Rays to tie the game at 3. Thanks to 1-2-3 eight inning courtesy of Roberto Hernandez, a clutch hit by Pronk in the top of the ninth and a 1-2-3 ninth from Job Borowski. The Tribe managed to escape with a 4-3 victory.
They weren't so lucky on Saturday. Behind a shaky outing by Paul Byrd the Indians fell 6-5 that was earmarked by Kelly Shoppach throwing a ball into center field on a stolen base which allowed the runner to advance to third and eventually scored on a ground out for the decisive run. A 3 run Tampa Bay third inning was highlighted (low-lighted) by Trot Nixon and Josh Barfield running into each other in RF on a dying quail and giving the D-Rays 2 runs to extend the lead to 5-2. Pronk crushed a mammoth (442 feet) home run to tie it at 5 but the Indians were done in by themselves.
Sunday was not as bad as the first two games but still wasn't pretty. Behind the first quality start by Jake Westbrook this year and a 2-run homer by Jhonny Perlata the Tribe looked primed to bounce back. Until Victor gave the Rays a free run in the 4th by not tagging out a runner on a third strike. He threw another ball into the outfield on an attempted steal and Tom Mastny threw TWO wild pitches in the 8th inning to let the Rays take a 4-2 lead. Thankfully, the Tampa closer was unavailable and the Indians bats awoke in the top of the 9th capped off by a three run JACK by Ryan Garko to secure a 6-4 win. Joe Borowski pitched his second consecutive 1-2-3 ninth for his 7th save.
Not all gloom and doom as Pronk is ON FIRE, the middle relief (sans Mr. Mastny) looked good and Borowski bounced back from the Yankees debacle nicely. But the Indians were lucky to win one game let alone 2. They travel to Minnesota to face the Twins in a brief 2 game series and need a much better showing if they want to make an impact in the AL Central.