Thursday, October 4, 2007

Answering the Bell

Wow! That was niiiiiice!

The Tribe took Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Yankees in triumphant fashion, 12-3. This with C. C. Sabathia struggling with control, and Bruce Foemming's strike zone, all night as the big fella only lasted five innings but it was more than enough as the Indians got contributions from up and down the line-up all night.

C. C. did not come out sharp from the get go hanging a 3-1 pitch that Johnny Damon promptly deposited in the mezzanine for a 1-0 Yankees lead. C. C. worked out of the inning after 2 walks with 1 out to control the damage. Chien-Ming Wang did not fair much better as the Tribe answered the bell in the bottom of the first, all be it in odd fashion for them.

Wang hit Grady with the first pitch but Asdrubal Cabrera grounded into an easy double plays. But Pronk worked a walk, Victor singled to right and Ryan Garko delivered Hafner home with a single up the middle. Peralta then worked a walk to load the bases and Kenny Lofton delivered a 2 out, 2 run single to put the Indians up 3-1.

Sabathia came out for the 2nd and issued a 4 pitch walk, his 3rd of the game. C. C. had only walked 3 batters in a game twice all year. Wang had no trouble in the bottom of the second and C. C. rolled in the 3rd to set up Asdrubal Cabrera jacking one deep into the Cleveland night to put the Tribe up 4-1 and atone for his DP int he first. You call him A. C., I call him the As-Man! Unfortunately, C. C. could not get going and Cano took him deep in the top of the 4th to pull the Yanks back with 2, 4-2.

Then things got dicey. In the fifth Sabathia just lost it. A combination of a great job of working counts by the Yankees, getting squeezed in the strike zone and the fact he just didn't have it tonight. Already near 100 pitches coming into the inning, he starting the inning by yielding a single, walk, hard line out, a double and then an intentional walk to Alex Rodriguez. So to recap, it is no 4-3 Tribe, bases loaded, 1 out with Jorge Posada at the the plate. But he reared back struck out Posada and got Hideki Matsui to pop out to end the threat and preserve the lead.

But once again the Indians answered the bell int he bottom of the inning as after a walk to the As-Man Victor crushed one deep to right for a 6-3 lead. This was followed by a bloop double by Peralta with Lofton delivering again to make it 7-3. Good night Mr. Wang, welcome Ross Ohlendolf. Ross Ohlendorf? This guy's name is Ross Ohlendorf? This guy should be the president of a High School Chess Club not a Major League pitcher with the name Ross Ohlendorf. Also contributing to this was allowing Kenny Lofton to steal second so easily it was comical, issuing a walk Frankie Gutierrez and a frozen rope of a double to Casey Blake to make it 9-3 Indians. Until Grady Sizemore popped out to end the inning the Tribe was 4-4 with runners in scoring position and had 5 two out RBI. Wow!

Just to make sure there were no doubts Pronk added a homer, Lofton delivered ANOTHER 2 out RBI single and Garko planted one in the stands. While all this was going on Rafael Perez, Jensen Lewis and Rafael Betancourt added 4 innings of 1 hit, no walk, 6 strikeout baseball to leave no chance for the Yankees to mount a comeback. When it was all said and done the final score read Cleveland 12, New York 3. A great start.

But the Indians can not get complacent as they face grizzled playoff vet Andy Petitte tomorrow at 5 PM. Historically, he Indians struggle against left handed pitching so staying patient like today is imperative. 19 game winner Fausto Carmona makes his post-season debut and he must have his sinker working better than Chein-Ming Wang did tonight to be effective against the predominantly left handed Yankee line-up. But soak it in for the time begin the Tribe leads the Yankees 1-0 in the best of 5 series. Magic Number... 10.

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