Sunday, July 8, 2007

Jays Series a Microcosm of the Season

Well the Indians finished up the first half of the season by dropping 2 of 3 to the sub-.500 Toronto Blue Jays and have lost 4 of their last 6 to fall 1 game behind the now AL Central leading Detroit Tigers who polished off a sweep of the powerful Boston Red Sox this afternoon.

The Blue Jays series was a perfect microcosm of the Indians season to date. In Game 1, the Indians managed to battle back after one bad inning by a starting pitcher (Cliff Lee), to get within one run of the lead, only to be done in by some shaky bullpen work (Fernando Cabrera) pushing the Jays’ lead back to 3. The Indians managed to put a run on the board in the ninth but ultimately fell short when they couldn't catch a break or come through in the clutch.

In Game 2, they ultimately came out firing on all cylinders putting up 9 runs in the first five innings behind a solid outing by a starter (Fausto Carmona) and the game was never in doubt. The “good” bullpen (Rafael Perez, Rafael Betancourt, Joe Borowski) came in to toss 3 2/3 innings of 1 run baseball to make sure there was no treat to the lead.

And then in Game 3, after averaging 7.5 runs in the first two games, the Tribe put up a giant goose egg and squandered a gem of an outing by a pitcher (Paul Byrd), who threw 8 innings of 3-hit shut-out, baseball before allowing a base runner in the ninth who scored after a questionable call by Uncle Eric in deciding to pitch to the Jays’ only All-Star and hottest hitter instead of intentionally walking him to set up the double play. This was after the Indians loaded the bases in the top of the ninth and failed to score as they failed to come through in the clutch.

This has been how the first half of the season has gone from day one… an ongoing roller coaster of what to expect with the same trends over and over. The Tribe has managed to persevere despite their shortcomings. Last year they were 18 games out at the All-Star break, this year they are 1. They have 4 days off until they have a 6 game home stand against AL Central bottom feeders Kansas City and Chicago. Let’s keep the recent trend of monster second halves going, boys. We’re going to need it.