I am going to keep this short and sweet because you can basically use the same script for every single game of the 2008 season for the Cleveland Indians. In fact, it was parodied quite accurately by Steve Buffman of The Cleveland Fan in his daily "B-List" game recaps. But I am more keeping it short and sweet for my health more than anything else.
For the 2008 Cleveland Indians to have a chance to win a baseball game three things must happen:
- The pitching staff must give up 3 runs or less. This would hopefully include a quality start above and beyond a quality start for the Indians starting pitcher.
- The Indians must score 4 runs in the game. They are 22-10 when they do that and that is very good.
- The Bullpen, which I have named The Son of the Bullpen from Hell, has to pitch effectively and either keep the Indians in the game by not letting the opponent extend the lead or not blow the slim lead they have been handed.
Two out of three and the Indians have a shot. Sometimes the Tribe struggles to get ANY of the three and to quote Gilbert Gottfried. "That is not good." Today they managed only one of three, that being Item #3, as "crafty veteran" Scott Elarton and rookie Ed Mujica worked 4 scoreless innings in relief. Eddie Moo worked himself into a little jam in the 8th but worked his way out of it, something an Indians reliever hasn't done since the Summer Solstice.
Item #1 was not even close as newly promoted Jeremy Sowers was rusty in his third start of the season. Who knows if it has anything to do with him being up and down three times already this year but it will be interesting how he bounces back in his next start as he is here to stay for now. Aaron Laffey was able to do it after getting roughed up and Sowers will need to do so as well. With Jake Westbrook done for the year (and part of 2009) and Fausto Carmon still on the DL "The Professor" has a chance to show us that 2006 was no fluke for him.
With this offense, successfully completing Item #2 is a pipe dream right now. Two runs on five hits today. Only one double by Shin-soo Choo. Grady Sizemore had a single bounce off the wall. Nothing else got off the ground. Ugly just pain ugly.
Jhonny Peralta continues to be putrid when it counts the most and kills rallies like nobody's business. With runners on 1st and 2nd and one out in the 6th, he hit what could have been his team-leading 10th double play but he beat the throw to 1st.
With the Tribe down 5-2 with the bases loaded and one out in the 8th, he was ahead in the count 2-0 against Tigers' ROOKIE pitcher Freddy Dolsi. He then swung at two consecutive balls up and in that were not even close to being strikes. One again, this is against Tigers' ROOKIE pitcher Freddy Dolsi.
Somehow he laid off his poison pill, a slider low and away, when every Tribe fan expected him to swing. But don't worry, he whiffed on a high fastball on the 3-2 pitch for out number two. Ben Francisco struck out immediately after to kill the rally for good. Once again the Tribe can't get hits let alone productive outs if their lives depended on it.
The Indians are now 28-35, 8.5 games behind the first place Chicago White Sox. It is the further below .500 and the furthest behind first place they have been all year. They end their longest road trip of the year, 11 games, on Monday night in Detroit. They are 4-6 on that trip and can not get back home to Progressive Field fast enough.
The Tribe has not won two games in a row in over three weeks and they were held to three or fewer runs for the 31st time in 63 games this year. They are 6-25 in those games. With the White Sox heating up the Indians cooling down, if that's possible, it's looking like a very quick end to the summer for the Tribe unless something changes dramatically and fast.