Saturday, April 27, 2013

The One Where Everyone Pitched

I want my baseball back! Well I mean I wanted it back before tonight. No baseball since 5-ish on Wednesday was just tragic. Tragic! I was so crabby by the time I went to bed on Friday that I think I lost a few friends.

Friday I actually picked a game at random to listen to on Gameday Audio. It was the Cubs/Marlins game and I listened to the Cubs radio feed. It was interesting to hear another team's radio. The most striking difference was the lack of Progressive commercials. Yes they had commercials with jingles but none of them featured Flo singing. I only listened to like 4 innings but I swear I didn't hear too many repeats, either. Also, for those of you who dislike Jim Rosenhaus, I urge you to listen to some other random team's broadcast and try to tell me that everyone else in the league doesn't sound as "flat" as Rosie. It's not Rosenhaus that's the "problem" you have with the Tribe's radio team - it's anyone who's not Tom Hamilton. Seriously, guys - Jim Rosenhaus is as good as it gets after the upper echelon of baseball announcing greats. Plus he's a great reporter and statistician. And an upstanding citizen.

Anyway, today I missed the beginning of our game even though I eagerly awaited it. But I was busy entertaining some guests for my birthday, including my niece who was having her first backyard baseball practice! And eating cake. Baseball is awesome but you only get your own birthday cake once a year so I had to set aside baseball in favor of my cake for a minute.

I picked it up in the 4th inning and then in order to get my baseball blood level back up, I waited for the game to go into archive so I could listen to the first 4 innings. I swear there's nothing like hearing Hammy's welcome at the beginning of each game. So full of hope and happiness! And it being baseball, you never know what the next 9 innings will bring. Such bliss!

Of course it's kind of crummy when seconds later you realize that not only did the team lose but they looked fairly bad and you're just going to have to listen to 9 innings to get to the tortorous ending but, oh well. At least it wasn't a rain-out!

Scott Kazmir was the starter today. He wasn't leave-him-out-there bad but he still didn't make it to the 6th inning. He gave up 5 hits and 2 earned runs in 5 innings and struck out 4. Not awful but I guess he looked bad enough for Francona to want him out. He did give up a walk and a home run, which nobody likes to see.

Here's a stat for you - our starters have given up 85% of our pitching staff's home runs (23 of 27) but only pitched 66% of our total innings. We've given up the 4th most homers in the league.

Moving on...

What happened next was weird. First Cody Allen came in for the 6th and was really great - he got a strikeout, a groundout and a popout and after only 10 pitches was able to come back for the 7th. He pitched to one batter and got one out in the 7th. Then they pulled him for Hagadone, who got one strikeout and gave up a single...and they pulled him for Bryan Shaw.

Bryan Shaw had some sort of meltdown. He immediately gave up a stolen base, then threw wild, then walked a guy who then stole a base, then he walked another guy and by the time the bases were loaded, someone else was warmed up, thank Og.

Rich Hill came in and...walked a run in.

Luckilly it seems that while Shaw was melting down they had two guys up throwing, so Joe Smith came in and not only got the third out but also got the assist on the third out. Mental.

Matt Albers was back for the first time since April 8 (paternity leave) and I guess a 19-day rest isn't as stressful as a 4-day rest (Hagadone, Shaw, Hill) so he was able to have a quiet 1-2-3 8th inning. Good grief!

Now, the pitching looked sorry but at least the people in charge were able to keep the scoring damage to a minimum. A real team - and by a real team I mean this team when everybody has their heads on straight - should have no problem overcoming a 3-run deficit. But it didn't happen tonight because they were batting poorly again, back to the RISP and LOB problems. Problems becoming so typical that I don't have to spell them out for you.

One thing I will say is that I just noticed that Smiling Meryl and her Magic Cookie didn't make an appearance in our last blog entry and, I don't know - it was the first night game we've lost since she first Gleemed. I'm going to include her here just in case.
You'll get 'em next time!
So tonight the team actually got 9 hits compared to KC's 6 hits. But then again KC got 5 walks to our 1. The Tribe actually almost sort of pulled it off in the 9th inning and I was quite happy to have gripping baseball for a minute but in the end it didn't work out.

Cousin Michael, of course, had a stellar night now that he's settling in to his leadoff position. Michael Bourn got his stitches out, by the way. Brantley went 2 for 5 with those 2 hits as a double and a triple! His triple was a 2-RBI triple in the 9th to bring us not only exciting baseball but also bring us within one run! Oh yeah he also has a 5-game hitting streak and has 12 hits in his last 10 games. Never say die, Michael!

Kipnis had a good game too, also going 2 for 5. No RBI or extra bases, and he struck out all of the other 3 times but he was hitting about .130 at the beginning of the month so this is progress. Apparently he is putting the loss of the game squarely on his own shoulders because his final strikeout came in the 9th with a man on third (Brantley) and the last called strike was passed and instead of running to first, Kipnis stood still and was tagged out. He just posted this on Twitter:

Classy kid, I say.

Asdrubal and Swisher both got hits tonight, and Swisher also walked, but both of them were guilty of Egregious LOB. Swisher hit into a double play with two men on, and Asdrubal got the third out with a man on second. Five LOB between them.

Any day, guys!

Santana is still weakly hot, going 1 for 4 today. Doesn't help that he's behind Giambi who is never hot. Reynolds is after Santana but he only went 1 for 4 as well. At least he got that 1, though - he was able to score on Brantley's triple! Santana does have a nice and believeable .345 batting average (5th in the league) but although it's a fairly strong stat and a fairly accurate representation of his time at the plate this year, he's still pretty far behind everyone else at the top of the list as far as at-bats go (58 to Adam Jones' 100).

Lonnie Chisenhall is still chipping away at the game. He went 0 for 4 but he got on base due to an error and was able to come home on Brantley's triple. He did leave 4 guys on base so boo for that, Chiz. Boo!

Drew Stubbs, who is increasingly impressing me a-la Casey Blake or Einar Diaz, quietly went 1 for 4 today too.  He had the courtesy to only leave 2 on base.

So that's today's story. Tomorrow they are putting on TWO baseball games just for MEEEEEEE! I plan to spend my birthday listening to 6 hours of baseball and eating pizza and I think hanging Super Mario decals in my bathroom. I hope all of these things are well worth the wait, because I have been excited about all of them all week!

Tomorrow at 2:10 (yay I get to sleep in even LATER!) is Justin Masterson versus RHP 3.86. Super high probability of win-ness in that one, right? At 8:10 is Corey Kluber (oh!) versus some other dude who has not pitched this year. So that will be totally interesting.

I can't WAIT!!! See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"He's pitching kind of like he's in college - once a week."
- Tom Hamilton on Scott Kazmir

"If Billy Butler ever gets picked off, it would be an earth-shattering event. He doesn't run, he's a plodder, so he never has much of a lead."
- Tom Hamilton

"You should see all the kindling at home plate. It looks like someone was splitting wood for the winter and went to split a log and it went all over the place."
- Tom Hamilton

"You can hear the Royals fans. They want [umpire] Cling Fagan to immediately have LASIK surgery."
- Tom Hamilton

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