Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Told You It'd Be Epic!

Holy smokes, I knew this game had potential to be awesome but I dare say this was the most awesome game of the season thus far!

Two things needed to happen, which are sort of "Duh" things but they are harder than they sound. One was that Ubaldo needed to be absolutely on top of his game. Easier said than done, right? And two was that the team had to not be stymied by Verlander.

Ubaldo, Ubaldo - you are winning me over! Your first 3 awful starts made me so mad but your next 3 (including this one) are unprecedented for Indian Ubaldo thus far. I am just about ready to start discussing Ubaldo again because he feels real.

As for Verlander, with Verlander's ERA of 1.55 you'd think he'd be hard to hit but with our record against Cy Young Award winners this year, you'd think it'd be on problem. Turns out it was no problem! w00t!

Ubaldo had a quality start, going 6 innings and giving up just 1 run on a solo homer. Nick Hagadone, who everyone loves and who has been pitching superbly lately, came in and was just powerless against the Detroit lineup. He gave up a double and 2 walks before someone was wise enough to yank him.

Cody Allen came in to get the job done and get some outs in the 7th, but technically he didn't fare too well either. He gave up a sac fly and then a triple that scored all of Hagadone's baserunners. Then a ground out that sent Allen's third base guy home. Man, kids today - right?!

Joe Smith was there for the 8th, thank goodness. But the Tigers were pretty pumped up by then, down only 7-5, so Smith struggled a bit and almost suffered the indecency of  giving up a run. He hit Cecil Fielder then walked V-Mart but then was saved by the grace of Kipnis (who was a bit of a hero tonight, altogether). The double play sounded awesome on the radio - Tom Hamilton was, to put it mildly, dazzled - but I can't find a clip online yet. Anyway Kipnis had an amazing snag behind second to start a double play. Smith got out of it no worse for the wear!

Edit: Here it is!

Chris Perez...ay ay ay! What is he DOING to us? That's 3 appearances in a row that have been wrought with drama. First he strikes out Jhonny. Then there's an error at first. Nick Swisher literally committed an error and could not be more embarrassed!

Then there was a single and a FC, leaving runners at the corners for Torii Hunter, who got that one hit that Perez always gives up, but it was an RBI hit so now the score is 7-6 in the 9th with 2 outs and Miguel Cabrera up.  Perez gets up on him 2-0 and it's like WOAH! But then the count evens out and Miggy puts it in play - with a dribbler to third base and that's it. BALLGAME!

Holy schnikes was that a heartstopper! Again!

The team's hitting was as impressive as we've seen all year, I think. Yes they've beaten Cy Young Award winners this year, but never guys with a 1.55 ERA. And they did it with NO home runs! Now I love homers as much as the next fan but it's a different intensity when you have a game of little hits.

I was sort of worried that this team wouldn't be able to pull it off. Sort of due to their performance yesterday and also because I knew they did so well last year against Verlander. That sounds backwards but how many of the dudes in this lineup were in last year's lineup? Four. The answer is four guys. So reasoning that because we beat Verlander roundly and solidly last year would be useless applied to this year. But, the other 5 guys are clearly pros, and well worth whatever it cost to get them because they hung in there with our veteran Indians and got the job done. STIKIN DONE!!

So Michael Bourn appears to be back, without missing a step, unless you count yesterday's game as a step. But perhaps he's one of those "two steps at a time" guys? Whatever the case, he was back in the groove today going 2 for 6, with a leadoff single to begin the mashing of Verlander. He also came around to score both times he got on! Oh yeah and he also stole second allowing him to score on a subsequent single. Been Bourned!

Jason Kipnis, besides being a ninja on the field tonight, was gr8 at the plate and even gr8r on the bases. Observe. In the second inning he'd gotten on base with a single, then Asdrubal hit a double to right and Kipnis hoofed it around to home, just beating out the tag. It was beautiful. There was dirt, there was leather, there was the plate, there was the umpire yelling "SAFE!" Oh yeah and there was this year's edition of Sad Verlander:
Watching Kipnis score from first.
Oh, so you want to hear more about Asdrubal's night? He went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI tonight. NO strikeouts! He turned that aforementioned hit to right field in to a double plus. Meaning it was a double and he done snuck over to third while Kipnis was being called safe at home. His other two hits were singles, and in the first he got on with a FC. So, yeah - one of those Tribe veterans who is totally not afraid of Tiger pitching!

Nick Swisher, aside from making that error, was patient as hell today going 1 for 3 with two walks. His lone hit was an RBI double in the first to start off the devaluing of Verlander. Later he walked and then made it to second on an error, then came around to score on a single to right.

Carlos Santana had another night. He went a "typical" 1 for 4 with a walk. So that gives him a 6-game hitting streak, he's second in the league in OB% and if I am reading everything right, he's been on base in 26 of the 29 games he's played this year. Fact!

Jason Giambi didn't get any hits tonight, but he went out there and got himself 2 RBI anyway. That's 5 RBI in his last 3 games! Today the RBI came via a bases-loaded walk (oh, how embarrassing for Verlander!) and then yet another sac fly.

Did you know that the Indians lead the league in homers, and then also OB% and OBPS? The team is also second in the league in average. Huh.

Mark Reynolds got an RBI single today! Yes, the 460' home run guy got an RBI single! He also walked later and came around to score.

Michael Brantley was down in the 8 spot today, which goes to show you how awesome our lineup is right now if there's no place to put Brantley but 8th. He went 2 for 5 with a double, giving him 13 hits over his last 10 games!

Chisenhall was down at 9th today and he just was not getting anything done. In a brilliant move, Francona put Aviles in to hit for Chisenhall in the 7th with 2 men on, and Aviles got what was to become the tying run. Ack, don't you LOVE it when a plan pans out? I'm very sad that the guy we were all looking to break out this year, Chisenhall, did not but...thank Og for Aviles!

So that's it man - just a bunch of little teeny tiny important hits and plays that after all was said and done, turned in to a huuuge win over Justin Verlander and the Tigers. Our 6th Cy Young Award winner beat! Who's even left? CC Sabathia, King Felix, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Greinke. Not playing the Giants or Dodgers this year so really we've only got 2 more to face and beat!

Tomorrow is the rubber match at 1:08 starring "I Heart" Zach McAllister versus RHP 7.52. 7.52? Wow the way we treated that 1.55 ERA today, by my awesome math we should get 19 runs over 5 innings! You (and mom) had better tune in!

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Velander is not the warm and fuzzy type."
- Tom Hamilton on a short visit from the pitching coach

"It's been a long, long time since Verlander has thrown 34 pitches in the first inning of any game."
- Tom Hamilton (excepting the All Star game)

"The Indians really haven't had this good of a leadoff hitter since Kenny Lofton."
- Tom Hamilton

"How much bad food do you think they eat, Rosie?"
- Tom Hamilton on the life of a baseball scout

"In a 5-1 ballgame, Tito Francona has said 'I have knocked you down to the canvas, now I'd like to knock you out of the ring.'"
- Tom Hamilton on pinch hitting for Chisenhall

"It's so encouraging to see that this team can score without waiting for the 3-run homerun."
- Jim Rosenhaus

"If he swings here you'd better start running to Toledo [to catch it]."
- Tom Hamilton on Infante's 3-0 count

"It's 420 to center, which is deeper than any park outside of Yellowstone."
- Tom Hamilton

No comments:

Post a Comment