There is something about that ballpark in Cleveland that seems to bring out the worst in Tampa Bay. When I heard that the Rays were 1-for-their-last-15 in Progressive Field I thought, ‘Well, that’s not much of a stat… The Rays STUNK in those years! They didn’t get good until last season when they won the American League.’ So, the fact that the Tribe have a winning record vs the Rays in the Prog didn’t mean much to me going into this 4-game series.
Game 1 did NOT start well! Carmona just collapsed in the 2nd when he walked four straight! At the end of the 2nd, TB led 5-0 and at the end of the 4th, they led 10-0… This is where I shut the game off! It’s not like me to quit watching a game because my team it doing badly, but after a very bad day and seeing the Tribe basically kill themselves in this game, I shut it off, read a little bit of ‘The Yankee Years’ and went to bed.
I woke up around 2am, came downstairs and said ‘Ok, how bad did do?’ I logged on the ESPN and saw one hell of a surprise! WE WON! Holy Crap! WE WON! Victor Martinez with the 2-run single to win it in the classic ‘Bottom-of the 9th, 2-Strikes, 2-Out, Game-on-the-Line’ fashion that every kid imagines themselves in in their backyard growing up. WOW! If you think I was disapointed that I missed this epic comeback, you’re wrong! I was jumping up and down yelling ‘YES! YES! YES!’ Memorial Day was a memorable one for the Tribe.
I didn’t listen to Game 2 of this series because of the Cavs playoffs. But, I did follow it on ESPN’s GameCast and was happy to see the Indians win 5-1. I was even happier that all the points scored was via the Home Run! (Take THAT New Yankee Stadium!) Any hope the Rays had to prove that the game before was a fluke were ended early. Pavano was shut-out over seven complete inning only giving up the one run. He’s definitely gotten better in the last few starts.
Before Game 3, There was a 2-hour rain delay before it started so I miss the real start about 8:30 or so. Glad I did too, The Rays got off to a fast start by scoring 5 in the 1st. But the Indians responded with 5-runs of their own in the 2nd. Tampa tied it in the 3rd, but the Tribe also took over in that inning and won the game 12-7. There was also one other thing at the game that made that night special…
MIKE AND MIKE!!!http://espn.go.com/broadband/player.swf?mediaId=4212128
They even broadcasted the ESPN Radio show from Progressive Field the next day for the ESPN2 show.
Game 4 was a mid-afternoon game that was also started late due to rain. Not much to say about this one other than the Tribe won 2-1, Martinez drove in both runs for the Indians (his third straight game with two RBIs), and the Rays have now lost 17 straight game in Cleveland.
A 4-game sweep. I didn’t think I was gonna see one this season. Now, we face the Yankees for another 4-game set. I’m interested to see how we play them now the we’ve won 4-in-a-row. I think we can win tonight (Lee on the mound) and Sunday (Pavano) but I’m not so sure about Saturday or Monday’s game. We’ll just have to see waht happens.
…But what a series for the Tribe! Against the AL Champs no less!
‘Bout time things started to go our way!
By the way: I will be co-hosting the sports talk-show I help work on this week. I’ll be on Sports PowerTalk this Sunday from 4-7pm on WZIP 88.1 Akron. If you don’t live in that area, you can listen online at WZIP.fm I really hope you guys will check it out!
Images found via Yahoo! Image Search
Ok… I won’t lie to you, Tribe. After the 2nd inning of today’s game, I was in search of that ‘Panic Button’ I was talking about on Opening Day. I mean, I had my doubts on Carl Pavano starting today but… down 9-1 at the end of the 2ND?! DAMN!
What is it with our staring pitching so far? I can give Cliff Lee some slack for his performance. After all, He was struck by a line drive just above his throwing elbow right before he let four 2-out runs get on the board. So what was Carmona’s and Pavano’s deal? Nerves? Or was it that we just really didn’t know how to stop the Texas hitters?
Whatever the reason, Zach Jackson did his best to get try and get us out of the hole. He’s not anywhere near taking over a starting job. But, a few more games as the long man and we could see some great things from him in the future.
The good news is for the second game in a row, the Indians didn’t just just lay down and die like they did in game 1. The bats finally came alive today with 5, yes FIVE, home runs from the Tribe in hopes of getting back into the game. Grady Sizemore hit two 2-run homers, but also struckout three times. It seems as if Victor’s slump may have been snapped as he hit also homered and Pronk hit the ball so hard in the 9th it may as well had made it half way to China is the stands weren’t in the way! Kelly Shoppach was also able to touch-’em-all today
I’ll bet if they had to play one more game vs Texas, Cleveland would of won…
Bottom Line: Texas came into this opening series ready to play… we weren’t. And by the time we were, The Rangers already knew our weak points. I have faith that the next time we let that happen won’t be for a EVERY long time.
Also, It was nice to see Omar Vizquel on the field again. I miss him here in Cleveland.
The Tribe FINALLY comes home to Progressive Field (aka “The Jake”) tomorrow for a weekend series against the Blue Jays. We’ll have Scott Lewis on the mound who had a 2.63 ERA last year. Will he fair better than our last three starters? If the Indians do their job at the plate, I think so. But, just remember… Offense scores runs, but pitching wins games.
Last time the Cleveland Indians went 0-3 to start a season, they when on to win close to 100 games that year. Once when the Yankees went 0-3, they won the ALCS… Maybe getting swept on the road to start off wasn’t the way we wanted to begin the 2009 season, but at least we know it’s not the end of it… and that we get to come home tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s a new day, Tribe. A new game. A Home Opener…
Tomorrow is Opening Day again…
Let’s make it count!
(PS: I’ll be trying to do a LIVE MLBlog tomorrow! I’ll be updating throughout the Home Opener with my thoughts and opinions about every inning or so, or whenever a big play happens. I’ll start posting about half-a-hour to an hour before the game. Be sure to check it out!)
I’ll likely go into full detail into what I think about this year’s team later this week. (I like to see or listen to a few games before I can truly give my opinions on things like this.) So, before the Tribe’s Opening Day game, here are my thoughts on the 2009 Cleveland Indians!
Grady Sizemore: I don’t think he’ll have another Gold Glove year, but he’ll deffinitly do his job in the outfield as well as in the batter’s box. I think if the #8 and #9 hitters do their work, Grady could make a run for the RBI Title.
Mark DeRosa: Sizemore’s finally getting the help he needs as the leadoff man. He played great in the WBC with a .316 AVG and I think he’ll stay hot throughout most of the MLB season and give the Indians a push when they need it. This guy is our new Casey Blake.
Victor Martinez: I’m not sure about Vic… I’m not 100% sold on the fact that shifting him to 1st base is a good thing. I think he’ll have a much better year at bat, but not knowing where he’ll be defenseivly through most of the season worries me a little.
Travis Hafner: I believe Pronk will have a much better year as well. As long as he stays healthy, he’ll snap out of his slump. I also think shifting Hafner to 1st and puting Vic at DH for part of the season is a better choice… But so far, every time I say that I get confused looks from everybody so, maybe I’m just crazy.
Jhonny Peralta: I don’t really have much to say about Peralta. I just think He’ll have a year just like last and could be in talks for the Shortstop Gold Glove. (But likely won’t win it.)
Shin-Soo Choo: I’ve always liked this guy for some reason I just can’t seem to place my finger on… The Tribe was a little worried about him in the WBC while hurt, but he played great for Korea continued to play well in Spring Training. Expect a lot of base hits and home runs from “Big League Choo” this season.
Kelly Shoppach: Maybe Shoppach’s a better choice at 1st than Victor… I don’t know. This is another guy I have little to no opinion or predictions on. I just wish Eric Wedge knew what to do at Catcher.
Ben Francisco: I think Ben will do OK. I just see more defense rather than offense coming from him.
Asdrubal Cabrera: Remember that Unassisted triple play he pulled off last season? It’s a bit of a stretch to say that he’ll pull something like that off again, But I think it’s save to say that the Indians are good at 2nd base.
Cliff Lee: I honestly believe that last year’s Cy Young winning season was a fluke for Lee. Not to say he won’t have a good year this year, but if you’re looking for him to pull off another 20+ win season, you’re crazy. I think he’ll get somewhere between 15 and 18 wins this year.
Fausto Carmona: This kid has what it takes if he could just learn to settle his nerves. I think he’ll finally figure that out this year. I can see him getting at least 14 wins this season.
Kerry Wood: I’m not going to lie… when ESPNews broke the story that Wood was traded to Cleveland, I got the biggest grin on my face! He is the final piece to our bullpen puzzle. Wood can definitely get the most saves in the AL this year.
Final Thoughts: After our heartbreak in 2007 and the disappointing season last year, I think we really have a chance this year if the Tribe can stay healthy. The AL central will be a battle between the Tribe and the Twins… with whoever coming in second winning the Wild Card.
Bottom Line: The Indians have what it takes and the tools to win. Our road to a World Series starts now!
Man, I can’t till tomorrow!
IT’S TRIBE TIME NOW!