W: Porcello (12-8) L: Laffey (7-4) S: Rodney (31)
Normally, holding the opponent to fewer runs than you make errors is a good thing.
1) Hilarity at the Ballyard
Great googly moogly.
Listen, there is no guarantee that the Indians would have won the game had they played even adequate defense last night. A couple of the errors were harmless (from the standpoint of the scoreboard), and the Tribe certainly wasn't putting much together against Rick Porcello. Porcello sailed through 7 innings in only 80 pitches, and the Indians batted 1-for-2 with runners in scoring position, scoring one run.
But I can guarantee you this: adequate defense would have cut down the knee-slapping buffoonery by a very significant margin.
Look: it is one thing to make one error on a play, but Jhonny Peralta's error-bifecta in the 4th inning was truly special: after clanging the ball off his oven mitt, he made up for this with a spectacular blindfolded throw to Nobody Whatsoever, who had been removed from the 40-man roster before the game and thus was thoroughly out of position to make the play. This throw rivalled that of John Bale the other night on a bases-loaded double-play ball. It was as if Peralta threw the ball with a jai alai cesta woven from cooked pasta. I have no idea where this throw came from. I am thinking from Planet REM Sleep, or possibly Petite Mal Mountain.
The official scorer is the only thing standing in the way of Luis Valbuena joining Peralta in the annals of "two errors on the same play:" frankly, Magglio Ordonez' "infield single" was no such thing. It was a Frying Pan Special, and Valbuena compounded this bit of butchery with an atrocious throw that allowed Placido Polanco to reach third base and score on a sacrifice fly. Had he been content with Simple Butchery instead of Complex, the run would not have scored.
But special mention must be made of Asdrubal Cabrera's rather spectacular error in the bottom of the 8th, on which CATCHER Gerald Laird reached THIRD BASE. Now, this is where I have to admit, I did not see this play. I had family obligations and had no stomach for watching a replay on MLB.tv. But I am trying to envision exactly what kind of throw it would take from shortstop to allow the opposing CATCHER to get to THIRD BASE on a GROUND BALL TO SHORT. This rivals by befuddlement with Einar Diaz hitting a "double to third" some years ago. Granted, Laird is faster than the average catcher, which is like being classier than the average Real Housewife of Atlanta. However, I am thinking the throw skipped past Andy Marte at first base, bounced off the tarp, was scooped up by the first base coach, who ran down the line, fell down, tossed the ball to the ball girl, who got Shin-Soo Choo's autograph with a caligraphy brush, held the ball aloft for the Jumbotron, handed the ball back to Marte, who rolled it to third as if playing bocce. Otherwise, I'm at a loss.
Kind of like Aaron Laffey.
2) Evidence Aaron Laffey reads The B-List!
"I think I hurt myself tonight by walking four guys," Laffey said. "I can't keep going that way with the walks."
3) The continued evolution of Laffey as Cleveland Ace
After adding C.C. Sabathia's "Inning of CrapTM" to his repertoire, Laffey continued his development with the "Cliff Lee Lack of Support" outing. Not only did the Indians contribute two unearned runs to the cause, they steadfastly refused to hit with any real quality, and meekly offered Laffey one run while he was in the game.
Snideness and Doofus Defense aside, Laffey pitched admirably last night. Of his 7 hits allowed, only 1 was for extra bases (a double, but it hurt him, as that runner scored on a single). He walked 4 guys, which was discouraging, although he erased two of them on double plays. His sinker had good life, inducing 10 groundouts to 6 fly outs. And he held the Tigers hitless with runners in scoring position (although he did give up a sac fly, which is a negative result).
Look, two of the batters he walked were Miguel Cabrera. Miguel Cabrera is hitting .337/.401/.563 with 30 doubles and 27 homers. He is a legitimate MVP candidate (in that he should be mentioned as a "first cut" candidate: in my opinion, Joe Mauer laps the field, but Miguel Cabrera is having an excellent season) and slugs .641 at home. If you're going to pitch carefully to one guy in the Detroit lineup, it should be Miguel Cabrera. And those walks should have been meaningless: in the 5th, Cabrera's two-out walk was followed by a Marcus Thames strikeout, while in the 4th, Peralta's butchery allowed Cabrera to score from second (on what should probably have been a double play, followed by a fly out to end the inning).
Four walks is still too many walks. But while surrounded by Sooper Goober Action, Laffey kept his composure and made good pitches, good enough to allow the Tribe to put the tying run on base in the 9th. That may not be Definitive Ace Quality, but it's what a team needs from its better starters, which describes Laffey at this point in the season.
4) Pronk smash!
The lesson here is, Travis Hafner can still hit a hanging breaking ball over the fence.
I am not convinced that this is a terribly meaningful lesson.
(But he did hit it hard.)
5) Rocket in my pocket
For a guy with "no power," Michael Brantley hits the ball HARD.
Leading off the third inning, Brantley tattooed a Porcello offering straight back at Porcello. Now, you might describe this as, "Porcello stuck out his glove and made the catch," but this is not what I saw. What I was was, "Rick Porcello rotated his hips in an effort to GET OUT OF THE WAY, and his glove happened to be in the ball's path."
Brantley made it seven feet down the baseline before he was out.
6) Captain Clutch meets Captain Klutz
Jhonny Peralta started his game on a high note, driving an RBI single to left to score the game's first run. The RBI came with two outs as well. (I was going to say "to boot," but this seemed like a bad turn of phrase while talking about Peralta's game.)
After that, Peralta was ... less good.
First, he was thrown out trying to take second on the throw home.
Then he made three errors.
And then he grounded into a game-ending double play with runners on first and third in a 4-2 ballgame.
I understand why reporters might be disappointed that Peralta fled the scene of the Performance Art without talking to them, and yeah, it's better when a guy sticks around to face questions after a bad game, but really ... I can sympathize with Peralta's actions here as well.
However, he should wear a big red clown nose for today's game.
7) By the way
Jhonny Peralta has the second-most RBI on the team, behind Choo. He has done this in 7 fewer games than Choo and trails by 2 RBI (72 to 70).
And, it should be mentioned that although Peralta had three errors on two plays, he made several plays at third base (including a liner snare) that could be described as "good plays." It was much more of a "bad game" than any global illustration of an inability to play third base.
8) Nice hose!
Ha ha! Just kidding.
9) Dept. of Perezes
Chris Perez did allow his inherited baserunner to score, but also struck out pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff swinging and ended the inning with no more damage after a flyout by Brandon Inge.
Raffy Perez did not give up a hit or a walk in a scoreless inning of work.