August 17th, 2011
Cleveland Indians - 4
Chicago White Sox - 1
W: Fausto Carmona (6-12) L: Mark Buehrle (10-6) S: Chris Perez (26)
The Indians needed this, Fausto Carmona needed this. Heck, we all really needed this one. The White Sox were starting to take a sledgehammer to the psyche of everyone, especially Carmona. You could hear Matt Underwood talk about the steely resolve that Carmona had on the bus and you could see him in the dugout of this one with just a blank stare in his face, as if he was in deep thought about something.
That my friends, is one of two things. Either, "oh my..... I'm getting my brains pounded in to the point I can't blink" or focus.
Based off what that man did last night, I'd say it was focus. He ended up walking a few late, which landed him with three walks and four hits in his final line. Carmona was lock-down last night. He got the double play when he needed to and other than that Alex-I Ramirez home run in the second, he was really on-point. It really showed a whole heck of a lot of moxie when that situation rolled around again in the sixth. Earlier, the Indians scored and he gave up the home run to tie it.
In the sixth, the Indians gave him the lead again, and he shut it down.
And the biggest thing in all of this? Chris Perez ended up being the only member of the bullpen that needed to be used and he threw just 12 pitches. Fabulous. Fausto not only saved the bullpen, he rested it.
What more can you say? He did his job and he did against a team that has tortured him all year. It started on Opening Day and it just seemed as if they had his number this year. So much so, Manny Acta shuffled his rotation last time out to make sure Carmona missed the Sox.
"There was a time that we kind of skipped him, moved him around, so he didn't have to face them," Acta admitted after Wednesday's victory. "But he's been throwing the ball well, and this time around, we felt confident enough that he could come over here and give us a good outing."
Now this time. He had no choice and he went out and pitched like he had no choice. That's the Carmona we love to see and we've seen the trend go upwards lately with him. If this is the high-point, where that trend reaches a spot where it's going to even out and we are going to get this Carmona again.
Sign me up. Sign me up right now.
Carmona went on to say that he didn't think about what happened in the past. He just went out and did his job and he did his job very well. So well, it really didn't matter that the offense was 3-for-8 with RISP. They've had worse games in that department, so for them to just get the hits, was great.
"We got enough hits today -- going 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position -- and we were just glad we were able to get those clutch hits," Acta said. "I mean, that was enough for Fausto the way he was throwing the ball. When you go up against Buehrle, you have to battle every game, because he just does a terrific job of stopping the running game and all that out there."
Since July 18th against Minnesota in the second game of the double header when he returned from his injuries, take a look at what Carmona has done.
6 GS: 2-2, 41 IP, 2.63 ERA, 20 K, 12 BB
He's finding a groove, he's been really good since then. You may have not noticed, but he's kept his team in every start since then. He's done his job and that's really huge with Masterson pitching the way he is, Tomlin, and the addition of Ubaldo. There's a lot to feel good about in regards to this rotation and Carmona is a part of it.
A game under three hours. Thank you dear lord baby Jesus, for this bountiful feast of KFC and Taco Bell.
The game went considerably quicker in the early innings because we were graced by the presence of Jody Gerut. We got to hear the wonderful stylings of the former Indian, Brewer, Padre, Pirate, Cub, and Mariner. Man that is a lot of teams, he really was everywhere.
People are probably wondering what is with my unhealthy obsession with Gerut. Look people, we all had that first player we were really really attached to. I can't help it. Gerut is my guy. He was the man when I really started truly caring for this tam on an unhealthy obsession level and if my man crush is also unhealthy, then so be it.
I thought he was just darn fantastic in the booth last night. Maybe a little biased, but I found him really insightful. He clearly has a close eye on the game and he sounded like broadcasting was something he was interested in. He's a smart guy, was a smart player I think he'd be good with some time.
I'll stop now, but stop hating on Jody. So what if he only really had a few good years and was injury prone. He's good people and played for this team at a period of time that wasn't all that fun to be a fan and he went out there and played hard. That deserves respect.
An all-around very impressive night for the offense though. They only scored four runs, but you have to tip your hat to the 12 hit effort. It was a lineup made-up largely of left-handed hitters with a left-handed pitcher in Buehrle on the mound. But we all know Jack Hannahan's not only torching lefties, but the White Sox as well. And all of those guys like Fukudome and Hannahan really contributed.
Speaking of. How about that defensive performance by the vacuum? It seemed like he was getting everything last night and making some really legit throws. In fact, as I quickly scan play-by-play, Hannahan had five put-outs and the last one in the ninth to end the game was pretty solid. Asdrubal was pretty clutch too last night with the glove.
Back to the offense... Shin-Soo Choo anyone? His defense continues to be puzzling, the routes he takes to some balls are just flat out, bizarre. But I'll put up with it if he goes 3-for-5 every other night. Big game for Choo because he came through with that big RBI. He's starting to get going and our prayers might have been answered. We may have gotten 2010 Choo back, which will be huge for this offense.
[ABOUT LAST NIGHT]
Yeah, so about the other night. Looks like everyone was peeved off about the umpires. I wasn't so crazy about it. Twitter was all a-twitter, everyone and their mom on STO was voicing out (and of course Drennan was off his rocker crazy calling for the ump's head on a silver platter just because he umped a few games back in the day), and yeah.
I'm not going to go crazy over it. Yes there were several horrendous calls. The strike zone was obnoxiously large at some points in the game. That or Laz Diaz wasn't wearing his contacts last night. Who the heck knows. The obstruction call was bogus. But the Indians had plenty of chances to make up for the excuses and make them a moot point.
Still, there is some fall-out from all that. Tony Sipp was ejected for one. Seeing as how I went to sleep, I totally missed the Sipp play at first, but you can't really blame the ump for missing the call since he was in the way.
"He said [LaPorta] didn't touch him," Sipp said. "I can take, 'All right, I didn't see it,' or maybe, 'I'm not sure.' But he was like, 'He absolutely did not touch him.'"
I can see why Sipp would get crazy about that. As Manny Acta said, he missed the play, human element. But if you are giving the reasoning to Sipp when he knows 100 percent what happened, then you got egg on your face and Sipp has a real reason to be angry.
Not sure if it's a reason to get ran, but, okay. Some thought Manny Acta should have gotten riled up to the point of ejection. I'm not sure if that's the answer. Sure the calls were bad, but there wasn't anyone to fire up last night. The Indians were hitting, they were in that game. The bullpen was pitching well. He didn't need to motivate anyone. Him staying in the game and keeping his cool would have helped a lot more than getting run would.
Acta did keep his cool, but he did question everything that went wrong and also yesterday, was a little vocal about that to the media. In fact, other than saying he liked that umpiring crew and that they had a rough night, Acta wasn't very complimentary, especially about the obstruction call mentioned earlier. Let's just take a look here.
"Oh, God," Acta replied prior to Wednesday's game in Chciago. "Do you have 30 minutes?"
"It's unbelievable," Acta said, "that the defense committed the obstruction and the offense was penalized. It's a sure double. The ball went by the right fielder. My guy should've been on second base. ... I still feel that it should've been a judgment call."
- "Can I teach my shortstop from now on now to tackle every runner that goes through second base?" Acta said. "Because what's the ruling going to be? Obstruction, he gets third base. And then the guy who hit the ball, well, let's see if he knows the rulebook."
"That has to be brought up to whoever is supervising these guys or the league. It has to. Imagine if every team now teaches their shortstop to do that. No one is going to be able to score on a ball in the gap."
"So we've got one more fundamental play to work on during Spring Training. Any time a guy is on first and somebody hits a double toward right field, just tackle the runner at second base."
Tell us, how you really feel, Manny....
Let's back up here. I think I understand the umpire's point of view. They are in a position to make a judgment call. Brantley will automatically get third base, no questions, he made it anyway. But with Choo, they can choose to award him second or not if they think the play obstructed him from advancing.
They clearly didn't, but there may have been some hesitation. Perhaps they were not in a position to judge if Choo was stopping and going back because of what happened at second, or because he didn't want to advance out of fear of the ball coming in from right.
Now, Choo was looking straight ahead. If he did look into right field, it was a very quick glance that I can't notice from the videos. So my assumption is that the umpires were unsure of Choo's thinking and decided to just not give him second. Either way, they fouled up the call and I think if they were to give Choo second, they would have had less of a fight from Ozzie and out-cry from White Sox fans than they got from Acta and Tribe fans.
But what's done is done.
Out of the lineup once again was Jason Kipnis, but Manny Acta was very firm about him being in the starting lineup tonight in the series finale against the White Sox.
"He's going to start playing tomorrow," Acta said prior to Wednesday's game. "I'm very impressed that this guy has been able to go through this and be able to play. We all know how those injuries are."
Acta said that the batting practice he took was very "intense" and that he also did some running to pass his test. He also mentioned that it may be a little sporadic in terms of playing time because he is going to be need to be managed.
With the way Choo was swinging, you get Kipnis back out there and this offense is starting to look like it has some real capable pieces out there on a nightly basis. Crazy how a healthy team can make things look a lot better than they actually are.
And things are good. So good, that the Indians are in a spot to actually think about postseason tickets. The Tribe released postseason ticket options yesterday. You can put down a deposit on a 2012 season ticket plan and guarentee yourself some 2011 postseason tickets if necessary or order a partial season ticket plan for the rest of this season.
Or just enter the lottery. You can find out all the information on the Indians website.
After coming on in relief on Tuesday night, David Huff greater appreciates the life of a relief pitcher. That was a real rough spot to come in with. Some relievers don't even get brought into those situations with runners on and less than two outs.
"I've got a lot of respect for relievers," Huff said on Wednesday. "That's a tough job. That's a really tough job. As a starter, you come in, clean inning, throw as long as you can. It's a way different mentality."
We saw with Carmona years ago, it's not an easy job. Not everyone is made out to be a reliever, even if they have the stuff. It just doesn't always translate and it is a tough job. So it's nice of Huff to get a taste of it to see what it is all about. Maybe it will give him a different perspective about things.
As if the Hannahan story from yesterday wasn't enough. Jordan Bastian has more on it, with more quotes from Jack Hannahan and Justin Masterson. This one from Manny Acta stands out though.
"I'm not surprised at all, and I'm proud of them, too," Acta said. "Especially being a young team. You're talking about a team where a bunch of guys are making the league minimum or barely over that. For them to be so unselfish and do all that, that's what's going to make this special for years to come."
You can't help but feel good about this story. What else can you say? Such an unselfish thing for a team to do. Very small by each player on the team, but it turned out to be a really big thing.
Just in case you were wondering, Drew Pomeranz was dandy in his Tulsa debut for the Rockies. He went seven scoreless, picking up his first win for the club and giving up just two hits with four strikeouts. He had a perfect game through six innings.
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
I'm suspending Minor League Tweet of the Day to bring you Chris Perez Tweet of the Century. You probably josh around with your buddies about college football all the time. Trust me, I'm a fan of that team that people around these parts don't even acknowledge by name, the Michigan Wolverines.
But man, you know you can take the fooling and messing when you can unleash a tweet like this about your alma mater and their recent allegations.
I'm not upset about the U allegations, I'm mad we didn't win anything while we were cheating.
Now Chris Perez, that is a quality tweet.
Days Without a Tweet: 86
You can read more Morning Rundown and other features on Nino's blog, The Tribe Daily.