7/19/2005

Its vibrant Hose, pale Tribe

4-0 loss, 4-0 sweep suggest Indians aren't in White Sox's league.
Burt Graeff
Plain Dealer Reporter


Hear that sound? It's the air going out of the Indians' season.
A four-game series against the Central Division-leading Chicago White Sox on Thursday ended in brutal reality with Sunday's 4-0 loss. The reality: The Tribe is not in the same league with the White Sox.

A second shutout in four games completed a stunning sweep.

It is the first time the Indians have been swept in four games by the White Sox at home since August 1963.

The series began with the Indians optimistic at getting a shot to cut into Chicago's 11-game lead. It ended with the lead swelling to 15 games.

Chicago's pitching, particularly the starters, dominated the series. It was ultimately the difference.

Starters Jose Contreras, Freddy Garcia, Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland combined to allow three earned runs in 27 innings - a 1.00 ERA. In working six shutout innings on Sunday, Garland (14-4, 3.21 ERA) allowed seven hits.

In four games, the Indians (47-45) hit .180 (22-for-122) and scored six runs in 36 innings - an average of 1.5 a game. Three of the six runs were scored in the ninth inning of Saturday's 7-5 loss. They hit .120 (3-for-25) with runners in scoring position.

"There will be peaks and valleys over a 162-game stretch," said Tribe manager Eric Wedge. "We're in a tough stretch right now, but we can't put our heads down.
"We've got to keep going, no matter how pessimistic people may get."

With Travis Hafner (mild concussion, facial contusion) out of the middle of the lineup, Wedge went with Victor Martinez batting third and Casey Blake fourth. Blake, who ended a 0-for-16 skid with a fourth-inning single, was asked if the White Sox (61-29) are the best team he's seen this season.

"No," he said. "They are a good team, but I don't think they are the best team. They are not better than we are. Right now, they've got a lot of confidence and they've got things going for them."

The loss was the Indians' fifth straight and ninth in 10 games. "We just can't quit," Blake said. "The way we're playing, the Royals could come in here and sweep us. We've got to step up and put the past behind us."

The reeling Indians open a four-game series against the Royals tonight at Jacobs Field.
There was good and bad in Sunday's loss.

The good: The Indians had eight opportunities to score with runners in scoring position. The bad: They failed each time. "We had better at-bats," Wedge said. "We had multiple situations with runners on base. The only upside is that we had runners on base."

Ronnie Belliard had three opportunities to score runners from second base, and failed. With two on in the second, he grounded into a double play; with two on and two outs in the sixth, he flied out; with two on and two outs in the eighth, he popped out. "I tried," he said, "but didn't do the job. They have good pitching.

"It seemed like when we did hit the ball hard, we hit it right at them. Right now, they have the confidence that they can beat anyone." Aaron Boone and Jody Gerut hit hard line drives that were caught by infielders in the fifth and ninth innings, respectively.

Two home runs hurt Indians starter Scott Elarton, who gave up four runs on eight hits in seven innings. A.J. Pierzynski's two-run shot in the second gave the White Sox a 3-0 lead. Tadahito Iguchi hit an 0-2 pitch over the wall in left in the third.

Elarton leads the Indians in home runs allowed - 18 in 102–†innings.
"The ball Pierzynski hit was a pretty good pitch," said Elarton (6-4, 4.75 ERA). "The most disappointing thing was the homer to Iguchi. It was a bad pitch."

Wedge said that Hafner, hit on the right side of his face by a Buehrle pitch on Saturday, was available to pinch-hit in the series finale. Wedge is hoping to have his most productive hitter - .310 batting average, 18 home runs, 63 RBI - back in the starting lineup tonight.

Note: Immediately following the game Cleveland traded Jody Gerut to the Chicago Cubs for Jason Dubois. Dubois is a utility player..can play SS, 3b and OF. is 26 and didnt even appear in a MLB game until 2004...a right handed bat.

He was demoted along with corey patterson about 2 weeks ago. His season stats dont seem too impressive but then again he wasnt an everday player. He hit 31 HR last year at AAA Iowa in the PCL -- and was voted the biggest power prospect in the PCL. He went back to AAA Iowa in the PCL July 7 and went 9 for 18.

Jody is a good young talent.
His rookie season he lead the indians in home runs and I believe was either rookie of the year or AL player of the year.

his defense is superb and would risk anything to grab a ball. He had knee surgery at the end of last year that forced him to start play at AAA buffalo but was quickly promoted back to the bigs.
I dont know much about dubois either but knowing our GM shapiro..your GM just worked the indians.

I know there were problems between him and our manager that inevitably made this trade possible. Its too bad Jody, you were really liked here. Good luck and we'll be cheering for you.

7/15/2005

Deja Vu. yet another one run loss.

Cleveland needed to come out of the gates swinging after dropping 5 of their last 6 games before the All Star break.

well, that simply didnt happen.

Kevin Millwood has to be at his wits end. It seems everytime hes pitched hes gone out there and completely shutdown teams only to have his offense fail to get on base and score runs. The story has been no different for Jake Westbrook as well.

All it took was an rbi double off the bat of Frank Thomas in the first inning to build an insermountable one run lead backed by Jose Contreras who left Clevelands offense with absolutely no answers.

The Tribes only real threat came in the 4th when they would load the bases but could not capitalize.

Millwood threw 8 brilliant innings with 9 strike outs and the lone run on 6 hits. He now drops to 3-8 with an era of 3.38

3 pivotal games remain against the sox, they have to win the next 3.

Note: This was the 23rd one run game the Chicago White Sox have won this year. 35 of their games have been won by 4 runs or fewer. Yes, they have a great bullpen which is 3rd to that of the Tribe but tonight there was simply no excuse for cleveland getting shut out.

Scott Sauerbeck, the indians other left handed reliever is due to see more time with the confidence in Arthur Rhodes shaken. Game time tomorrow night is 7:05.

7/11/2005

Westbrook his own enemy today.

Westbrook had it. He had the game in his grasp.

Cleveland took a 3-3 tie into the yankees portion of the 5th inning. Westbrook easily recorded the first two outs but would walk the next two batters that proved to be costly.

New York put together an onslaught of hits and runs when Hideki Matsui lined a basehit to give the yankees the lead. with Jason Giambi getting a walk, Ruben sierra plated 2 more runs on a base hit to right.

once again, the indians bullpen faultered. Riske, Sauerbeck, Rhodes and Howry could not contain the damage to keep this game within reach.

Gary Sheffield drove the nail through the heart when he tagged Arthur Rhodes for a 2 run home run in the 8th.

The All star break starts tomorrow and regular play will resume on Thursday.

Time to get to business: Cleveland finishes the first half with a better than expected record of 47-41. Still, it can and will be argued by tribe faithful that the win column should be well above 50.

This team has shown glimpses of the greatness GM Mark Shapiro has talked about. Despite the severe highs and lows already, they are .500, they are contenders...for now. There is still 2 and a half months left of baseball with the wildcard race stuck at a 4 way tie for 3rd place.

There are also some questions that will be answered in the coming month as far as acquisitions are concerned. Who's going? who's coming? will there be any more moves at all?

The time for the Indians to strike is now. The white sox come to town for a 4 game series followed by Kansas city and Seattle. They have 32 matchups in their next 67 games against last place or sub .500 teams.

I'm happy with what I've seen, but I'm disheartened by the lack of inconsistency and the sudden implosion of the bullpen. To watch this team lose winnable games and the way they lose them is just agonizing.

Something needs to give.

7/10/2005

Cleveland snaps skid, down yankees.

Scott Elarton came into Saturdays game looking to fulfill the new found expectations of fans after what he did against detroit last monday.

Elarton got off to a shaky start giving up back to back longballs in the first inning but immediately settled down going 7 strong with 3 strikeouts giving up 3 runs.

Clevelands offense quickly turned the yankees lead into a deficit when they would echo the yankees sentiments as Jose Hernandez and Jhonny Peralta took Darrell May deep. The indians would tag May for 3 more when Hernandez connected for another 2 run shot into left field.

Hafner added another run on his rbi double in the 9th...which is where the story really begins.

Wedge would go to his bullpen in the 7th inning only to watch Howry, Rhodes, and closer Bob Wickman fall on their face.

Howry didnt even go one inning, handing the yankees 2 runs on a single hit. Rhodes would make it no easier when he allowed a run. this would set up for Wickman

Wickman did what he does best as Ruben Sierra blasted a high fastball into the bleachers in right field, giving the yankees another run and with no outs New york had runners on 1st and 2nd. Wickman got sheffield to ground into a double play and Alex Rodriguez would ground out to end the game.

It would be Wickmans 23rd save of the year, and an absolute miracle. This game looked like the indians were trying to lose however, they end their 4 game losing streak.

Note: Brandon Phillips was called up this morning and started the game at 2nd base. I wonder what this means for Phillips, who has been touted to be apart of this organizations future, however hes had several chances to prove himself and hes failed. This maybe a way to use him as trade bait.

oh yea, the cubs won ; )

7/09/2005

What is going on.

I'm not writing a recap of tonights game. Instead I'm just going to rant and bitch.

What happened? at what point did the Cleveland Indians go from being the hottest team in baseball to getting beaten by teams that play the strategy of small ball? The indians offense has looked like a machine over the last month and a half with Travis Hafner leading the way, shredding every pitcher hes faced.

A 9 game winning streak was considered a fluke after Boston came into Jacobs Field and swept 3 games from "the best team in baseball". The offense made a valient effort in game 1, but decided to stay home the other two nights.

C.C. Sabathia is an emotional trainwreck who cant throw a strike even in batting practice. He is not an "Ace". I dont fault him for being called up at the young age of 21, but he pitches like hes schizophrenic, I never know what to expect when his turn comes up. Its pathetic that someone like Scott Elarton, a colorado rockie reject, is the Ace of the indians pitching staff.

Then theres the Cincinnati series. The reds only won one game, yes, but they completely outplayed the indians 2 of those games, save saturday nights slugfest by cleveland.

Game 3 of the tigers series seemed to be where the team lost all its gas. strangely, Hafner did not start that game. Detroit won that game and the next one.

The yankees now have taken the first 2 games of a 4 game series beating 2 of the indians best and most consistent pitchers. When did the yankees become good again? Why is it too much to ask to continue to watch the most hated team in baseball fall apart? why cant steinbrenner just die already?

with all the steroid controversy surrounding him, Jason Giambi has now come out of a season long slump to hit 4 home runs in 10 at bats. Hes been a big reason the yankees are on the streak they are. hes got his team thinking playoffs, when a month ago this team was dead.

Cleveland, on the other hand, are losing the ground in the wild card they've held for over 3 weeks. Everytime the twins lost, the tribe did too. The indians should be in first place, but with the way they're falling off they're going to start debating if they're sellers or buyers to the teams that can play and win consistently, who will be playing in October.

Inexperience, inconsistency, cheap and moronic ownership. The fate of the indians lays with the players. Their manager smacks his lips and rocks back and forth on the steps of the dugout and says "uhhh" alot. Shapiro just sits back in his lazy boy and bitches about the attendance. Hey Mark, MAYBE if you SPENT the money for IMPACT players you'd HAVE a winning team. MAYBE they wouldnt fall apart when it counted the most.

The same indians bullpen that had been so dominant through the first 70+ games of the season has become anything but certain. Riske's high fastballs have been hit so far they havent even landed yet. Rhodes' ERA has skyrocketed, Bob Wickman throws balls OVER the head of his first basemen and Rafael Betancourt tested positive for steroids.

So much for contention huh Mark?

7/07/2005

A new streak...3 losses.

The resurgent yankees have come out of nowhere, gaining ground in the AL East and wildcard by winning 6 of their last 8 games. They're getting help from teams above them, namely Baltimore, who is systematically falling apart.

The Cleveland Indians are one of those teams the yankees are chasing and tonight looked to end a 2 game skid to give themselves some breathing room.

Kevin Millwood gave up 3 runs in two innings on Alex Rodriguez's 2 run shot and Jason Giambi's solo homer. Sheffield led off the 6th with a single, Arod walked and Hideki Matsui brought in Sheffield with a base hit that ended Millwoods night to seal the win for the yankees. Derek Jeter would homer in the 7th off Fernando Cabrera.

Cleveland threatened to take the lead in the 2nd inning when Jhonny Peralta went yard on Mike Mussina's 0-2 pitch. With 2 outs the indians would get consecutive base hits started by Grady Sizemore. Sizemore would come around to score but Mussina would not allow any more.

Cliff Lee, still looking for his 10th win, will take the mound tomorrow night against Chien-Ming Wang.

The Indians have dropped 3 straight showing a drastic drop in the momentum they had just 4 days ago. The turning point seemed to be game 3 against the tigers where Travis Hafner did not start. Every player needs a day off but the obvious arguement is that you never, under any circumstance sit your hottest player.

The Yankees now sit only a game and a half behind the Tribe with 3 games left in the series. Minnesota did not win so no ground is lost, however, Baltimore won.

Note: Alot of comparison has been made lately between Jhonny Peralta and Derek Jeter. Their style of play and clutch hitting have eerie resemblence. Peralta is only 22 and playing his first full year in the Majors. His 10th home run tonight matches Jeters rookie season total.

Cora to Boston for Vasquez

Alex Cora was dealt to the red sox this morning for Minor League infielder Ramon Vasquez.

Cora has been an immense let down this season when he was supposed to be a solid backup at second and shortstop. Vazquez has started 27 games in boston but was also a bench player.

That leaves the 40(39) roster short a position player, a strong indication that the organization is planning another trade. Shapiro said Cleveland would be active in the trade market but has changed his story several times.

To me, its a costly situation anyway. Vasquez is really no upgrade. Both him and Cora are good defensive players but the aforementioned lack of offense keeps the same kind of player on each team, however I have a sneaking suspicion it was only to cut salary from the hands of a cheap front office. in any regard, Keep Vasquez in the minors.

Sure, you can never have enough talent but at the same time when your team is on a roll the slightest change can mess up the chemistry in the clubhouse.

I've beat this issue to death but for good reason. Call up Ryan Ludwick.

Ryan, 26, is a right handed hitting powerhouse who started the season in Cleveland batting .220 but hit 4 home runs in 10 at bats driving in 5. He played in 19 games before being optioned to Buffalo in May.

Fans and management have said this is the type of hitter the organization was going after but for whatever reason fail to realize he's already here. The false and ridiculous hopes in Juan Gonzalez ended when Gonzalez reinjured his hamstring again simply running to first base. It was his first game back.

Perhaps I'm biased towards some of these players (position) but these are my untouchables:

Coco
Grady
Hafner
Martinez
Broussard
Belliard
Boone (for now)
Peralta
Gerut (but if the deal is right, send him)

7/06/2005

Tribe, Tigers end with split.

Two days ago Cleveland looked like they were going to steam roll over a less than equal Detroit ballclub. The Tigers would have other plans.

C.C. Sabathia seemed to be beaten from the start never showing much control. He was well over 80 pitches by the 3rd inning but somehow worked out of several jams.

Ivan Rodriguez and Craig Monroe got on base with consecutive singles. Brandon Inge then sent a short hopper back to the mound and was easily thrown out but Rodriguez would watch the play develop and came in from second to score, just getting his hand under Victor Martinez' attempted tag.

After a Coco Crisp ground out, Travis Hafner made Jeremy Bonderman pay for pitching to him by drilling a first pitch fastball into the right field seats. Hafner has now hit 4 home runs in as many games putting his season total at 18. Peralta would drive in another run and the last one the indians would plate tonight.

Bonderman, like Maroth the previous game, simply shut down the tribes potent offense going 8 full innings, striking out 5 and only giving up 2 runs on 5 hits. He is 11-5 on the season with an ERA of 3.99

Sabathia's undoing would come in the 5th as he gave up RBI doubles by Maggalio Ordonez and Rodriguez, as well as another run on a throw he should have never made. Wedge would go to his bullpen but it would do no good as Matt Miller and Scott Sauerbeck would give up 2 more late inning runs.

Cleveland put together a small rally in the 9th when Hafner and Martinez both got on base. Peralta would score Hafner on a single but Percival would end it to get his 7th save.

Its off to New York for a 4 game series with the Yankees who have shown signs of life lately. New York has recently come into the wildcard picture tied with a severely struggling Texas team.

Note: Travis Hafner was named the American League's player of the month hitting .345 in the month of June with eight home runs and 29 rbi's. The last 22 games put him over the edge as he's been batting .402 with 10 home runs and 34 rbi's. His average now sits at .314

I can only imagine what the sports pages will have to say about Sabathia tomorrow. For a week his critics were silenced after a dominant showing against baltimore but tonight will have the hounds out for blood.

Maroth tames indians.

Jake Westbrook had finally gotten his offense to provide him run support in his last few outings but tonight he would suffer the same fate he has all season.

Cleveland would only score twice after they put up 16 runs on 27 hits in mondays doubleheader. Detroit starter Mike Maroth, who has not lost to the indians since 2003, went 6.2 solid innings surrendering only 4 hits throwing pitches where he wanted and how he wanted, never giving away what was coming.

Eric Shelton brought home Carlos Guillen as Magglio Ordonez would follow up with a 2 run homer to right field to put the tigers ahead 3-0 in the 3rd inning. Aaron boone connected in the bottom half for a solo home run. The indians would not score again until Jhonny Peraltas solo shot in the 9th. Troy Percival would earn the save.

Its not that Westbrook had a bad outing, he just made one mistake that inevitably cost his team the game. He went 5 innings striking out 6 and gave up 5 hits. Jake falls to 6-10 with an era of 4.51.

Tonights Attendance was 18,478.

C.C. Sabathia will look to feed off his dominant performance against baltimore last week as he goes against Right hander Jeremy Bonderman. first pitch is 7:05 EST.

Note: Rookie sensation Fernando Cabrera, who was called up monday from Buffalo, pitched 3 scoreless innings with 4 strikeouts. Cabrera is speculated to be the indians future closer but will be gradually worked into the role as he will make relief set up appearances if he stays in the majors this year. The kid has solid stuff and averages 97 on his fastball.

7/05/2005

Tribe embarasses hapless tigers.

Perhaps it was the holiday with sunny weather, or the 1$ hotdogs, perhaps it was the resurgence of a baseball team that saw lines stretch from the ticket windows to the doors of Gund Arena.

Whatever it was, today was special.

Scott Elarton pitched his best game ever as a Cleveland Indian and certainly one of the best of his career.

Elarton's command over his pitch selections looked like absolute witchery. He threw a complete game allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out 6 and at one point retiring 17 straight batters while only allowing a single hit through 6 innings. He did not walk one batter. Scotty struck out Ivan Rodriguez to end the game before a crowd of 26,869. All were on their feet.

The offense would have its way with Jason Johnson picking up right where it left off from sunday jumping on the Detroit right hander for 7 runs in 4 innings.

With the Indians already up 4-0, Josh bard doubled and scored on Jhonny Peralta's single to center. Sizemore would follow with a single but Coco Crisp would strike out swinging. Then came Travis Hafner.

enough said.

Hafner made it 8-0 as he absolutely demolished a 471 foot home run that disappeared into the trees in centerfield. He hit the ball so far you simply lost sight of it. Pronk would add another solo shot in the 8th that bounced off the top of the cleveland bullpen. Hafner had himself a day at the ballpark accounting for 4 hits, 5 rbis and 3 runs scored.

Broussard, Belliard and Peralta drove in the other runs as Victor Martinez pushed his hitting streak to 15 games.

Game 2.

It was indeed the 4th of July and the Indians, having already displayed their own fireworks in game one, were about to set off the grand finale.

The Tigers started Justin Verlander, a pitcher just called up from AA and immediately the tribe's offense welcomed him to the majors tagging him for 3 runs in the first inning. He would regain a bit of focus but not for long.

The crowd of 33,599 was electric and very, very loud.

In the bottom of the 8th Coco Crisp came to bat with 2 outs. He drilled a pitch to right of center that just barely stayed in the park. Tigers centerfielder Nook Logan made a valient effort but lost sight of the ball. Crisp watched it all the way, turning on the jets as he rounded 3rd to come home for an in the park home run. Jacobs field exploded into insanity but Cleveland still had something left.

Travis Hafner followed immediately with his 3rd home run of the day. launching the ball into the second deck mezzanine to put the final run on the board.

The buzz and electricity that this team is creating around the city is unmistakable and infectious. They're making their presence felt and the baseball world is taking notice. Its a very fun time to be an Indians fan.

Cleveland sweeps the double header with 2 games remaining. Westbrook gets the start on tuesday with C.C. Sabathia going on wednesday.

Note: Aaron Boone was scratched from the lineup the last 2 games due to his wife being in labour. They had a boy on sunday morning. Congratulations Aaron.

7/03/2005

Tribe takes series in dominant fashion.

The Orioles may have gone home displeased with themselves but they can be thankful for one thing, the headaches they suffered at the hands of the Tribe are over.

well, maybe tomorrow.

Sidney Ponson didnt even blink before the Indians were up 5-0 in the first inning. Ronnie Belliard and Victor Martinez got things going as both hitters accounted for rbi's and with 2 men on Ben Broussard crushed a 397 foot bomb to left center.

The 2nd inning gave way to 2 more runs right away as Grady Sizemore singled, stole second, and crossed the plate seemingly in one motion with Coco Crisp singling to bring Grady home. Ponson would not make it out of the inning.

Cleveland has had Ponson's number as he now falls to 0-7 in his last 12 starts giving up 11 home runs and 61 earned runs.

Travis Hafner hit his 4th home run in 7 games, clearing the right field wall and leaving the ball to dance in the street.

Cliff Lee wasnt over powering but pitched another solid outing as he went 6.2 innings giving up 4 earned runs on 9 hits, 2 of them coming on long balls by Luis Matos and Brian Roberts.

Matt Miller and Arthur Rhodes would work the remaining innings giving up just one hit.

Its now back home where the Tribe will face off against an improved Tigers team that saw the return of Magglio Ordonez. Its a 4 game series with monday being a double header.

Note: Bob Wickman was the only Indian selected to represent Cleveland at this years All Star game. I'm not the majority perhaps but it leaves me bitter knowing players like Sizemore, Lee, Hafner, Peralta and many others should have been strong candidates. Of course, the AL lineup is dominated by boston and new york.
I say this every year. Why doesnt Bud the moron Selig just make the All star Game Red Sox versus the Yankees. at least be honest.

Tribe left with no answers, costly errors.

On paper the pitching match up was no contest. On the field, it was an entirely different story.

Through 6 innings Kevin Millwood never looked sharp but somehow kept getting out of trouble. He would walk 5 and allowed 5 stolen bases, including 2 by Brian Roberts in the same inning, while Baltimore youngster Daniel Cabrera looked like a veteran.

Cabrera was throwing in the upper 90's all game leaving the Indians the same frustration that C.C. Sabathia did to the Orioles a night earlier. He went 7 strong innings striking out 5 while only allowing 4 hits and no runs.

Millwoods luck would only hold up for so long as his mistakes finally came back to hurt him. He would walk the first two batters in the home half of the six and with one out, Ronnie Belliard completely miscued a double play ball hit off the bat of Eli Marrero that would have ended the inning. Jay Gibbons would bat next wasting no time as he lined Millwoods first pitch over the centerfield fence. The Orioles would add another run later in the ballgame.

The Indians had little chance against Cabrera but every chance they got they couldnt take advantage of. Alex Cora led off the 5th with a triple but the next 3 batters went in order. Cora again would have an opportunity in the 7th to put some runs on the board but struck out with 2 men on base.

TheTribe wrap up the series tomorrow with a start time of 5pm EST. Cliff Lee ( 8-3 3.56 ) matches up against Sidney Ponson ( 7-5 5.35 )

Note: The Indians find themselves back in 3rd place in the wild card standings after the loss today with the Twins winning again. There is still only a game that seperates the indians, twins and orioles.

7/02/2005

Orioles hitters stifled for second straight night.

No one is doubting the pure talent of C.C. Sabathia, who has been the center of controversy lately pertaining to his sometimes "wild" temper. He is a competitive and very gifted pitcher but loses focus when he makes mistakes that often puts the game in jeopardy.

He is the youngest pitcher ever to record 50 wins before his 25th birthday, but his last few outings have been ruined due to his lack of control over emotions that a professional is taught to tame.

Tonight he took the mound for his 10th start of the season perhaps hoping to silence some of his critics who dont believe he is an "Ace" pitcher...boy did he ever silence them.

Despite an early Baltimore score, Sabathia would find his groove, never letting up allowing only one run on just 3 hits while striking out 7. He devastated the Orioles lineup with a onslaught of 99mph fastballs and ridiculous offspeed pitches that left little room for adjustment.

Sammy Sosa was a prime and frequent example. 3 times Sosa would strike out and 3 times he looked absolutely foolish, swinging so hard at one point that after the ball was already by him his back faced Sabathia.

The 6th inning would be the turning point of the game. Hafner led off with a single and Broussard walked. Belliard hit a chopper off home plate that he beat out. That would load the bases for Aaron Boone. Boone and Jody Gerut would score two runs on consecutive sacrifice flyballs as Josh Bard would double in Belliard. The Tribes offense wasnt as potent as it had been a day earlier but 3 runs would be more than enough.

Howry would relieve C.C. in the 7th as he would pitch 1 3rd of a scoreless inning. Bob Wickman allowed the first two batters in the 9th to get on base but somehow would work out of it for his 25th save of the year. The most in the Majors.

Kevin Millwood ( 3-5 3.08 ) gets the ball tomorrow as he'll face off against 2nd year pitcher Daniel Cabrera ( 5-7 5.48 ). Cabrera has never faced the Indians.


So Close: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays held a late inning lead against Minnesota only to allow a late twins rally that they couldnt counter. Had the twins lost Cleveland would have been in Sole posession of the top wild card spot.
Bob Howry is now 5-2 matching his career best that he set in 1999.

7/01/2005

The Baltimore Massacre.

Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli never had an answer tonight as he could only watch from the dugout as his team got battered around no matter who he had pitching.

Clevelands offense looked like an absolute machine as they scored 7 runs on 9 of their hits amassing 15 total. The Tribe bats seemingly so automatic at times that they got 5, 2 out rbi hits...all doubles.

Coco Crisp led off the game with a triple then came around to score on Travis Hafners ground out. Baltimore came right back on starter Jake Westbrook who surrended consecutive walks and a single that loaded the bases for Rafael Palmeiro. Palmeiro wasted no time as he missled a single into centerfield that scored 2 runs. Sal Fasano would touch Westbrook for a solo home run later on but that was it for the orioles who have been struggling terribly after getting off to such a great start.

Jhonny Peralta doubled to start the 3rd inning, Grady Sizemore struck out but Crisp would bring Peralta home with a single. Hafner and Martinez would be retired on ground balls.

The 4th inning saw the indians break the game wide open as Orioles Rookie starter Hayden Penn was torched for 5 earned runs on 80 pitches in 3 2/3 innings. Belliard doubled and advanced to 3rd on a balk, Sizemore doubled to score Belliard and Crisp singled to score Grady.

Crisp had 2 rbi's on 3 hits to raise his average to .292

Jorge Julio. who has played the role of closer at times this season, was brought in and immediately taken out as he allowed 3 runs in less than a third of an inning.

The Indians are chasing this same Baltimore team for the wildcard but even with the win still remain a game and a half behind. Baltimore has dropped 7 of their last 10 including a sweep by the Atlanta braves this past weekend falling 3 games behind the Boston Red Sox.

Note: the Indians remain arguably the hottest team in baseball finishing 17-10 in the month of June. Its their best mark since May of 2001 when they finished the month 19-8.
Jake Westbrook has won his last 3 games improving his record to 6-9 holding an ERA of 4.47. After starting out 0-5, he would only get 1 win in the next 4 games but an anemic offense was the culprit. Despite his record, Jake's outings have looked like an audition for the Cy Young award.