As my trip to Las Vegas winds down, I couldn’t resist leading off with a final gambling metaphor. You may be wondering what in the world I’m talking about, and how it involves the Cleveland Indians; let me take a moment to explain. When I woke up yesterday, I had no plans for the day and felt like watching some baseball. After I realized that Anaheim (and the Indians) was four hours away, I decided to rent a car and drive down there for the day. At least one person I know referred to this scheme as “hair-brained,” but at least it kept me out of trouble for a while.
For this road trip, I decided to take my trusty “rally cows” as travel companions. While I feel their magic primarily has a home field advantage, I figured that perhaps they could help combat the power of Anaheim’s dreaded rally monkey. (And yes, my cows travel with me. I’m terrified of flying and they keep me sane – just leave me alone on this one!) Once I arrived at Angel Stadium, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Indians were getting to Dan Haren early in the game, as they put up a run in the top of the second. The last time the Indians faced Haren, he was almost unhittable; this development seemed very promising. This was a game that I honestly thought the Indians would win. Carmona was sharp until the sixth inning, and the two runs they put up against Haren seemed like they may be enough. In games like this, the margin of error is so slim; the first team to make a mistake is usually the one that pays the most. In this case, that was the Indians.
It started with a bobbled ball at third by Adam Everett that allowed Vernon Wells to be safe at first. That led to three unearned runs for the Angels and gave them the lead. My seat for this game was right next to the left field foul pole, which gave me a great vantage point of Austin Kearns. When Peter Bourjos came to bat in the eighth inning, I thought to myself “why is Kearns playing so shallow?” With such a close game (especially one where the lead switched several times), I really thought he should be deeper. Shin-Soo Choo appeared to be almost to the warning track in right field. It didn’t take long for this to burn the Indians, as the next batter, Erick Aybar, doubled to left center. This put the Angels up 6-4, and was enough to eventually win the game 6-5. I hate to kick a guy when he’s already down (i.e. playing badly) but I really dread seeing Kearns in the lineup. Even though he singled home the run in the top of the second inning, he struck out to end their promising rally in the top of the eighth. He’s hitting .159 with a .465 OPS; I know that he needs at-bats in order to try and find his groove, but I still hate seeing him play at this point. To be fair, I’m not sure if he’s specifically to blame for the field positioning in the bottom of the eighth, although his offensive woes are obviously his own fault.
Overall it was a nice day trip to Anaheim and a beautiful day for baseball. For a short time on Sunday, it looked as if my rally cows defeated the rally monkey. Alas, it was not meant to be.