When I picked up my daughter at preschool, I chatted briefly with the woman at the front desk and mentioned I was going to the Indians game tonight. “Bring home a winner,” she said as I walked away. I could only hold up a pair of crossed fingers. I had a bad feeling about the game all day. Fausto Carmona seems to be having the bad luck of pitching on the days when the Tribe’s offense can’t get the job done. Combine a lack of scoring with Josh Beckett’s miniscule ERA, and you have a potential problem. The Indians had miraculously pulled another win out of the late-inning magic hat the night before–but how many times can you do that?
I was supposed to meet Stephanie by the statue of Bob Feller just before game time, but she was running late. Since she had our tickets, I waited, listening to the roar of the crowd from outside and trying to keep my pre-game optimism high. We got to our seats in the top of the second inning and were delighted to see Kevin Youklis ground out. Things got even better when the Indians scored one run in the bottom of the second. I kept my doubts to myself. Then in the third, Carl Crawford and Jacob Ellsbury each stole second and the Red Sox ended up scoring two. Carmona was pitching a fine game, but the Indians weren’t putting together the hits to get any runs.
Through the middle innings we talked about the game and which Red Sox players we dislike the most and why people can’t learn to wait until the at-bat is over before leaving or returning to their seats. Jason Varitek hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh to make the score 4-1, Boston. During the seventh inning stretch, we looked at each other and uttered the famous Star Wars phrase: I have a bad feeling about this. Still, I tried to remain hopeful.
Susan: The eighth inning is always the magic inning.
Stephanie: Usually it’s the seventh.
Susan: Or it could be the ninth. It’s all late-inning magic.
Stephanie: I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Susan: Don’t put the negative thoughts out there.
Stephanie: I’m trying to keep my expectations low to avoid disappointment.
Susan: I’m a Cleveland sports. All I know is disappointment.
When Carmona left in the top of the ninth inning, we gave him a standing ovation. He went eight full innings (facing one batter in the ninth), struck out seven, and allowed four runs. It wasn’t a bad outing, but what are you going to do when your team only gets one run?
Jonathan Papelbon came in for Boston in the bottom of the ninth, Travis Buck had a fantastic at-bat in which he worked Papelbon until he finally wrangled a solo home run out of him. While Buck’s home run was a lift, it didn’t spark the late inning magic to which we’ve become accustomed. The game ended with a 4-2 loss. The Indians are, after all, only human.
The rally cows and I momentarily hid our faces in disappointment (they’re under the rally towel; I’m under the Indianapolis Clowns hat). We’ll be there for the rubber match tomorrow afternoon (in looking at the time, I realize that should be this afternoon). We’ll put the disappointment behind us.
The Indians outrighted right-handed pitched Justin Germano to AAA Columbus today, and he has accepted the assignment. He was designated for assignment on May 19 when Luis Valbuena was promoted from Columbus.