When I arrived at Tropicana Field earlier today, I expected a repeat of last night’s game. Although this time, it would be James Shields giving the Indians hitters fits, rather than David Price. “Nothing will probably happen early in the game,” I said to myself, as I got in line to “pet” the live Rays at the Florida Aquarium tank. I was so determined to stick my hand in a tank of water and rub some slimy sea creatures that I stood in line for over a half hour and missed the first inning of the game. (Was it worth it? Absolutely! I fed them dead fish heads, while a little girl made fun of how excited I was to see them.)
By the time I made it to my seat, the Indians were already up 3-0. Even though I missed the base running blunders of the top of the first, I received an annoyed text message from my father that updated me to the situation. There’s nothing wrong with a team shutting the Indians down with good pitching. Losing runs to careless base running is inexcusable and could have really cost them during this game. James Shields settled in after the first, and Rays pitching still managed to strike out 10 Indians. Without the four run eighth, the Indians really would’ve been in trouble during the bottom of the ninth.
And speaking of the bottom of the ninth…it was kind of sad that the Indians had to go to Chris Perez when they entered the inning with a 5-run lead. Rafael Perez has been excellent so far this season though, so he’s entitled to an off night now and again I suppose (although he did almost manage to pitch his way out of trouble at one point). Even though Matt LaPorta bobbled that ball that Damon put into play (and was charged with the error), why wasn’t Chris Perez covering first base? Then when LaPorta and Perez stood idle at first base as Rays players circled the bases, I wanted to jump on the field and start barking out orders to both of them. I guess the one thing I’m thankful for, is that Tampa Bay made their own base running blunder and it ended the game with minimal damage.
Even though there was a bit of sloppiness tonight for the Indians, I think there were a number of positives to take away from this. First, after losing three straight it feels good just to get a win. The Indians managed to put up some early runs against a very tough James Shields and continued to add some security late in the game. Carlos Carrasco looked good and earned his second win in a row. The Rally Cows brought their away record to 1-1 (8-3 total)…overall it was a fun trip to the Trop!