I was about to write that the 7th inning balk by Tony Sipp killed the Indians. The more I thought about it, that play was just the final nail in the coffin. Again, the Indians saw sloppy defense and two errors from one player (Cord Phelps) in the same inning. And yet again, the sloppy fielding ruined a fine performance by Justin Masterson who pitched 6 and 2/3 innings, and allowed just 4 hits and no earned runs, and lost the game for the Tribe. Masterson even had a little bit of luck working for him; after Nate Schierholtz doubled to open the 7th inning, he fell down making the wide turn to third and got caught in a rundown. There was a brief moment though, where I felt like the Indians defense wasn’t quite sure how to react. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I actually stood up and started yelling at the players once again – throw in! Rundown! Rundown!
Matt Cain was pretty brilliant today (which wasn’t really a surprise). Michael Brantley apparently figured him out, but nobody else was able to. There’s a portion of the Indians lineup that I refer to as “the wasteland;” the players that have no chance of success, and you need to slog through them to get back to the decent hitters (the “wasteland” seems to get larger every game). Today, I had almost no hope for anyone that batted after Asdrubal Cabrera (and he batted third). To be fair, at least Carlos Santana walked twice; I gave him slight odds to come through in the clutch. As for the rest – I had almost no hope. Call me crazy, but when Grady Sizemore was due up in the 8th inning, I found myself hoping that Manny Acta would pinch hit for him. Not that Shelley Duncan is exactly Ted Williams or anything; it’s just that a right-handed bat against Javy Lopez seemed like it was worth a shot to me. With Sizemore, it was just a matter of *how* he was going to make an out, not *if* he was going to make an out. So like with Justin Verlander a few weeks ago, I don’t want to take anything away from Matt Cain. At the same time, the offense could’ve/should’ve done more than they did.
The positives today: I went down the Coke slide, and I had a crab sandwich with a good microbrew. It was an absolutely picture perfect day, and our upper deck seats had a great view of the bay. Unfortunately, none of those have anything to do with baseball. In fact, I highly doubt any other Indians fans could rank “crab sandwich” as the high point of the day. There was also one funny moment – the folks sitting next to my family were Giants season ticket holders. When Travis Buck pinch hit for Austin Kearns in the 9th, they turned to my husband and asked “who in the world is Travis Buck?” My husband’s response – “he’s nobody.” This statement is sad, but kind of true. At least he put a charge in the ball with the final at-bat of the game. How bad have things really gotten, that I have to list “hit the ball hard when he flew out” as one of the offensive “positives?”