Over the past two weeks I’ve had some bizarre dreams; I guess it’s likely due to a mix of surgery and the effect of the post-surgical pain killers. (I’m sure the fact that I went back to school this week and started a second job is not helping my stress level much.)
So I had this dream last night that I went to Chicago to watch the rest of the Indians-White Sox series. I had a seat just beyond the outfield, much like my typical seats at Progressive Field. While I was hanging out in/near my seats, the White Sox just kept hitting home run after home run off of Indians’ pitching. And I managed to catch almost all of them; every time one would clear the fence I’d happen to be walking by, just in the right spot to grab it. I think there was a point where the dream sort of morphed and the Detroit Tigers were doing the same exact thing, even though I am pretty sure it was still U.S. Cellular Field. (I caught most of those too, by the way.) I remember this distinct feeling of dread with each new ball I caught. Rather than thinking it was cool to have caught a billion baseballs, I was miserable that the Indians had let the game get so far away from them.
I guess it’s pretty much a metaphor for the past week of Indians baseball. In four days they managed to lose four games in the standings; effectively ending any dreams of contention or the playoffs. (I should add that I let my 2 p.m. time slot to buy a postseason ticket block this afternoon slide by without notice.) Back in May, I had the opportunity to speak briefly on a TV piece about the Indians’ hot start. Even at the time, with that 30-15 start, I said “It’s not a matter of ‘if’ the Indians will let you down, but ‘when’ and ‘how painful will it be’?” I still think this is less painful than it could have been. I picked the Indians to finish dead last in the division after I saw them in Spring Training this year, so they far exceeded my initial expectations (even though they did have my hopes up for much of the summer). It was kind of humane that they gave fans signals that there were problems (constant injuries, an anemic offense as examples), and bowed out of the race with a month yet to play.
Tonight’s game was much better though; with a few more like this one, the last few weeks of Indians baseball could still be enjoyable. Jeanmar Gomez has been solid since his most recent call-up from Columbus, and he looked good again tonight. In his past few starts, he’s looked much more like his minor league self, and like the pitcher I initially hoped for when he was brought to the Majors. Lonnie Chisenhall, despite some awkwardness at third base tonight, was simply mashing the ball. It got a bit uncomfortable in the 9th inning with Nick Hagadone on the mound, but fortunately he got out of it with the game ending strikeout of Gordon Beckham. And for once, the Indians found ways to score other than the long ball. I don’t mind another baseball-related dream tonight; but I’d hope this time I’m running around catching Indians home runs.
Briefly, in minor league news, even though the Indians won’t be seeing the postseason in 2011, a few of their minor league teams are having early success in their playoffs. The Class A Kinston Indians are currently battling the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Texas Rangers) in the playoffs and are up 2-1 in the best of five series. The Indians won 7-0 tonight to take the lead in the series; game 4 is Saturday night as Mike Rayl takes the mound for Kinston and Kennil Gomez for Myrtle Beach.
The other team in the Tribe’s farm system that made the playoffs is the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. This is pretty impressive to me, since their roster was probably picked pretty bare by the Major League club this season (particularly in the past month or two). The Clippers defeated the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) 5-2 tonight to clinch a 3-0 sweep of the Bulls in the five game series. They will now move on to the Governors’ Cup finals this Tuesday against the winner of the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox) –Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Philadelphia Phillies) series. The Clippers are also the defending Triple-A National Champions, defeating the Tacoma Rainiers for the title in 2010. If we can’t have a World Series title in Cleveland this season, hopefully one (or both) of these minor league clubs will at least give us a couple of titles in the Indians’ farm system.