I’m close to throwing in the towel on the 2012 season. The Indians entered this series four games out of first and sat idly by while the Tigers and White Sox made a series of significant moves over the past few weeks. Had the Tigers swept this series, the 2012 Indians would be done.
But they’re not. Yet.
A brilliant (and very unexpected) performance from Ubaldo Jimenez keeps the Tribe alive and, just maybe, gives us some hope that he’s turning the corner at a pivotal point in the season.
However, we’ve seen this before from Jimenez. On August 10 of last season, with the Tribe three games back in the Central, Jimenez tossed eight innings against the Tigers without giving up an earned run and picked up the victory. It looked like a promising beginning to his Indians career, but it’s been all downhill since, so excuse me for being skeptical of Jimenez for awhile longer.
One thing I did love about this game was the squeeze play. With one out and Aaron Cunningham at the plate, and with Casey Kotchman to follow, it was the perfect situation for the squeeze. And with Pestano and Perez ready in the 8th and 9th, Acta was right to trust the pen to hold the one run lead rather than try to play for a the big inning.
I haven’t been Acta’s biggest supporter, but I do love his willingness to play for one run and hand the lead the pen. This was the 5th successful squeeze play executed under Acta’s watch, after the Tribe had executed just three from 1994 through 2009.
A few other notes on the game…
- Cunningham’s squeeze was just the Indians 5th successful go-ahead squeeze in the 7th inning or later in the last 50 seasons.
- Lou Marson is the first Indians catcher to score on a squeeze play since Ron Hassey in 1983. Hassey scored on a bunt from George Vukovich against the Orioles.
- Jimenez’s outing lowered his home ERA to 3.28 this season. As unwatchable as he’s been on the road, if he continues to perform like this at Progressive Field, the Tribe just may have a chance to stick around in the playoff race.
- The Indians are now 6-1 against the Tigers this season.