I spent a large part of the 2012 baseball season swearing at the TV whenever I watched an Indians game. And considering how badly the team played in the second half of the season, could you really blame me? The way the Indians collapsed like a deck chair last summer was enough to try the patience of better men and women than me.
But the long off-season gave me ample opportunity to reflect on my behavior, and I made a promise to myself that this season, come what may, I would try to cut back on the foul language. And I did, for the first two games, the games the Indians won. But today, as I watched Brett Myers give up one home run after another, I found myself reverting to the vocabulary I so often employed last season.
The Indians lost to the Blue Jays, 10-8, and Myers’s inability to keep the ball down and away from the sweet spots in the swings of the Blue Jays hitters was largely responsible for the loss. In his five-plus innings of work, Myers gave up seven hits, four of which were home runs, and he allowed seven runs, all of them earned. What makes Myers’s poor performance especially frustrating is that Toronto’s pitcher Mark Buehrle was hardly any better. Although the Indians only had the lead in the game for about ten minutes, when they went up 1-0 in the top of the first, the offense fought back from deficits of 3-1 and 6-3 to tie the score. It was only when Myers gave up his fourth homer of the evening with the score tied at 6-6 that the Blue Jays went ahead for good. And even then the Indians’ offense kept clawing away at the lead. If not for a great defensive play by Blue Jays second baseman Emilio Bonifacio, their eighth-inning rally would have tied the score again at least.
As long as I’m apportioning blame, I should also point out that Cody Allen was ineffective in his inning of relief, giving up a homer of his own and allowing two runs. And the Tribe defense, which was at its best in the first two games of the series, faltered too. A throwing error by Mark Reynolds, making his first start at first base this season, was responsible for Toronto’s ninth run of the evening.
But enough of the bad. What about the good? Well, the Indians did score eight runs, which is usually enough to win (in 2012, the Tribe was 18-3 in games in which they scored eight or more runs). They had 14 hits, including six doubles and two homers (Carlos Santana and Reynolds). And as I said before, they did fight back. If Bonifacio doesn’t make that great play in the eighth, things might have gone the other way. And the Indians are still tied for first in the AL Central, although it may be a little too early to be paying much attention to things like that.
But you know what they say about ifs and buts, and if you don’t, well, Google it. Give the Blue Jays their due. They hit the ball hard and they played good defense, and they deserved to win tonight. But let’s give the Indians some credit too. They won the first series of the season, beating a team which is probably better than them, and doing it on the road to boot. I’ll take a 2-1 three-game series every time. Let’s hope the Indians can do as well this weekend, when they take on the Rays in Tampa Bay. And let’s hope I can keep the profanity to a minimum as I watch the games, for the sake of my neighbors and for the memory of my dear departed mom, who loved to watch the Indians but who wasn’t always proud of the language her son would use when things didn’t go as well as they might have.
Additional note: As Stephanie pointed out yesterday, Scott Kazimir, who was today placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 2, won’t start for the Indians on Saturday as planned. Trevor Bauer will be called up from Columbus to make the start. I predicted that Bauer would be the first pitcher called up from the minors, so I feel entitled to brag about getting at least one prediction right. It may be the only one I’ll get right all season, but they can’t take this one away from me.