Over the past several years, the Indians have not fared well at Yankee Stadium. Maybe it’s because they used up their allotment of Yankee Stadium runs in the first series ever played at the park in 2009, when they took two of four from the Yankees, winning 10-2 and 22-4. Maybe the Yankees just have their number this year (or really any year). Perhaps it’s just the fact that the Indians have been pretty dreadful against the AL East so far this year. The Indians are now 1-6 against New York, 1-5 against Boston, 2-4 against Tampa Bay, and 2-1 against Toronto. They’ve yet to play Baltimore this season (and still play Toronto one more time) so their record against the AL East could theoretically get even worse. I watched all three of these games in New York, and they keep blending together in my mind. I’ll think things like, “So wait…was that Drew Stubbs home run last night or Monday night?” Or was the 4-4 tie at one point on Monday or Tuesday? I think it’s because it was the same story all three days – an offense that looked pretty “blah” through much of the game, and a pitcher that made a few key mistakes over an inning or two. I actually thought that CC Sabathia may end up with a no-hitter about half way through this game, but the bats woke up and at least made it a ballgame after the Yankees took an early 6-0 lead.
The Indians had a mess both on and off the field to deal with today. There is something going on with Chris Perez and the city of Rocky River, and the specifics are not yet clear. At first there were stories that Perez was busted for drug possession. Then there were conflicting stories that Perez was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the drugs could be attributed to a prior tenant in the house the Perez family rents. This is something that I don’t really even want to weigh in on at this point, because the story could change ten more times before we realize what actually is going on, and whether or not Perez will face any kind of arrest/punishment. The initial announcement this morning caused chaos and distractions as the 1 p.m. game time approached. At first I thought “the players don’t really need a distraction like this,” and then decided that maybe they’re grateful for the distraction because it draws attention away from their awful on-field performance.
Perhaps “awful” is a bit harsh – the first half of this game was pretty rough, but the second half wasn’t quite as bad for the Indians. CC Sabathia was dealing early, and took a perfect game into the top of the fifth inning. An interesting side story – I only attended one game at old Yankee Stadium, back in 2003 when the Indians were in town. CC Sabathia pitched that day as well, although he was still several years away from donning pinstripes. The Indians got off to a decent start, but then everything started to fall apart. Even though I couldn’t quite tell from my seat, I later learned that Sabathia didn’t want to pitch from the stretch with runners on; he wanted to continue pitching from the full windup. Eric Wedge decided to make it a “teachable moment” and let Sabathia keep doing so until the wheels started to fall off (and I mean, really fall off). The irony in this is that I actually planned to go to this series in New York until my plans fell through. (I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to have plans fall through.) Today was the game I planned to attend and it would have been like coming full circle (full, depressing circle). I saw a young, naive Sabathia in 2003, that gave up 6 earned runs on the way to losing 7-4. Today, Corey Kluber stepped into Sabathia’s role, while an older, more mature (and more expensive) Sabathia dominated for the most part.
The Corey Kluber of innings 1 and 2, was not the Corey Kluber of innings 3 through 6. Bad Kluber gave up a two-run bomb to Travis Hafner (that seriously probably hasn’t landed yet) and a three-run homer to Brett Gardner; those two swings of the bat caused most of the damage. The sad thing is that two of the six runs were unearned – Michael Bourn missed a fly ball in the first inning that he normally would catch. That set the table for the Hafner home run. The Indians managed to put four on the board late in the game, and two of those runs came from a Yan Gomes home run. It was too little, too late though, and Sabathia stayed in to pitch a complete game. Mark Reynolds continued his slump; he’s hitting just .176 over the past seven days. Nick Swisher is even worse – he’s hitting a paltry.048 over the past seven days. Those guys need to kick it into high gear if the Indians are going to break out of this slump.
The Indians will now travel to Detroit, although they have a sweet, merciful off-day tomorrow. As much as I love the Indians, the way they played this series I could really use a day off from watching them.