Do you remember last weekend? You know, back when the Indians took three of four games from the Detroit Tigers, the first place team in the division? I ask because that seems like it was about six months ago, after watching the Twins series and tonight’s game against the Royals. Every time the Indians seem to take the proverbial bull by the horns, within days they’ll take 12 steps backwards. Every time they give you a little bit of hope, they snatch it right away from you. And by hope, I don’t even necessarily mean hope for contention; just hope for some solid, consistent, watchable baseball. The lowlights of this game made me so mad, I keep forgetting about the true gem that Corey Kluber pitched tonight. Like a microcosm of the 2014 Indians – garbage play that makes you completely overlook the high points of the season. I sometimes feel like they should be about 20 games below .500, instead of at .500.
For the first half of this game, I couldn’t stop thinking of this man:
If you’re not well-versed in baseball history, you may be wondering who that is. It’s pitcher Harvey Haddix, who in 1959 while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, took a perfect game into the 13th inning against the Milwaukee Braves. Neither team had scored at the end of regulation, and Haddix remained on the mound until the bottom of the 13th – when he lost his perfect game, then the no-hitter, then the game, 1-0. After all of that, after retiring 36 consecutive batters, his team couldn’t even get a W. After watching the first several innings of Corey Kluber and Danny Duffy, I started to wonder if we could see something similar go down in Kansas City tonight. What we ended up seeing was probably much, much worse.
Kluber lost his perfect game with one out in the bottom of the seventh, as Omar Infante hit a solid single to center. (Duffy had lost his perfect game in the top of the fifth with a Carlos Santana hit). Infante was erased trying to steal second, so fortunately no damage was done…yet. I made a joke about Mike Moustakas in tonight’s open thread, asking what kind of chaos he would cause for the Indians tonight. I did not have “Error-filled, in-the-park home run” on my Moustakas chaos bingo card, so props to the universe (and Ryan Raburn) for making that happen. If you didn’t see the play in question, count yourself lucky and vow right now to never, ever watch it. If it ever comes on, just close your eyes like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where they open the ark and the ghosts come out and make everyone melt. Because this was pretty much me (and probably every Indians fan) watching that play:
Raburn dove and missed a bloop hit to left field, knocking it into foul territory as he slid. While that was bad, I could at least accept that. It was one of those hits to no-man’s land, and sometimes crap happens. Raburn then proceeded to throw the ball straight into the ground. Just spiked it right down. Meanwhile, Moustakas is just running and running until he crosses home plate to make it 1-0. It’s bad enough the perfect game is gone, but now the Indians are going to take the loss?
By some miracle, the Indians managed to tie the game up in the top of the ninth. Greg Holland‘s lead-off walk to Carlos Santana got the rally started (and did you see Santana’s out-turned pockets? Like they’re rally butt flaps or something). Chris Dickerson (pinch-hitting for Raburn, who was in the corner wearing a dunce cap) sacrifices Santana over to second. A Nick Swisher ground-out (a rare, non-strikeout moment) puts Santana at third with two outs. It was all up to Yan Gomes, and he delivered – he singled Santana home to tie the game at one. Lonnie Chisenhall followed it up with another single, but they weren’t able to plate the go-ahead run.
Then, the game dragged on, and on…and on. It had all of the excitement you’d expect from two teams struggling to score offensively while the clock ticks later and later. I literally could think of no high points, other than the Royals not scoring yet, outside of this glorious photo-bomb:
That’s Carlos Santana photo-bombing Josh Tomlin and Lonnie Chisenhall as they make “Scott Atchison is so old…” jokes. It’s literally one of the few things from this game that gave me a fleeting moment of happiness. When you’re the visiting team in an extra-inning game, you’re already at a disadvantage. By the time we got to the bottom of the 14th inning, Lorenzo Cain led of the inning with an infield hit to Jose Ramirez. He bobbled the ball some, but Cain is fairly fast and he may not have gotten him at first anyway. Cain then stole second (a play Terry Francona challenged, but that was upheld). John Axford, who entered the game after the Cain single, then gave up a hit to Nori Aoki. As I just mentioned, Cain is fairly fast and scored easily. After that brilliant start by Kluber, the Indians end up losing 2-1.
This is a loss that is more disheartening than most. A wasted performance from Kluber, a slumbering offense, one of the worst plays I’ve seen all year from Raburn, a 14-inning game running way past my bedtime…just a recipe for anger and frustration. Despite that, I’m very proud that I fought the urge to just post a picture of my middle finger in place of an actual recap for this game. Because that gesture pretty much succinctly sums up my feelings on what I watched go down in Kansas City tonight.