Tonight’s first pitch was thrown at 7:10. By 7:20, the game was already over.
Let’s face it – if the Indians end up down 1-0 at this point, I start to feel pretty bleak about the game. For the Indians to spot the White Sox 5 runs in the first with Chris Sale on the mound, you know there’s almost no chance. Do you even want me to talk about this? They lost 10-3, it was ugly, and the White Sox (who had the worst offense in baseball coming into this series) slammed Carlos Carrasco. The only explanation Carrasco could come up with after the game, was the possibility that he was tipping his pitches. Even though some of the balls hit in the first inning were seeing-eye singles, Chicago still made consistently solid contact and seemed poised to jump on everything Carrasco threw.
The Indians offense was hot garbage once again, but that lineup was not exactly built for success tonight. Jason Kipnis had the night off (which he deserves sometimes, it has to be exhausting work carrying this offense). Mike Aviles filled in for Kipnis, which isn’t absurd as he’s the utility infielder. But to bat Aviles in the leadoff spot when he has (after tonight) a .289 OBP is just ridiculous. I guess the only thing I can say in Terry Francona‘s defense is that most of the team has an OBP under .300. I’m tired of complaining about the offense at this point. It’s like complaining that water is wet, or that grass is green. You know what it is, and it’s unlikely to change any time soon.
Fun side note: I went to this game tonight and thought the final score was 8-3 initially. I don’t know how I missed those last two runs…all I can guess is that my brain started to suppress certain things in the name of self-preservation. I couldn’t believe how many people stayed until the bitter end of this one; they must really like fireworks. I’m just a masochist.
It would be much more fun to talk about the Larry Doby statue unveiling prior to the game. They had a number of special guests in attendance, including one of my all-time favorite ballplayers, former Negro Leaguer Ted Toles. Mudcat Grant talked about how Doby was his roommate when he first started playing, and Larry Doby, Jr. said some very nice things about the Indians and the city of Cleveland. He said that his family has good memories of Cleveland, and that Indians fans never booed Doby, even when he struggled. Owner Paul Dolan also gave a nice talk about how difficult it is to be the “second” person to do something historic. He also pointed out that the Indians had five African American players in their lineup, before a lot of teams even had one. The current 25-man roster sat behind the statue in folding chairs during the ceremony.
Even though I’m often hard on the Indians, they should be commended for (finally) installing a statue of Doby. (Although it would’ve been nice if all of the players could have worn number 14 to honor him). One of the things that doesn’t get discussed as often – the Indians not only added Doby in 1947, they also integrated the press box, stadium staff, and even several front office positions. In 1949 they hired Olympic gold medalist Harrison Dillard to work in PR for the team. They were ahead of the curve when it came to integration, and it tends to get swept under the rug when compared to the attention that Jackie Robinson receives.
Here are some pictures from the dedication prior to the game;