One of the beautifully funky things about baseball is the way a player can go from hero to goat to hero in the space in ten minutes. The game is a never-ending sequences of moments that make you want to scream “Argh!” into a pillow and moments that make you sweetly sigh and feel all is right with the world. Case in point: On Wednesday night in Detroit, the Indians and Tigers started the game with three quick and scoreless innings behind strong starting pitching from Carlos Carrasco and Matt Boyd. The Indians broke the 0-0 tie on a one-out, two-run triple by Jose Ramirez. Ramirez then scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason Kipnis. Ramirez the hero. Sigh.
Miguel Cabrera started off the Tigers’ half of the 4th with a bouncer down the third base line that got away from Ramirez. He made an off-balance throw that allowed Cabrera to advance to 2nd. Error Ramirez. Argh. He redeemed himself on the next batter, though. Victor Martinez hit into an odd Lindor-Santana-Ramirez double play. Cabrera was out at 3rd on a play challenged by the Tigers. It was close but Ramirez made the tag. Hero. Sigh.
All of Cleveland’s runs came in the 4th–beyond that, the Indians couldn’t quite put together enough meaningful hits to score. They were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left a total of 7 runners on base. Meanwhile, the Tigers snuck in runs in the 5th and 6th. The score held at 3-2 from the 7th inning on, although it was not without a few more heart-stopping moments.
Carrasco pitched six complete innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits along with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. He left things in decent shape for Andrew Miller, who came on to pitch the 7th and 8th innings (allowing 1 hit and striking out four ). Again, we had a moment of “Argh” followed by redemption. With two outs, Detroit’s Jim Adduci bunted down the third base line. Third baseman Ramirez over-ran the ball and missed the play. With a close score, giving away an out like that is enough to make one call for a defibrillator. Fortunately, Miller struck out Jose Iglesias to end the inning and any Tigers uprising. Argh. Sigh. So it goes.
I used to feel pretty confident when Brandon Guyer came to bat. Since he’s been in a bit of a slump, I haven’t felt quite as confident. But in the bottom of the 8th, he took away a guaranteed extra bases hit from Nick Castellanos and suddenly that .146 average looks a little more forgivable. Argh. Sigh.
And then there was the 9th inning, the domain of the indomitable Cody Allen, AL Reliever of the Month. Cody who walked Victor Martinez on four straight pitches to start the bottom of the 9th. He managed to strike out Justin Upton then walked James McCann on four straight pitches. Argh. Sigh. Double Argh. For whatever reason, Allen was having trouble locating his fastball. With the Detroit faithful on their feet and screaming their heads off and Indians fans everywhere muttering “Please get him out. Please get him out,” Allen and pinch hitter Mikie Mahtook had a seven-pitch battle of nerves that ended with a fly out to Lonnie Chisenhall, who came in to play right field for the last inning. Then somehow in the nick of time, Allen’s fastball found its groove and he struck out Jim Aducci to end the game. Indians win, 3-2. Sigh. All is well.