During the first five innings of this game, I threatened to set my television on fire no fewer than eight times.  I yelled at the TV so much, my husband went around shutting all of the windows in the house, so neighbors would be spared from my multiple tirades.  Last night was an extremely frustrating game – the lackadaisical offense, mixed with the sloppy defense and bad umpiring, meant that I was already coming into tonight’s game in a bad mood.  As Yordano Ventura continued to baffle Tribe hitters, I became more and more frustrated.  It seemed like the top of each inning lasted approximately 45 seconds, while Corey Kluber attempted to dance out of trouble in the bottom half of innings early in the game.  As Kluber worked to minimize damage, the offense started to show signs of life once they reached the sixth inning.  Michael Brantley singled home a run, and the offense finally got to Ventura for something.  I was almost more afraid of the Royals bullpen, one of the best in the majors this year, but the Indians continued to battle back.  Michael Bourn flashed some power with a triple and a home run, and before you knew it, the Indians had their first lead of the night.  I think this quote – “if we pull this out, I will have felt every emotion tonight” is the best and most succinct summary of this game.

After a number of boneheaded moves last night, it looked like we may be in for more of the sloppy play tonight.  Asdrubal Cabrera dropped a throw from Yan Gomes during the bottom of the third, an attempt to catch Emilio Bonifacio stealing second.  Cabrera catches that throw, the Indians were looking at two outs and nobody on.  Instead, they had a runner in scoring position and just one out.  Kluber walked both Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler to load the bases, before Salvador Perez hit a sacrifice fly to give the Royals a 2-0 lead.  A Mike Moustakas double knocked in Hosmer to make it 3-0, but that was the last run the Royals would score.  With the way that the Indians offense looked last night, and early tonight, three runs felt more like 30.  But by minimizing the damage, the pitching staff kept the Indians in the game and gave the offense a chance to start chipping away at the lead.

And chip away they did.  An infield single from Nick Swisher, followed by a Carlos Santana single and a Michael Brantley single plated the first run and knocked Ventura out of the game.  The Indians continued to add on at least one run in every inning for the rest of the game – two in the seventh to tie the game, one in the eighth, and one in the ninth to make it 5-3.  Michael Bourn showed a rare burst of power tonight, hitting a triple and a home run while knocking in two of the Indians’ five RBI.  Despite the boneheaded play in the third, and a somewhat boneheaded move in the eighth when he was thrown out at third on a fielder’s choice (where he should have stayed put at second), Asdrubal Cabrera went 2 for 3 with an RBI.  Swisher and Brantley had the two remaining RBI.  Chris Perez pitched a dominant ninth, eliminating some tough Royals hitters in Emilio Bonifacio, Eric Hosmer, and Billy Butler, striking out two (Hosmer and Butler) and wiping out the trio on just 12 pitches.

This was the kind of win that just leaves you pumped.  You need to keep pace in the Wild Card race, and you need to make sure that you don’t allow Kansas City to hang in there with a sweep during this series.  It looked so bleak early on, that it was thrilling and exciting by the end of the game.  I went from screaming profanities and threatening felony arson, to screaming and yelling in joy.  The Indians strike me as a team that is easily affected mentally, and that they let things get into their head.  There’s no way to quantify or prove this, it’s just my impression of watching them throughout the season.  They’re either owned by a team, or they own a team – Detroit walked all over them, while they were dominant against the White Sox and Rangers.  I’m hoping that this game gives them a boost of confidence and leaves them amped and ready to strike against Bruce Chen tomorrow.

18 Comments

  • BeardedWop says:

    I was watching from class (Im a graduate student who lives in southern california), and I wasnt able to watch the game. I do think the “old ways” of the Indians try to creep in, their weak mindedness, but I do fully believe the Tito has helped change this. He definitely brought a winners mentality to the team and I think moments of skepticism are quickly changed when people like Tito, or even Swisher, step up and bring some clarity. I think this is one of the main reasons we did not see the implosion we’d seen in recent years.

    • Tribe Fan in San Diego says:

      Where at in Southern CA? I’m in San Diego myself. I was happy when I saw we were playing the Padres next year, but they are playing in Cleveland.

  • Peter says:

    I can’t speak to the Indians state of mind without speculation, but I can definitively say that my mental state while watching them is not good! As opposed to the 90s when I would wonder HOW they were going to win it, because I knew they would, now it is the opposite.

    And speaking of mental idiots, Asdrubal, seriously? running us out of an inning? This guy’s head is somewhere else this year. That was a bad mistake.

    Perez looked good tonight. The strike zone seemed low and he lived there. Very nice!

    • Chris Burnham says:

      Yeah, it was a dumb mistake, but he did give the Tribe the game-winning hit, so let’s not kill him too hard.

    • Albin0Rhin0 says:

      I wish Perez would keep that up.

    • BeardedWop says:

      In the los angeles area. I have family in the san clemente area, but I am working and completing graduate work in LA. I make it a point to travel to see the Tribe whenever/wherever they are in town. I went to all of the Angels games this year, and went to all of the Dodger/Indians game a few years back when they were in town.

      Us SoCal Tribe fans need to get together at some centralized place when they have big games!

  • DaveR says:

    Cabrera’s mental makeup reminds me of Manny more and more every day.

    Today’s game will probably come down to the bullpen as well. Salazar on a PC and Chen has been good vs the Indians.

  • Bill Curtin says:

    “Young Tito” vs. Yost almost worth a run a game in our favor. Scared bleepless the Royals might hire someone like Girardi (who would be an idiot to stay in NY) before next year.

  • Tribe Fan in San Diego says:

    What a crazy game. The Indians have struggled all year against new young pitchers they have never seen, backed up by a steller bullpen, I was nervous. When they went up 3-0, my TV quaked in fear. The Royals are not a team you want to be down 3 runs to.

    Yet they kept plugging away and pulled it off. It was a great team effort.

    I have to admit, I was petrified when Perez came in. Yet I must say, that this is the Perez we have been missing. He actually seemed to have very solid control. Hopefully he can keep it up, because we will need him.

    Let’s not kill Asdrubal too badly for the running error. In that situation on the crack of the bat, you have to make a decision. You could tell after the first step he knew he shouldn’t have gone, but he was comitted. Let’s pretend that he didn’t go, and they threw to first. It would then be easy to flame him for “not” running. We’re mad because he got caught, if he was safe, it would have been a “great heads up play.”

    • Peter says:

      No no no! There was no excuse for Cabrera. that ball was in front of him the whole way. he had the best view of anyone on the field. That was the type of mental mistake we have been making this year that can’t happen on playoff team. Really got the Royals out of trouble.

      Also, no one mentioned the first inning. Bourn is on first and Swisher hits into a DP. What’s wrong with a bunt? No one is hitting well. Play small ball and move things along. Tito should have called that one.

      I don’t understand why every thing is so clear to me here in my chair, watching the replay and these guys don’t see it and they are right on the field! :)

      • Kevin says:

        Swisher has been hitting really well. He had what 2 HRs in one game this week? If Tito had told Swisher to bunt I would have been upset. I sincerely reject your point.

  • shaun says:

    question of the day…

    if the indians are in a save situation B9 (doesn’t matter if its 1,2 or 3 runs), do you give the keys to Perez to close it?

  • D.P. Roberts says:

    The Indians have struggled against rookie “phenom” pitchers all season long. I was not surprised to see them struggle against Ventura – they made him look like an Ace.

    Why have they been able to beat Cy Young pitchers, but lose to rookies? Here’s a quote from Nick Swisher after last night’s game, as to why Ventura did so well against them: “Other than the fact that he was throwing 100 mph? You’ve never seen the guy. You get scouting reports, but those aren’t always right. So, yeah, we’ve just got to get ready for that next time.”

    So yeah, natural talent is good, but so are scouting reports, and it sounds like the Indians aren’t getting the best information. Ventura throws 100 mph, but he was 5-4 in the minor leagues this year. Minor league hitters were getting to him, and it sounds like the Indians hitters didn’t know why. It sounds like the Indians need some new scouts.

  • Albin0Rhin0 says:

    All I could do last night is sit back and admire the ability of the KC starter. I watched the pitch count elevate, and wondered how soon we would be able to take a crack at their bullpen, as good as it is. They can’t be great every night, and it’s unlikely that they would be as solid as the starter. Patience wins championships. Make aces make pitches. Get them into the 70+ pitch count by the 4th inning, and chew away at their bullpen. Last night shows the definition of grinding one out. GO TRIBE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Weston says:

    How bout that 9th inning last night? Perez looked filthy. And he was keeping the ball down, way down. That’s a good sign as we battle it out down this final stretch.

  • Miami (OH) D.P. Dough says:

    It was nice to see Perez throw strikes last night. The scouting report on Perez must be to take pitches and let him work himself into a jam, as the last two batters K’ed looking. Considering the fact that we’ve seen Perez put batters on base via the walk and then give up the big hit in the past, I’m not so sure I’d be aggressive at the plate, either.

    Here’s to hoping CP continues to throw strikes and work up some confidence heading into a potentially one-game playoff, late inning pressure cooker.