As you know, today is Mother’s Day.
My mom died in 2009. She loved to watch the Indians on television. She didn’t always get the names of the players completely right, but she did have her favorites: C.C. Sebastian. Travis Hefner. Omar Vazquez. Eddie Murphy. And let’s not forget her favorite player of all, the man who started in right field in today’s game against the Boston Red Sox, a man named Choo-Choo.
Mom enjoyed having me come over to watch the games with her, as long as I was able to refrain from swearing at the television too much. The way the Indians played today, Mom would have kicked me out of the house in the bottom of the first inning. In that inning, Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson, after having retired the first two Boston hitters on four pitches, had a miniature implosion on the mound. After walking David Ortiz, Masterson then gave up a double to Adrian Gonzalez, an RBI single to Will Middlebrooks, and an RBI double to Daniel Nava. Masterson had the next hitter, Cody Ross, down in the count 1-2, but Ross fouled off a few pitches and took a couple more to bring the count to 3-2. Masterson’s ninth pitch of the at-bat hit Ross, loading the bases. Clearly flustered, Masterson then gave up a first-pitch single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, making the score 4-0. Mike Aviles popped up to end the inning, but by then, as they so often say, the damage had been done.
Masterson pitched fairly well for the rest of his stint, allowing just two more runs, both earned, over the next five innings. But that first inning absolutely killed the Tribe, whose offensive output consisted of a solo run in the third, that coming on a one-out, bases-loaded walk from Red Sox starter Daniel Bard. That made the score 4-1 at the time, and with Travis Hafner coming to bat with the bases loaded, the Indians had a chance to get back into the game. But instead Hefner—whoops, I mean Hafner—hit a weak ground ball to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who started a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Dan Wheeler relieved Masterson in the seventh inning. Rather than tell you all about his outing, let me just give you his line: 1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. Before that horrendous inning, Wheeler’s job was already on the line. In a move which surprised absolutely no one, almost immediately after the game, Wheeler was designated for assignment, which is baseball-speak for “Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.” The Indians have ten days to trade Wheeler or to release him. I don’t know what the market is for 34-year-old relievers who can’t get batters out, but I doubt there will be a bidding war for Wheeler’s services. He could wind up in an Indians minor league affiliate, and thus eventually back in The Show, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
For the record, the final score of today’s game was Boston 12, Cleveland 1. That’s going to put a dent into the ol’ run differential, which now stands at -16 for the season.
After winning the first game in Fenway, the Indians lost the remaining games of the series, making this the first three-game losing streak of the season. They move on now to Minnesota for a two-game series before returning to Cleveland for a nine-game home stand. The Indians are still in first place in the AL Central. Sweeping the Twins will assure that they stay there, at least for a little while longer.
Oh, I should give credit for the title of this post to Indians TV announcer Rick Manning, who said that the way the Indians played today, they looked like a team only a mother could love. Truer words were never spoken.
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