On May 21, 2009 Jeanmar Gomez pitched a perfect game for the Double-AA Akron Aeros, striking out eight and throwing just 87 pitches.  Almost three years later to the day, Gomez wasn’t quite perfect against the Miami Marlins…but he was still awfully good.  Through six and a third innings Gomez allowed no runs on just three hits, striking out four and walking two.  Anibal Sanchez was almost as good – he pitched seven innings, allowing 2 runs on seven hits, striking out four and walking two.  The Indians were able to exploit his mistakes, as Asdrubal Cabrera homered and Jason Kipnis knocked Shelley Duncan in on a sacrifice fly.

As good as Gomez pitched today, the bullpen was even better.  Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, and Chris Perez combined to pitch a perfect 2 and 2/3 innings; Perez struck out the side in the ninth and made the Marlins hitters look lost and foolish.  With the Marlins’ pitchers dealing as well, there was little room for error from the Tribe’s staff.  They really stepped forward and held the Marlins’ offense in check.

So far, the series with the Marlins was billed as a potential pitchers duel, and it has yet to disappoint.  Carlos Zambrano and Justin Masterson, both with their share of struggles on the mound (Zambrano prior to this season and Masterson, this season) pitched a great game on Friday evening.  Sanchez (2-2, 2.32 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) has had a good 2012 season so far, and outside of the one blip against the White Sox a couple of weeks ago, Gomez has been strong as well.  Tomorrow’s game has Marlins ace Josh Johnson going against Derek Lowe, the man who has stepped forward as the most consistent pitcher for the Tribe this season.

I’ve always thought highly of Gomez since his days in Akron, and I’m really glad to see him finding his spot in the Indians rotation.  If Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez hadn’t had his “issues” this offseason, Gomez would have started the year in Columbus rather than Cleveland.  Sure, he would’ve probably gotten the call-up once Josh Tomlin was injured, but he’s been a treat to watch this year (outside of that one forgettable game).

As a side note, attendance at Progressive Field was much higher last night and today.  Roughly 30,000 saw last night’s game, and today’s attendance was announced as 29,799.  While I ultimately want fans to come out and see this team (they’re often quite fun to watch, despite their offensive issues), I have to admit that I selfishly enjoy when there are only about 10,000 people at the park.  It brings out the die-hards first of all, and everyone seems much more engaged/interested in the game on the field.

Today marked my 14th game of the season (12 Indians and 2 Pirates games) and only the second time this season that there were more than 15,000 people at Progressive Field with me (the other game was Opening Day).  I feel I should mention this, since I wrote those fandom posts – half of the people around me were driving me nuts today.  Some were so drunk they could hardly stand up.  One guy in front of me (loudly) kept trying to start the wave.  It obviously just wasn’t happening…he wasn’t about to give up though.  (Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?…HELL NO!)  In the mad scramble for a free t-shirt, someone punched me in the head…hard.  Nobody apologized, and when the stray shirt pretty much landed right in my lap, the guy in front of me ripped it right out of my hands.  This was despite the fact that he’d already caught two other identical t-shirts earlier in the game, and didn’t have any children with him or anything.

So while I’m glad that attendance is better, since this team deserves to have fans cheering for them, I guess I’ll have to get used to the negatives that come with that fact!

EDIT: And speaking of fans, apparently Chris Perez had quite a mouthful about the fans after the game today.  Ripped the attendance and said he understood why Carlos Beltran preferred St. Louis over Cleveland.  Also expressed anger over being booed on Thursday against the Mariners.  While I get the frustration, and in many ways it’s justified, to me it’s kind of a slap in the face at the fans that have been coming out to see the team.   Diss people for not coming out, but acknowledge the fact that there are a few die-hards that stick with this team no matter what.

8 Comments

  • SeattleStu says:

    how many legitimate major league hitters do we have on this team?…i cannot believe our record with 1….that’s 1….guy hitting over .265….what is going on?

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I think some of them will improve a bit…others are pretty much what they are at this point. Shelley Duncan and Aaron Cunningham aren’t going to suddenly transform into all stars!

  • Adam says:

    You can’t hate on Perez when he’s exactly right. Maybe fans don’t want to hear it, but the Twins are a last place team drawing 30k+ fans a night. Players don’t want to come here because of the weather and because there’s no one at games. It isn’t anyone’s childhood dream to play in a sparely populated stadium (even if it is sparsely populated with diehards).

    Cleveland fans keep stupidly pouring money into the Browns despite the fact that they are awful and have no plans to stop being awful. I’m sick and tired of the “Dolans are cheap” line because the fact of the matter is they’ve been forced into being cheap by an extremely fickle fan base. Do I wish they had taken some of that money from Travis Hafner and put it into a 5 or 6 year deal to Sabathia? Of course. Do I wish they had gotten more for Lee (who wasn’t even an expiring deal!)? Absolutely. But the fact is the team does spend where it can expect to get the most return. It’s not sexy, but they have been pouring money into their draft classes (which eventually turned into Ubaldo Jimenez, which is a completely defensible trade, even in hindsight, as well as Francisco Lindor, who is going to be special).

    Fans are absolutely justified to feel like Chris Perez insulted them, but they also need to realize that the dude is 100% correct. Honesty ain’t always pretty, folks.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    Yeah, I agree that Perez is right and definitely has a right to complain. I think the only part that I thought “maybe you should keep that to yourself” was complaining about the booing on Thursday. I didn’t really hear that, but maybe it was bad by the field or the dugout or something. He may talk about the booing on Opening Day, but during the pregame introductions, he also got the loudest cheers.

    I also follow the Pirates and I think they’re way more cheap than the Indians. They also seem to not even bother to put a decent team on the field most years, while the Indians appear to do their best on a small budget. The Pirates have been under .500 for almost 20 straight years, yet they still draw tons of fans because their stadium is beautiful. I may complain about Kotchman, but if I had to watch Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes bat on a regular basis, I’d weep.

  • SeattleStu says:

    are you kidding me? perez is an average closer at best…he finally does what he’s supposed to (an efficient, low pitch count, on one on base close) and he feels justitifed popping off about the fans? Uh last i checked this team has done zip the last few years except pay too much money to the wrong guys and trade away cy young winners for peanuts…(Adam, ubaldo is not defensible – please give us your criteria for defensible)….this year’s team is hardly what i would call a bona fide crowd drawer…sure they’re atop a mediocre division….but in a watered down modern day baseball league within a nation where everyone gets a trophy these days….recall they were atop the divisoin playing good ball last year only to wilt in the days of summer….so do you blame the fan base for being guy shy? i’m sorry but here’s the truth that hurts – this team and front office aren’t worthy of 30k fans….clearly a quality product draws – look at the 90′s/early 00′s teams….prove your quality consistently and you’ll get the fans.

    btw, it’s the same thing here in seattle where the team is atrocious and the fans dont show like they used to….perez might as well complain about gravity, which continues to pull his pudgy form downward.

  • SeattleStu says:

    PS did i mention we have a losing record at home after today’s ‘mail er in’ by the offense?….cant for the life of me imagine why they draw flies.

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