Trying Something New

July 2, 2011

With Stephanie and Susan away for the weekend, I have the privilege of writing all about the Battle of Ohio series this Independence Day weekend. With the blog-parents away for the weekend I will be throwing watch parties and showing Major League on the television¬†with scores of fans and kegs full of beer at the It’s Pronounced Lajaway (IPL) headquarters. Baseball! Beer! Parties! (Sidenote: I’m kidding, the It’s Pronounced Lajaway Headquarters Search Committee is still looking for potential locations. The blog is only a few months old, please cut us some slack. I also am joking about the parties, just to be clear.)

The Battle of Ohio, waged twice a year in the hallowed halls named Progressive and Great American. I’d imagine someone with the voice from those old NFL Films about frozen tundras and the like reading that last sentence. I assumed that there was a historic Battle of Ohio in some 18th or 19th century war, and in doing some brief research I found very little evidence that one distinct Battle of Ohio occurred. On Wikipedia the Battle of Ohio is either a sports rivalry or a nickname for the Northwest Indian War recently following the Revolutionary War. The fact that an Indian Chief from Ohio in these battles was named Blue Jacket is thoroughly confusing given the Civil War Union Soldier related nickname of this lovely state’s only professional hockey team.

The Tribe enters into this series struggling mightily and hopefully the turn of the calendar to July has righted the ship. When tasked with writing about the game, I decided to throw a curveball into the mix and write on the game by only looking at the final box score. I avoided television like the plague, and all I know of the game is contained in the box score via I invite the commenters to critique my write up, as I am curious as to how accurate of a depiction of the game I can make without seeing even a highlight. We can call it a PRESPN TEST (Pre-ESPN Test), as prior to the internet and ESPN, box scores offered sometimes the only insight into certain games.

Right off the bat I can tell you that the Indians won, which is important. They won 8 8 – 2, putting together 15 hits. The last time the Indians score 8 or more runs was June 1st. Can we just pretend June never happened? Please? The Indians would have a six game lead over the Tigers if we ignore the month of June. Does anyone know how to contact Bud Selig about forgetting the month of June?

Justin Masterson pitched masterfully (intentional word choice): 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 5 K. It’s refreshing to see Masterson finally receive some run support, as he has an ERA of only 2.85 but a record of 6 – 6 on the season. Carlos Santana and Travis Buck were great on the evening, as both had two hits and two RBIs. Grady Sizemore also had two hits and two RBIs, but he also struck out twice. Offensively-challenged Lou Marson also threw in a three-strikeout performance at the plate. Asdrubal Cabrera continued his All-Star caliber season, hitting his 14th home run and driving in his 48th and 49th runs.

For the other team from Ohio, Brandon Phillips appears to have been the only one who decided to show up for the Reds last night. He went 3 for 4 from the plate, and was responsible for both Cincinnati runs, hitting two home runs on the night. Reigning NL MVP Joey Votto was held in check on the evening, going 0 for 4 with a strikeout and hitting into a double play. Bronson Arroyo had a miserable performance, giving up 8 runs in 4 2/3 innings. The Reds bullpen pitched well, as four pitchers combined to hold the Indians offense scoreless in the final 4 1/3 innings.

The box score gave me the basics of what happened in the game last night, and from the box score I can assume that Masterson finally started throwing inside to left-handed hitters and that the Reds hitters were baffled by Masterson’s great stuff. I can assume that Grady Sizemore continued to chase poor pitches and strike out at an alarming rate, and that Lou Marson looks overwhelmed at the plate as well. Finally, though, the Indians were able to string together hits and score runs in bunches. Of course after a month of watching the Indians offense struggle horribly, the one time I decide to not to tune in to a minute of it, it turns out to be their best performance.