In honor of Roberto Hernandez’s first start of the season, I decided that I would like to try my hand at live blogging his start. As Stephanie stated in her piece, Hernandez typically provides the world’s most interesting starts. Stay thirsty Indians fans.

Pregame: Matt Underwood refers to Hernandez as “Carmona”, prompting me to bet my father that Underwood will screw up at least 4 more times. My dad accepts the bet, saying that Hernandez won’t be in the game long enough for Underwood to screw up again. Ah, the faith of a lifelong Indians fan.

Could Roberto be our night in shining armor?

1st Inning- Roberto comes out with what Underwood and Manning call a “get-me-over fastball”. Hmmm, I think this is a term that needs to be used every Indians game, as I think each Indians starter has been throwing plenty of “get-me-over fastballs” lately. Underwood calls Hernandez “Car-” before he is cut off by Manning. We’ll call it 1 1/2 Underwood.

Roberto does look good in the first inning, as his sinker caused all three Angels hitters to groundout.

2nd Inning- Well, the party is over. Roberto opens up the second by giving up three straight hits (a wild pitch by Hernandez is mixed in there as well), and Underwood calls Roberto by the wrong name again (this time its “Fausto”). 2 1/2 for Underwood, and we’re only in the second.

After giving up three straight hits, Hernandez generates a vintage double play ball, but Brent Lillibridge decides to bobble it. After making the error, the camera zooms in closely on Lillibridge’s head, which leads to my dad posing an interesting question- “Who has bigger ears: Austin Kearns, or Brent Lillibridge?”

At this point in the inning, Carlos Santana decides to stop thinking; It is almost as if his brain shuts off. First Santana does not communicate with Hernandez on a bunt, causing the batter to reach on a hit (I call these plays ‘mental errors’). Then, Santana attempts to throw out a runner at second base. The only problem is that he short hops the throw so terribly that Brent Lillibridge is barely able to stop it on a dive. Lillibridge eventually botches the throw to home, causing a nice circus play to ensue. To complete the trifecta, Santana gets confused and forgets the count on Erick Aybar. He eventually triples, and the “collapse” inning as I like to call them now is complete.

One last thing on this inning- At one point Rick Manning says (about Hernandez and the horrible defense the team is playing around him) “I mean, you have a guy who is in “Spring Training mode” out there, you just can’t play defense like that and expect to find yourself in the ballgame.” 

If Hernandez is in “Spring Training mode”, what is he doing here? Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 Cleveland Indians!

3rd Inning- Rick Manning calls last inning the “worst inning of the season”, saying it was worse than a ten run second inning just a few games ago. Its obvious that its worse to give up 4 runs in an inning than 10 runs. Facepalm. Anyways, the inning starts out in vintage mystery box style, as Kendry Morales hits a weak infield single to beat the shift. Mark Trumbo lines a single right past Roberto’s belly. Cue the “Oh, honey” from Lily. The Indians narrowly miss turning a double play (Manny Acta argued the call), but eventually do get out of the inning.

By the way, I love when Manny Acta comes out to “argue” a call with an umpire. Let’s just be honest: Manny Acta does NOT argue calls. I think Acta storms out there to the umpire, stomping his feet to make it look as if he’s making a scene. Once he gets there, I think he quickly comes up with something to talk about, usually TV related. I think this one went something like this:

Manny: I JUST FINISHED SEASON THREE OF SONS OF ANARCHY ON NETFLIX MANNY, (the 1st base umpire is Manny Gonzalez ironically) AND THE ENDING WAS FANTASTIC!

Manny the umpire: I KNOW, CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW AGENT STAHL BIT IT? I WAS ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT, AND MY WIFE DIDN’T SEE IT COMING!

Manny: I KNOW, I CANNOT WAIT FOR SEASON FOUR TO HIT NETFLIX BEFORE THE NEXT SEASON PREMIERE. OKAY, HAVE A NICE DAY!

Manny the umpire: THANKS, YOU TOO!

I apologize if I ruined season 3 of SOA for you guys, but it had to be done for the sake of this fictitious manager-umpire exchange.

4th Inning- Hey, Hernandez retires two hitters in a row! Then Trout homers! It’s like Hernandez cannot have an inning without something odd happening.

Quick Chris Perez comment: Since Chris Perez probably won’t be appearing in tonight’s game (7-0 is a tall order for this offense, even off of Ervin Santana) I just want to say at this time that I like his clean shaven look. I am unsure what blades he uses, but I am going to go out on a limb and assume he is a member in the dollar shave club.

5th Inning- This start just keeps getting even more freaky. Hernandez hits Torii Hunter to lead off the inning, and Morales follows Hunter up with a double. As Hunter is attempting to slide at home plate, he accidently kicks home plate umpire Greg Gibson in the head. After being tended to by trainers, Gibson is escorted off of the field to a standing ovation. To me, being a home plate umpire in Major League Baseball is one of the scariest jobs out there: foul tips, screaming matches, and now apparently kicks to the head; no matter what way you slice it, umpires have always been the toughest professional officials out there.

Just when you think you have seen everything you can possibly see in a Hernandez start...

 

6th Inning- Ground out, ground out, then home run from the Angels 9th hitter Chris Iannetta. It is almost as if Hernandez is playing a slot machine out there on the mound.

7th Inning- Esmil Rogers comes in to pitch, closing the book on Roberto Hernandez’s first start of 2012. His line: 6 IP, 10 H, 8 R (5 Earned runs), and 0 strikeouts. Yes, zero strikeouts.

I can’t really say what I expected from Hernandez’s first start tonight. I mean, I expected either an absolute clunker (1.0 IP, 9 ER), or a good performance (something like 6IP 2 ER 5 K’s) depending on how well the Angels would adjust to Roberto’s sinker. What resulted was sort of a hybrid of my two expectations. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how many innings Hernandez can provide for this battered rotation. As bad as this is to say, his start tonight was sort of a boost to the pitching staff. One more time, your 2012 Cleveland Indians everyone!

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