As much as I like Chicago as a city, baseball games against the White Sox are iffy even when the Indians are playing well. Over the last five seasons, we’re 35-49 (.417) against the White Sox. In a terrible season like this one, I’d rather play with a box of tarantulas than watch my Tribe play the White Sux.
Thus it was with some amount of trepidation that I sat down to watch Monday’s game. The White Sox are playing for the division title. We’re just playing to avoid 100 losses on the season. I know intellectually that our players are trying. I’m sure there are a few athletes out there who like losing, but in Cleveland the masochists are generally on the fan side of things. With the exception of Sunday’s game, we haven’t been getting the job done offensively or defensively. For the past six weeks, it’s seemed as though the Tribe has collectively given up.
We didn’t win Monday night, but it was still a really enjoyable game. Perhaps rating losses on a “good loss”/”bad loss” scale is merely a sign that I’ve become too accustomed to watching the Indians lose, but this wasn’t an embarrassing loss. Instead of sleepwalking through the whole thing, the Indians played like a team that fully believed they had a chance to win the ballgame. That’s a major difference from what we’ve been seeing the past month and a half. We had a quality start from Zach McAllister (6 innings, 2 earned runs, 7 strikeouts). Russ Canzler got his 2nd major league home run. We had a total of 13 hits–everybody who started got at least one hit except for Vinnie Rottino. Most importantly, in the top of the 9th, the Indians didn’t go quietly, plugging along even after a double play to bring the score to within one run.
It’s obviously far too late in the season for a big win and a good loss to have any effect save perhaps keeping us out of last place. People say at this point you’re just playing for pride. I’ll agree with that, but there’s more to it than just pride. When I first got married, my now-dearly departed grandmother told me “don’t go to bed mad.” (Apparently there is some science behind this.) It’s the same principle that keeps you taking pitches at batting practice or taking shots at the basket–you don’t want to leave on a bad one. The last act should be a good one. It’s been a long, frustrating season. While I’d love it if we miraculously won all of our last 8 games, I recognize that’s one of those possible-but-not-plausible scenarios. However, non-embarrassing losses would be great. (And not giving Lou Marson the steal sign would be nice too.)