I try not to be a greedy person.  The Indians had already won three games against the Seattle Mariners this weekend, and were facing a tough pitcher in Hisashi Iwakuma this afternoon.  Plus it was the (typically) dreaded 12:05 weekday game, which hasn’t been kind to the Indians over the past several years.  So I approached today’s game with a “don’t be greedy” attitude – don’t get mad if things don’t go the Indians’ way.  Don’t get mad if they’re not able to put much together against Iwakuma, or if their own pitchers happen to falter.  The Indians’ pitchers did happen to falter today, particularly the bullpen triumvirate of Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, and Chris Perez – a trio that is typically very reliable.  Despite that, the Indians never gave up.  Their backs were against the wall, but they never relented.  When Yan Gomes’ walk-off home run just seemed to keep going and going until it cleared the fence, I just stared at the television dumbfounded.  This team’s incredible ability to pull victory from the jaws of defeat actually robbed me of the ability to speak momentarily.  When I finally could speak again, I turned to my dog and said “that wasn’t a bunt.”  (Look, she was the only person home)  Yan Gomes was trying to bunt Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs over to second and third, but ended up swinging away and hit the game-winning home run.  I think this could be one of those games that goes down as an instant classic.

This game went back and forth so many times, I almost forgot about today’s starter Scott Kazmir.  It just wasn’t his day – he gave up two runs in the first inning, and even after the Indians were able to put up four runs on Iwakuma, he wasn’t able to keep the Mariners down.  He only lasted three innings, surrendering 5 earned runs on 7 hits, striking out 2 and walking 2.  It was the shortest outing by an Indians starter since April 16.  Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw managed to put together four scoreless, hitless innings, before the typically reliable Smith, Pestano, and Perez each gave up a home run to Seattle.

I think the Mariners may regret rubbing butter all over their gloves before the bottom of the ninth inning, because the Indians couldn’t have done this without their costly errors.  The Indians had Jason Kipnis on third, and Mike Aviles (running for Nick Swisher) on first in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, down by a run.  When Carlos Santana hit a weak grounder to the right side, I actually started to walk to my computer to write this recap, thinking “I won’t be greedy…this was still a good game.”  I wasn’t counting on Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen completely blowing the play at first.  Kipnis scored to tie the game, and now the Indians had runners at first and second with Mark Reynolds, one of the heroes of Saturday’s game, at the plate.  When he struck out to end the threat, I still wasn’t deterred.  The game was tied, the nearly flawless Smith was about to enter the game, and the Indians were the home team.  Just hold the Mariners in the top of the tenth, and the Indians could try for a walk-off in the bottom of the inning.  Once Smith surrendered a home run, I found myself asking, “do they have a second comeback in them?”

Yes, apparently they did.  The Mariners also had another helpful (to the Indians) error in them as well.  Seattle botched another play at first, meaning that Drew Stubbs would be safe at first on his sacrifice attempt and the Indians would have two on with nobody out.  At first Yan Gomes attempted unsuccessfully to bunt, before swinging away and putting one in the left field bleachers.  At first, I thought it may be caught near the wall, or if the Indians were really lucky, hit off the wall.  It just seemed to keep carrying and cleared the fence and landed about five rows back.  Gomes is making almost every Indians fan ask, “Lou who?” at this point.

The Tribe has now won five in a row, and three of the four games this series ended in a walk-off win.  The Indians went from five games under .500 on April 28, to nine games over .500 on May 20.  They are 15-4 in the month of May and have won 17 of their last 21 games.

44 Comments

  • Shep says:

    I was listening to the game while at work via my headphones. If anyone was napping around me, I’m sure they weren’t after Gomes’ homer!
    Can’t wait to go home and watch the video final two innings replayed via my xbox.
    And since we won, I won’t focus on another blown save by CP ;-)

  • The Doctor says:

    small sample size and all that, but sweet lou must be getting pretty concerned about his job – let’s not forget gomes also threw out 2/3 runners today (though to be fair, one of them appeared to be failed hit-and-run).

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    The Gomes homer was such a fantastic moment! I’m kind of kicking myself – I had tickets to today’s game in my season ticket package but decided to skip it. I just got back from vacation yesterday, I had a repairman coming to the house, tons of work to do, etc. It was still a fun one to watch on TV though.

    This wasn’t a game that showcased the back end of bullpens. Both the Indians and Mariners had lots of problems.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I actually thought about Lou Marson today, and if he’s sitting somewhere thinking “crap.” It has to be frustrating to have something like that happen – you get injured…really through no fault of your own. Then someone is basically stealing your spot while you’re trying to heal.

  • medfest says:

    Random thoughts from a Dali-esque game:

    How about Tim Timmons being waaaay out of position on Stubbs bunt in the tenth and calling him out at first when it wasn’t even close?
    Laz Diaz had his usual revolving strike zone.
    Eric Wedge may just be in a catatonic state after this game.Imagine scoring a run in the eighth,ninth and tenth innings and not winning the game!!!!!
    Francona snaked Wedge on strategy when he took the bunt off after the Mariners ran the wheel play 3 times in a row.
    After Wilhelmsen blew the play at first he tumbled to the ground trying to pick the ball up.I haven’t seen coordination in an athlete like that since Manute Bol.
    Charlie Furbush is a redhead,I wonder why they don’t call him Rusty?

    I’ll be at the Tuesday Teutonic Tilt of Scherzer vs. Kluber.I can’t see anyway they can top today’s win but I’m willing to be shock and awed.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      Okay, first of all – Tuesday Teutonic Tilt is hilarious and awesome.

      As a side note, I was thinking about umpire positioning recently, but not yesterday (back when there were all of those blown calls). Because I used to umpire and I really blew a call once, and I knew I blew the call after I’d already made it. It was because I didn’t get myself into a good enough position to see the play. I thought I had, and I realized too late (as the runner was sliding into the base) that I didn’t have a good angle.

  • Seattle Stu says:

    wow what a game…was watching on TV at my office….i literally was hitting button to switch back to CNBC when i saw wilhmenson drop ball out of corner of my eye….truly astonishing!

    i was hoping someone on the blog was there in person to describe what the mood was like…steph i hope the repairman visit was worth it!

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I heard a lot of people left early, and were kind of cranky about them giving up the lead.

      I’m still cranky about having missed it, but someone had to make the sacrifice to meet the repairman. Since I work at home, it’s typically me. I would have felt bad making my husband miss work, and now I feel bad about having missed the game. No win situation!

  • The Doctor says:

    you’re absolutely right in noting that kazmir’s dud was lost in all the excitement. after all the hemming and hawing about bauer or myers taking over kluber’s spot in the rotation, i wonder what the odds are that they’d consider DFA’ing kazmir. i’d assume low, since kluber has options remaining, but you never know..

    • The Doctor says:

      additionally, is there anyone that didn’t see cabrera’s clueless looking K in the 9th coming? i am consistently impressed with how horrible he can look while swinging at decent breaking pitches.

      • Stephanie Liscio says:

        I was actually kind of surprised he fouled off as many as he did, because the way he looked in that at-bat, I thought he was going down much quicker.

        • Sean Porter says:

          To be fair, there’s a ton of good hitters in the majors that would look “clueless” against a pitcher who nailed the black with a 99mph fastball, then followed it up with a 80mph curve that started at Cabrera’s letters and ended with the catcher catching it with his glove on the ground.

          • The Doctor says:

            true, but my problem is that it’s the norm, and not the exception, with Cabrera.

  • Sean Porter says:

    I was near Youngstown, about six hours into my drive back from New Jersey when I stumbled upon a Cleveland station that announced that the game was tied in the 9th inning. Flipped over to 1100 and listened to the rest of the game – from the sounds of it even Hamilton was shocked Gomes homer in the 10th left the park. Sounded off the bat like he thought it was going to perhaps be a deep sac fly… (After years of listening to Hamilton, you can usually tell off the bat if its a homerun or not)

    I can’t see how the Indians send Gomes down for Marson now. Gomes has been too productive either with his bat or his arm.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      The way Bay was running in the outfield, I thought he had it tracked down. Then he just kept running and the ball just kept carrying. It was pretty awesome!

  • Justin says:

    Shapiro is looking like a genius for the Gomes/Aviles trade for Esmil Rogers. Both of them have been very useful. It seems like Gomes throws out just about every base runner.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I’m ashamed to admit that I was a little disappointed in the trade at first this past winter, because I liked Rogers. The more I read about Gomes, the more I liked it…now I love it!

      • Sean Porter says:

        Not only are the guys at ESPN noticing the Tribe as a team, the boys on ‘Baseball Tonight’ specifically were raving about Gomes last night. They broke down his throwing mechanics and were talking about him in the same breath as Johnny Bench and Pudge Rodriguez regarding how quick Gomes gets rid of the ball when throwing to the bases.

        I’ve said it before – this front office swings and misses generally with the “big” trades – but man can they nail the little ones.

        • Stephanie Liscio says:

          True – very good point. They were also making that Baltimore comparison, which I had been thinking about as well. (more because of their success when they have the lead late, like Baltimore last year).

  • TJ says:

    Was painting the floor of my porch in hot and humid Florida weather & needed to take many breaks from the sweaty outdoors. Seemed like every time I walked in to check ESPN’s computer simulation, Seattle would tie it and go-ahead and the Tribe would unexpectedly respond. Like Steph, I figured don’t be greedy, esp. with Tigers and Red Sox upcoming, so was pleasantly surprised–shocked, actually–at yet another walk-off win. How long can this stunning month of play last? (I hope till November!)

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I hope it lasts until November as well! I figure they need to stock pile as many wins as possible with the Red Sox upcoming, since they did so poorly against them earlier this year. Hopefully they can turn it around this time.

  • Dan Sabo says:

    The Tribe is the hottest team in baseball and most exciting to watch right now…so where the heck are the fans?? Show up at the park!!

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      It is certainly disappointing. I’ve been to probably about a third of the games already, but I still wish it could have been more.

  • Drew says:

    2013 has been fun but the 2011 and 2012 teams were also in 1st place in late May.

    2011 – 28-15 7 games ahead of Detroit with a +58 run differential
    2012 – 23-18 2.5 games ahead of Chicago with a -4 run differential
    2013 – 26-17 2.5 games ahead of Detroit with a +37 run differential

    The wheels fell off the bus in 2011 when Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore hit the DL. 2013 is different because there has already been a couple injuries and the team has powered through them. Michael Bourn doesn’t seem phased by hit finger issue at all. Brett Myers is due back soon and I am not looking forward to it. Scott Kazmir is not looking good but he got hosed a couple strike calls yesterday which would have changed the rhythm of his start significantly. He throws nearly 67% of his pitches for strikes and that’s why I still believe in him even with a ERA over 6. He is throwing 92-93mph on a regular basis and when he missed yesterday, he didn’t miss by much. I think his issues are correctable unlike Myers 88mph fastball.

    2012 was an anomaly and no one believed that they had the player necessary to compete. They were contending until July because the Tigers waited until then to get hot. 2013 seems different and while they are playing .750 baseball right now (21-7 in their last 28 games). Their success against elite pitchers is a strong indicator of the team’s competitive ability. The Indians get Scherzer, Verlander, and Lester this week. If they finish the week 3-3, I’d consider it a success.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I completely forgot Brett Myers existed until I saw this. Ugh. This year does seem to be a bit different…I had a bad feeling right off the bat last year.

  • thirdsaint says:

    I don’t see how Gomes is sent down when Lou comes back. Marson isn’t worth having since his bat is so horrible. Send Lou packing and keep Gomes to spell Santana.

    Also, I don’t care what’s happened the last two years as far as this team collapsing because this is an entirely different group of guys with a manager that simply won’t let that happen. He’s already changed the clubhouse atmosphere (he did Day 1) and they have depth and veterans to keep the younger guys focused and loose. The Tigers will be there to the end but I could see a similar scenario as 2007 when we battled them all year and took the division in the last couple weeks of the season. Just need the pitching to stay at least decent and our speed and offense should carry us.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I wonder if there is a team that would want Marson, and what they would be willing to give up for him. At least the Indians are dealing from a position of strength.

      They could stay in there until the end…even the fact that we’re asking that makes this sort of fun. A season without hope ends up being pretty miserable.

  • Mike says:

    I was listening to the game at work and had a hard time tempering my excitement. You guys in Cleveland who can go to the games are lucky. I’m stationed in CA and the Tribe isn’t playing the Padres this year.

    I really hope they can keep it up. This is the first time in a long time that it actually looks like they have the people for a legitimate shot.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I used to feel that way when I lived in southeastern Pennsylvania. They came to Baltimore really early in the year, usually April or May…and I didn’t get to too many games in Cleveland. When I’d come back to visit my family we’d usually head to a game, but I didn’t make it home that often during a season.

      • Shep says:

        I completely understand that too. I have lived outside of OH for almost 20 years now. Currently in Texas. I make it to a game in Cleveland once every two years if I’m lucky. And, last year’s game was a 3-0 snoozer loss, with 1 Indians ball hit to the outfield all game.

        Go support your team, folks!

  • DaveR says:

    I wish I could show up at the park. I live in Florida now and can only see them play the Rays. Looking at the stats it does look like attendance is creeping up. 19K showed up for a Monday afternoon game and 34K for the Friday showdown.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I’ve been to maybe a third of the games so far, but I still wish I could do more. Time and money end up getting in the way!

  • Jordan Wilhite says:

    Honestly guys, i’m just going to ride out this awesome run as much as these players give it to us to watch.

    Seriously, when was the last time we had this kind of excitement in a regular season? 5 years?

    • thirdsaint says:

      Yeah, 2007 when we pretty much led the division all year.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      It is exciting – they’re a fun team to watch. Early 2011 was kind of fun too, just because it was so surprising. I always felt like I was kind of waiting for the collapse, but this year I don’t feel that way as much.

  • Sean Porter says:

    2011 was a fun start, but more of a “I’m not sure how THIS team is 30-15 but I’ll take it” type of feel. 2012 was also a decent start, but I think we all knew in the back of our minds that a team of Kotchman at 1b, Hannahan at 3b, Duncan/Damon/etc… in left was not going to beat the Tigers (or White Sox)…

    This team in my opinion has a more legit feel. Not a perfect team, or even a particularly well-rounded team, but one that is deep enough in certain areas to hopefully offset weaker ones (specifically: starting pitching)…

    After the offseason that shocked all, it will be interesting what this front office will do concerning the trade deadline. What I wouldn’t give for another solid starting pitcher.

    • thirdsaint says:

      Agreed. This team does feel legit because we actually have good players and a more than competent manager. I wonder what it would take to get a player like Feldman from the Cubs. Definitely not as much as Price.

    • Ross says:

      I think we’ll hit all year. I’m still not 100% convinced that Masterson, McAllister, Jimenez, Kluber, and Kazmir haven’t all been pitching over their heads so far. My guess is that some of them have actually improved while others will regress to the mean very soon. Here’s hoping that more of them fall into the former category rather than the latter. I think the next 8 series against stiffer competition will be extremely telling as to whether we will stick around in contention this year or not.

      • Stephanie Liscio says:

        The pitching worries me, but you never know – I never thought Baltimore could hold it together last season and they won the wild card and made it through to the ALDS. And I think this Indians team has more legit players than they did. Plus they had guys like Nate McLouth playing way over his head.

        • Drew says:

          who continues to play over his head again the season. He was decent in Pittsburgh where he posted about 0.9 WAR but then flamed out in Atlanta. He is now back to a 1.9 WAR in just about 5/8 of a season of service time stretched over 2 seasons with the Orioles. If he keeps this trend up he will finish the season around 3.0 WAR which could be All-Star material.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I wasn’t expecting anything in 2011, and was expecting a little bit in 2012. At the same time, I had a bad feeling about last season even when they were doing well. And for some reason, there were games that they won last spring that I still found frustrating. The difference is that there are games they’ve lost this spring, that I don’t find myself frustrated. Last year I felt like you could see the wheels starting to come loose, even when they were still at the top of the division.

  • Sean Porter says:

    I can’t see the Rays giving up Price without Lindor (and much more) included in the trade, so I’ll pass.

    The Indians need to find their own Doug Fister – a trade the Tigers made with little fanfare (right about the same time the Indians made the ‘blockbuster’ for Ubaldo) but has worked out fantastic for Detroit.

    The Tribe doesn’t need an ace – they have one in Masterson. What they need is a legit #2 or #3 to go with Masterson and McAllister at the top of the rotation who can consistently produce quality starts.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I LOVE Price, but I don’t even want them to consider it. Tampa’s GM is so good, I just feel like no matter what, it would never end up benefiting the Indians as much as the Rays (even on a short-term rental basis).

      • Drew says:

        Trevor Bauer does walk a bunch a batters but he doesn’t give up hits. a 1.47 WHIP isn’t good but each game he pitches, he looks better. He posted a 1.263 WHIP against the Yankees and got his first quality start. He is moving in the right direction as a pitcher and will the #3 by the year end. That leaves #4 and #5 to go to Jimenez, Kluber, Kazmir, or Myers. I think the roster spots will be given to the guys that make the $$ leaving Kazmir and Kluber as the odd men out.

        I do think Kazmir can continue to improve as he has looked decent in 4 of his 6 starts.