Hold On…By Patrick Langdon
I’m normally the half empty cat. I can bring the negative like its nobody’s business but mine. But I’ve got say reading all the doom and gloom as it relates to our favorite neighborhood baseball team is astonishing to me. Last night’s “Debacle in the Apple” was not really characteristic of the team we’ve come to know and love. Yes.. they are collectively not hitting and yes recent history shows they struggle with close out games but who the hell cares. Losing to the Yankees the last two nights is not indicative of the ball club they are at their core and with any adjustments at all the entire world will see that come Wednesday night. A few things to keep in mind besides the lack offense from the top of the order especially:
1. The Yankees have pitched out of their minds the last two nights. If they would have pitched like this throughout the year the would have won their division by 20 games. Great pitching will always beat great hitting and we are one Andrew Miller mistake away from still playing Game #3 right now. Cleveland has pitched great too just not as great as the Yankees. If Sabathia comes out and mows them down in Game #5 I’d be amazed. If Kluber pitches like he did in Game #2 its not going to be their year. Unless he’s hurt I would take Kluber in a Game # 5 everyday. You all feel the same I’m sure.
B. Bad calls have played a big role in this series and they have worked both ways. Chisenhall wasn’t hit by the pitch Friday night but last night’s check swing no call evens that out. If there is complaining to be done its the movable target that is the strike zone. Last night’s home plate umpire was atrociously bad. He was just less bad if you were a Yankee fan. Severino and the Yankees were helped along pretty much all night long by a let’s just say sizable strike zone. In comparison Tribe pitchers were forced to “put it on a tee” especially with with two strikes and two outs. This happens a lot in baseball and is one of those things that requires adjustments. Its part of the game that will never go away until the umpires do!
3. You may go another 100 years and never see the kind of horrible defense they displayed last evening. It was not a normal tendency and THEY WILL NOT repeat it Wednesday night. While we are at it, Kipnis’ throw didn’t cost them the game last night. It was the four errors and the inability to put hitters away in key situations that did them in. Kipnis is not one of my favorites either but the amount of blame he’s taking right now is comical…he has more hits this series than your lead off and third hitter combined. His arm is pop-gun for sure..but Salazar’s throw to right field cost you that run. Gio Urshela just had one of those games last evening. Anyone that has played the game has had one. His defense down the stretch is big reason why they have home field advantage in the playoffs to begin with. I think he’s earned a pass don’t you?
D. Edwin Encarnacion being out of the lineup is a huge blow to their run production. Just like Jay Bruce was the catalyst for the great run by being inserted into the line-up the machine doesn’t work that well when a part is missing. Michael Brantley is doing his best but he’s not anywhere close to being healthy. If you really feel the need to question something, I think why is Yandi Diaz not on the roster is good one to. With Ushela you have someone that can play every position in the infield so its interesting that Erik Gonzales is also on the roster. But thats about as far as I’m willing to question Tito and the boys. Hopefully Edwin is able to actually go tomorrow and they are at full strength for the deciding game.
4. Lastly…Do yourselves a favor and turn the sound down on Vasgersian and Smoltz. They are paid to call games and to bring ratings and with New York comes six million eye balls. The network has a vested interest in New York winning. Its time to get over it. We live in Cleveland, so unless you want Matt Underwood and Rick Manning calling all the games…the price for being good come playoff off time is biased announcers. Arron Judge has one more hit in this series than I do..but if you don’t want to lose your mind over the incessant fawning ..I suggest Tom Hamilton! He’s not sugar coating anything believe that!
All in all, I guess what i’m saying there’s no need to panic or jump off the wagon. It will be what its supposed to be. Enjoy it more and worry less…because regardless if they win or lose they are still the best Indians team most of us have ever seen and we all have to work on Thursday!#RollTribe