That fickle shrew Mother Nature has never had much love for the Cleveland Indians. She knocked down a late Jim Thome homerun in Game Four of the 1998 ALCS that most certainly changed Indians’ history. Tonight she dumped a boatload of rain early in the game to wash out the Indians’ best starter and force Manny Acta to ride the bullpen in the first game of what could be the Tribe’s last meaningful series of the year. At least the rain kept the midges away.
The Indians’ lips were blue after the two hour rain delay as they choked on their tongues, mustering no hits until a leadoff double in the bottom of the eighth by Jason Donald, which Manny Acta shrewdly turned into a busted suicide squeeze, almost ensuring his cruise plans in October will not be disrupted by pesky post season play. The Indians had a chance in the bottom of the eleventh, but Jason Kipnis’s long shot curved foul, and Travis Hafner popped weakly to future Hall of Famer Jhonny Peralta.
After that, the loss seemed inevitable, but not after more typical Indians’ offensive impotence in the twelfth. And the thirteenth. Then in the fourteenth, The Savior, who had struck out four times in the game, decided to take matters into his own hands — literally. Taking advantage of Jim Leyland’s decision to intentionally walk Carlos Santana to load the bases, Fukudome was hit in the hand to “drive” in the winning run.
The victory ensured that the game would not go down in the annals of Indians’ history as The Squeeze because Manny Acta decided to take the bat out of Michael Brantley’s hand in the eighth with a runner and third and no outs while facing a left handed pitcher. While that base/out situation is one of the few times when a suicide squeeze is acceptable, the play is a low percentage play that even when successful, usually ensures that only one run will score. An outside pitch with a left handed pitcher results in disaster.
Meanwhle, thanks to the impotent offense and the rain delay, the Tribe’s pen threw 183 pitches in the victory. The good news is that Shin-Soo Choo completed his second rehab game. He is hitless in those two games, meaning he will fit in nicely with the Indians offense.
Halladay beat the Dodgers last night for an easy +100.
No bets for the day.
Season Total -415.