Indians lead series 3-1
Paul Byrd .252
Casey Blake .136
Jhonny Peralta .095
Travis Hafner -.096
Kenny Lofton -.058
Asdrubal Cabrera -.016
All 10 runs scored in Game 4 came in two consecutive team at-bats.
Tim Wakefield, who had cruised through the first four innings, "hung" a knuckler to Casey Blake, and he hammered the pitch deep into the Home Run Porch. After that, a series of fortunate events prolonged the inning, including Kevin Youkilis dropping a pop fly that would have been out number two. Later in the at-bat, Tim Wakefield deflected a probable double play ball, driving in another run.
But the biggest hit of the game came after Wakefield left. Manny Delcarmen's mid-90s heat was supposed to provide a major change of pace from Wakefield's lazy knucklers. Apparently they weren't aware of Jhonny Peralta's affinity for the outside fastball. Peralta rocketed a high Delcarmen fastball to the right field seats.
Paul Byrd, meanwhile, had given the Indians five solid innings. About the only thing that wasn't working for Byrd was the double windup (he gave up hits on two of the three times he used it). A generous strike zone aided Byrd, who used his control he fool and frustrate Boston hitters. But the Cleveland mesmerizer doesn't usually last long, which is why Eric Wedge had Jensen Lewis warming in the sixth. Byrd lost it quickly, giving up no-doubters to Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz.
Byrd was removed without recording an out in the sixth, which suited the Indians just fine. Because of the off day on Wednesday, Lewis and Betancourt were both available for multiple innings. If Game 5 was played on Wednesday, Wedge would have had to either go with Byrd a while longer or use Rafael Perez for an inning or two.
Manny Ramirez finished off a back-to back-to back home run streak, hammering a Jensen Lewis 3-2 pitch to right. Ramirez admired his handiwork like he'd just won the game, and that admiration will be filed away for later retribution.
The Indians got some breaks, but to their credit, they capitalized fully on them. Travis Hafner was the only starter not to reach base, and each of the seven runs was scored by a different hitter. And the bullpen was fantastic yet again.
Next Up: Game 5, and a chance to clinch the pennant. Sabathia vs. Beckett.
I'll be out of town for a few days, so Jay's driving for Game 5. See you on Saturday.