I was on a Toledo sports radio show ("The Benchwarmers") back in March. One of the co-hosts suggested Carl Pavano might be the most important player for the Indians in 2009. I (correctly) suggested that was ridiculous – the Indians were paying Pavano $1.5M and anything he gave them would be a bonus. I stand by that, but Pavano is certainly an unheralded MVP so far for the team this year. Without him the Indians would be that much further in last place.
That was on display again tonight. Coming off consecutive games in which the bullpen was heavily taxed, Carl Pavano came in and went a very strong 7 innings. Pavano set the tone early with two swinging Ks in the first and he never really looked back. Pavano’s final line, 7 innings, 4 hits, one run, two walks and 6 Ks, is his best line of the season. Over his past three starts he has 22 Ks and only 5 walks in 18 innings. This is what the Indians need. There are no magic beans in Columbus to help Cleveland rise out of last place. The Indians have to win now with the guys they have and hope that by the All-Star break when Westrook et al. are available as reinforcements, there is still something to reinforce.
Offensively the Indians got it done tonight with the long ball. Garko went deep with a solo-shot of Rays starter Matt Garza in the second. Cabrera followed with a solo-shot of his one in the third. Mark DeRosa finished off the homerun hattrick off Garza with a 2-run shot in the 6th, helping to finish off Garza and give Cleveland a 4-0 lead. Kelly Shoppach finished off the scoring with a solo-shot in the 7th.
One victory, or even two in a row, is not going to get Cleveland back into it. But each step counts, and these victories right now are critical.
Next up: Jackson vs. Sonnanstine, 7:05pm
|C Pavano||.347||L Valbuena||-.076|
|M DeRosa||.114||S Choo||-.058|
|R Garko||.093||G Sizemore||-.034|