In the seventh inning, Manny Acta brought in Frank Herrmann to pitch to Brent Morel with the score tied at one. Normally this would be a spot for Joe Smith or Vinnie Pestano, but those two had been used extensively over the past week, and with the Indians now effectively out of the race, Acta tried someone else. Herrmann has been with the club most of the year, and at times has come through, particularly in two extra-inning marathons in August. But tonight was a bit different, as he was coming into a game before extra innings, and came in with runners on base. Herrmann's first pitch was a fastball right down the middle, and Morel was ready for it, breaking open what had been to that point a pitcher's duel.
David Huff will have an opportunity over the last three weeks of the season to solidify his hold on a 2012 rotation spot. With Carlos Carrasco now out until at least the beginning of 2013, and with White and Drew Pomeranz out of the organization, he'd have to implode over his last few starts to not come into next year's camp at least a favorite for a starting job. Six months ago, this would have been unthinkable; in 2010, he was awful, allowing a 6.21 ERA over 15 starts. His career arc was resembling a Wile E. Coyote cliff fall, even though his minor-league pedigree had pointing towards major-league success. He had to reinvent himself, and so far it looks like it's worked. He's added a cut fastball to his reptroire, changed his position on the rubber, simplified his windup, and has made a concerted effort to be more aggressive in the strike zone. Tonight, against what looked like a difficult lineup to face, he left the game having only given up one run in 6.1 innings. After Herrmann gave up the home run to Morel, his line looked a lot different, though that shouldn't obscure how he pitched.
Josh Judy succeeded Herrmann in the seventh. Judy, who seems poised to make the transition to the majors, had not done well in his few September appearances with the Indians. He was also brought in to quell a seventh inning rally, and like Herrmann, made things worse almost immediately. He hit Brent Lillabridge, loading the bases for Paul Konerko, who predictably hit a grand slam to put the game entirely out of reach. Judy would pitch a scoreless eighth (though he hit another White Sock), but the damage was already done.
|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|