SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 17: Jason Donald #16 of the Cleveland Indians watches his RBI single in the seventh inning giving Cleveland a 9-8 lead against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on April 17, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
I'm going to try a different format for these West Coast late games; I'll be logging some thoughts as the game goes on. So the recap will read a bit differently, but hopefully the gist of the game will come through.
Top 1st. Michael Brantley starts the Indians left off in Kansas City. Brantley later steals a base, and scores on Travis Hafner's two-out single. It's still early, but it's a good sign that Brantley is starting to not only get on base, but utilize his speed.
Bottom 1st. Masterson looks like he's reverting to his Opening Day self. Lots of weak swings.
Bottom 3rd. John Jason takes Masterson deep, giving the Mariners the lead. As good as Justin has pitched, left handers are probably always going to give him some trouble. Jaso doesn't have much of a history of home run power, but that homer was a no-doubter. Masterson now having control problems, walking Figgins. Though he got out of the inning fairly easily.
Top 4th. Do you think Boston could have used Kevin Millwood late last season? Duncan singles; once Damon is ready, I think the Indians have to find room for him to play at least 4-5 times a week.
Bottom 4th. Mariners jumping on Masterson's first pitches, first two reach on singles. Montero hits a line drive out on the third pitch of the inning. Now he falls behind 3-0 on Saunders, and allows a single to load the bases. None of the singles have been cheapies. Now a walk to bring in a run, and Masterson hits Jaso to bring in another run. Looks like the wheels are coming off the start.
Later: Ouch. Mariners now up 8-1, and Masterson is done. It was weird that Masterson fell apart after two dominant innings to start his start. Usually when a pitchers doesn't have it, he doesn't have it from the start. Hagadone, who replaced Asdrubal Cabrera, is in to hopefully soak up some innings. With the score the way it is, the most reasonable goal for the Indians is to not have to use Smith or Pestano. I'm going to guess Rafael Perez is going to get some work - the Indians really to need to get him going again....Hagadone gets out of it, but the damage is done. It will have to take another offensive explosion for the Indians to even make a game of it.
Top 5th. Indians aren't going away, with a Hannahan double, followed by a Donald single....Brendan Ryan boots what should have been at least an RBI groundout, let's see if that will come back to haunt the Mariners. It did, as Jason Kipnis loads the bases with a single, and Choo makes it 8-4 with a double....WOW, Carlos Santana makes it a one-run game with a three-run homer. The Indians have now homered in each of their nine games. Millwood is done, still with nobody out. This one could take a while....
Later: And just like that, the game is tied. It's not often you have consecutive team at-bats both teams scoring at least 6 runs. Jason Donald plates Shelley Duncan with a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Eric Wedge to the mound to pull Erasmo Ramirez, and we're going to have the third pitcher of the inning. Charlie Furbush comes in, part of the Doug Fister deal. Furbush retires Brantley to end the inning, but we have a new game.
Bottom 5th. Hagadone with a nice job of pitching around another Jack Hannahan error. Struck out Brendan Ryan with a fastball, Jason with a slider, and got a fly out to end the inning. He'll have the rest of the road trip in Cleveland, and if Rafael Perez doesn't get it together, he might be staying longer.
Top 7th. Indians pull ahead on Jason Donald's two-out single. Now it's in the hands of the back end of the bullpen.
Bottom 9th. Here we go, Chris Perez on for the save. Out one on a grounder to first...Kyle Seager singles after a good at-bat....Jesus Montero hits what could have been a game-ending double play ball to shortstop, but the ball takes a bad hop and nails Donald in the face. I hope that the game isn't decided because of a bad hop...Perez gets a huge popup for the second out, still runners at first and third, but two out. Uh oh, now Perez can't throw a strike, he walks Brendan Ryan of all people; Ryan has now walked four times. John Jaso up now with the winning run at second..whew, he pops up on a 2-0 pitch to end the game. Another weird and wild win for the Indians.
Post-game: You've got to be concerned with the starting pitching the last couple games, but somehow the Tribe offense is covering up the pitching flaws.'Night, everyone.