May 26, 2013
Game 49: Park of horrors
Not going to write much now because this is the [redacted] baseball.
Corey Kluber was really good, and the Indians did a good job against Doubront, but of course none of that matters now.
Time to go outside and pull weeds or something. Those thistles won't know what him 'em.
OK, time to talk about this.
The good thing about games like this is that you had to play well in order to even be in a position to lose in that fashion. Before the the ninth inning, the Indians had kept the Red Sox to two runs on four hits. Corey Kluber pitched perhaps his best game as a major leaguer, allowing just one run on three hits in 6.2 innings pitched, striking out 10 Sawx along the way. He's really been aggressive in his past two starts, with both of those starts coming against very tough lineups. Both he and Zach McAllister have been getting better with every start, which says something about the staff and something about the pitchers. The Indians will have a good problem to have should Brett Myers be deemed ready to come off the DL after his next start.
The Indians have a bit of a home run drought, having not hit one since the Detroit series, but that was remedied today. Jason Kipnis hooked one just beyond the Pesky Pole in right, and Nick Swisher blasted one over the Green Monster. Both home runs came off of Red Sox starter Felix Doubront, the type of left-hander that gave the Indians fits in recent years. Doubront did strike out eight, but he also allowed four runs, and thanks to Kluber's outing, that looked like it would be enough for the Indians to win the game and get an important split in Boston.
But it was not to be. Cody Allen allowed a run in the eighth, making the ninth a save situation. Chris Perez entered the game not having pitched in six days, and the rust showed. He walked Dustin Pedroia to start the inning, then gave up a double to David Ortiz. That placed runners at second and third with nobody. But he got both Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to ground out. Both outs scored runs, but after the second grounder Perez and the Indians were one out away from victory, and nobody was on base.
That's when the weirdness really started. Perez walked Johnny Gomes, then gave up a single to the suddenly-hot Stephen Drew. Then he walked Jose Iglesias to load the bases. Each base runner ratcheted up the pressure and the increased the crowd noise, and by the time Jacoby Ellsbury came to the plate Chris Perez hwas approaching 30 pitches. After throwing a 1-1 ball to Ellsbury, Perez grimaced on the mound. Mark Reynolds alerted the training staff, and after Perez threw a wild practice pitch, he was taken out of the game. Because Perez was pulled because of an injury, Joe Smith, his replacement would have as much time to warm up as needed, but he had almost no room for error, as he inherited a bases loaded situation and a 2-1 count to a dangerous left-handed hitter. He had to throw a strike to Ellsbury, and the Boston center fielder was ready for it. Ellsbury plugged the gap in left-center field, short-hopped the fence, and completed the bullpen implosion.
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