September 20, 2013
I guess you wouldn't know it by the first two results in this series, but the Astros have now lost 33 games more than the Indians. But the Indians have managed to win both games, and at this point in the season, you aren't worried about style points.
The Indians should have won by a much larger margin. The Astros committed three errors early in the game, practically inviting a blowout, but the Indians only got two runs out of it. Houston starter Brett Oberholtzer ended up throwing six innings (and therefore a complete game), and didn't give up an earned run. But his fielders were not up to the task tonight. In the second inning a Brandon Laird error meant that Mike Aviles' ground out was only the second out of the inning, not the third. Carlos Santana, who had singled to lead off the inning, went home on the play, and the Indians tied the game. And in the fourth inning, what should have been a force out at second turned out to be two-error play. Ryan Raburn, who started on second, went home when Chris Carter's throw to second base sailed into left field, and left fielder Marc Krauss' throw home bounced away from the catcher. The Indians had runners on second and third with one out, but couldn't capitalize any further.
Meanwhile Zach McAllister had given up a second inning home run on a Brandon Laird homer, but managed to keep the Astros off the board after that. Control problems led to a bases loaded situation in the fifth inning, but a double play got him out of it. When Zach started the sixth inning by walking Jose Altuve, Terry Francona had seen enough. This late in the season, you can't afford to let a starter try to work himself back into the strike zone. Scrabble and Bryan Shaw restored order, and Shaw pitched a quick seventh inning.
As the game moved in to the middle innings, the radar looked more and more ominous. A large line of rain stretched from Canada to Mexico, and it was about to reach downtown Cleveland. Minutes after Shaw struck out J.D. Martinez to end the seventh, the rain started, and the tarp was quickly put on the field. And about an hour later, MLB called the game, undoubtedly because of the forecast.
A couple things to note about called game:
- Once the game begins, the host club has no part in the decision to call the game. That decision is in the hands of the umpires and the league office.
- Delays tend to be longer if the game is not official yet. If a game is called before the road team has batted in the sixth inning, the entire has to be replayed. And because of travel/schedule restrictions, calling the game before it is official has major logistical ramifications. If the rain had arrived in the fourth inning instead of the seventh, we still might be waiting.
Once it's an official game, the only choices the umpires have is to either wait until the weather clears or call the game. They can't suspend the game unless there's a tie. I guess we'll see in the next couple hours whether the game could have been gotten in tonight, but the radar doesn't look very good. With this game being crucial to both the Indians and all the other Wild Card contenders, the decision will come under a lot of scrutiny. Had the roles been reversed (the Astros winning 2-1), we would have been ticked off if the umpires had called the game, but again, the decision is based on whether the game can be finished tonight, not on what effect the called game has on the standings. So be thankful that Scrabble and Shaw held the Astros at bay those last couple of innings. And thank the rain for not arriving until after the game became official.
Minutes ago, the Royals finished off the Rangers 2-1, so at the very least the Indians will wake up tomorrow with second wild card spot. If the Orioles beat the Rays (game is currently in extra innings), the Indians would be in the first wild card spot.
AL Games of Interest
- Royals (-2.5) 2, Rangers (-0.5) 1 - Final
- Yankees (-3.0) 5, Giants 1 - Final
- Rays (+0.0) 4, Orioles 4 - 12th Inning
American League Wild Card Standings
Roll Call: 43 Commenters
Game Thread: 546 Comments
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