I had the game recap mostly written, commenting on how the offense had wasted a solid outing by Justin Masterson, a defensive shift had blown up in the Tribe's collective face, and Nick Swisher looked awful at the plate.
As what would surely be the game's final batter came to the plate, I tweeted this:
A base hit ties the game, but I sure don't expect that to happen.— Let's Go Tribe (@LetsGoTribe) June 19, 2014
Hey, I was right!
...Swisher pulled the ball just over the right-field wall for the Indians' first extra-innings walk-off grand slam since Carlos Martinez hit on back in 1992, which means it's the first one the team has veer had at Jacobs/Progressive.
Okay, that's not quite what I had in mind when I said I didn't expect a base hit. I suppose that means I owe Nick a bro-pology.
(I am so, so sorry for that joke, please forgive me.)
Swisher's walk-off grand slam turned a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 win, a 17% chance of victory into a 100%. It also redeemed Swisher on what had been an 0 for 4 day with 3 strikeouts. I still don't have a ton of confidence in him right now, but I'll gladly eat crow until he can turn me into a believer.
Alright, now allow me to go into bullet point mode to babble about a few of the things from today's game that were on my mind before Swisher turned everything upside down:
- Justin Masterson sort of pitched really well today. I say "sort of" because he walked 3 batters, hit another (he does that quite a bit), and threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score. That run was the only run he allowed though, and he made it through 7 innings. There weren't many blemish-free innings, but I can't argue with the end result. Plus, he struck out Mike Trout once, huzzah!
- Until that 10th inning (when Michael Bourn drew a lead-off walk, Jason Kipnis gave the Indians their first extra-base hit of the game, and Carlos Santana picked up his third walk of the day, setting the stage for Swisher's heroics) it had been an ugly day for the offense. All's well that ends well though, amirite?
- Cody Allen faced four batters and retired them all, first striking out Josh Hamilton to get the Tribe out of an 8th-inning jam, then getting a 1-2-3 9th. He really has done a great job this season, leading me to feel better in save situations lately than I have in a long time (I still don't feel good, but there's less bile in the back of my throat).
- The Indians fell behind 3-1 in the 10th when Albert Pujols drove in a pair of runs with a soft grounder through the right side of the infield. It would have been a routine third out if the infield had been in standard position, but they were in an extreme shift against Pujols, and so the right side of the infield was wide open, and that's where the ball went. That quickly led many to complain about the shift, but I don't have any problem with it. Obviously it doesn't always work, but neither does standard positioning, and the shift creates more outs than it takes away. Pujols found a good pitch to roll the other way, but I can live with that.
The Indians are now back above .500, with Detroit headed into town for the weekend. Both the Tribe and Tigers are currently looking up at the Royals in the standings, but all three teams are very closely bunched together, with Detroit just half a game back, and the Indians 2.5 behind Kansas City.
It sure does feel good to be going into this series on a win.
Win-Expectancy Chart (a thing of beauty today):
|14||Denver Tribe Fan||7|