Thursday, August 23, 2007

Live Blog: Indians-Tigers, Game 3
-LIVE! from Comerica Park

-Our hosts are Matt "3-out homer" Underwood and Rick Manning

-Before I even have a chance to remark on Underwood's "three-out homer" remark from last night, he tops himself in the opening of the broadcast:

"If (Jake Westbrook) can shut down the Tigers, the Indians have a great chance to stay in first place by a full game and a half, or maybe extend that to two-and-a-half games ..."

Forgiving the whole "full game and a half," (huh?) the Indians already lead the Tigers by a game and a half, and they are playing the Tigers. Therefore, there is no way the Indians have a chance to stay up by a game and a half.

- Gotta love that Eric Wedge. Lofton gets two hits, gets on base three times, and sits. After scoring 11 runs Wednesday, Wedge moves Grady Sizemore back to the leadoff spot. So much for grabbing a hold of anything positive.

- The Indians appear to have found their offensive groove, looking about as interested through three innings as me at a global warming summit. Nate Robertson has Cleveland hitting lazy fly balls. Westbrook looks OK through two innings, though he had two pitch with two runners on in the second.

Just to be fair to the Indians broadcasters, I have turned down the sound. That way, I am not tempted to write a snide remark everytime Underwood says something. No score through two and a half.

-Indians are still not hitting through six, but the game stays tied after a brilliant play by Franklin Gutierrez. I've said it before: Gutierrez needs to play every day. The Tribe is getting nothing from Trot Nixon, who looks more used up than a three-year old toothbrush. Gutierrez is on the brink of stardom. Play him.

Manning says "you don't realize how good he is defensively." I'm not sure that's true, but if it is, it's only because we don't get to see Gutierrez enough. He is probably the best defensive out fielder on the roster, and he has a higher average and six more homers than Nixon.

Meanwhile, Westbrook plays with fire again. He gets the first two hitters in the sixth, then gives up a single and stolen base to Magglio Ordonez. Carlos Guillen walks, bringing up Marcus "They call me Mister" Thames. He gets up 0-2 on him, then gets him to bounce to Casey Blake. Another great start potentially wasted. It's like Denis Leary's The Job.

- We reach the eighth, with the Tigers putting a pair on for Guillen. Two outs, and Westbrook gets ahead 1-2. Guillen hits a bouncer to Garko, who (and isn't this a shock) bobbles the ball. He recovers and throws just in time to end the inning. That's eight shutout innings for Westbrook. How is it Fausto Carmona gives up three hits, Westbrook pitches eight shutout innings, and Paul Byrd (six runs, 5 1/3 innings) may be the only one to get a win in this series?

With two outs in the ninth, Sizemore stretches a single into a double, basically assuring the Indians won't score (Blake is on deck ... runner in scoring position ... you know). Jim Leyland takes out Robertson. I don't want to act as though Robertson wasn't brilliant, because he was. It's just that the Indians hitting has been so cold for so long, it's hard to tell who is more responsible for doing what.

Interestingly enough, Leyland brings in Joel Zumaya, who has faced Blake one time in his career. Blake homered. I declare, on this blog, that I'll stop riding Blake for a month if he drives in the run.

Blake grounds to third. Oh, well.

- Wedge calls for Rafael Betancourt. This has been a spot where the reliever has been somewhat less than perfect this season. He retires the first batter, then gives up a base hit to Mike Rabelo. With Ivan Rodriguez running at first, Betancourt walks Brandon Inge. Not looking good.

Ramon Santiago hits, and flies to Sizemore on the first pitch. With Curtis Granderson up, Wedge goes to Rafael Perez. Well, the Indians will now have used their two good relievers.

So, here's Granderson. There's this one annoying guy in the crowd, who keep yelling at Indians players. He told Travis Hafner earlier to pick a bat without cork. I don't know if he's annoying the players, but he sure is annoying me. I mean, it's one thing to heckle, but when you're not clever with it, it's painful to listen to.

Perez strikes out Granderson; we go to the 10th.

- And that's when the Indians break it open against (Huzahh!) Zumaya. They load the bases with one out, but Guitierrez strikes out. But Wedge does the right thing, inserting Kenny Lofton. The veteran wastes no time, snapping an RBI single past second. Chris Gomez follows with a 2-RBI single to right center, making it 3-0. Those are RBIs from the midseason pickups. And people worried about chemistry. Think Mike Rouse would have driven those runs in?

Zumaya is done. Leyland brings in Bobby Seay to face Sizemore, who strikes out looking.

Fasten your seatbelts boys and girls, it's time to enter the exciting world of Joe Borowski.

Borowski retires the first two hitters without incident, bringing up Magglio. I am predicting a home run here, just to keep it interesting. Borowski goes 3-0 on Ordonez. As I get Tampa Bay flashbacks, Ordonez rips a double. It never is easy with Borowski.

It brings up Guillen, who gets a bunt single. Oh, lord. Thames singles to left. Now I'm getting Yankee Stadium flashbacks. If Borowski blows this one, it might be time to make other arrangements. This is perhaps the most crucial game of the season.

So here comes Pudge. Borowski's first pitch to Pudge, a ball, looks awfully flat. But Pudge pops up a 2-1 pitch. Gutierrez grabs it, game over, 2 1/2 game lead.

I'm still worried about Borowski, though. And I'm out.



At 10:30 AM , Anonymous Erik said...

What does it say when Brian Anderson is the best man on the broadcast team?

Underwood needs to keep a calculator in the booth. Last night, he noted that the Tigers "have made it a two-run game" when they scored to make it 11-8.

Oh, well. At least he's not cramming "Souvenir City!" down our throats with every home run ball anymore. I've never seen a baseball announcer work so hard to come up with a catch phrase.


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