I am going to keep this short and sweet because you can basically use the same script for every single game of the 2008 season for the Cleveland Indians.
For the 2008 Cleveland Indians to have a chance at winning a baseball game, three things must happen:
- The pitching staff must give up three runs or less. This would hopefully include a quality start above and beyond a quality start for the Indians starting pitcher.
- The Indians must score four runs in the game. They are 22-10 when they do that, and that is very good.
- The Bullpen, which I have named The Son of the Bullpen from Hell, has to pitch effectively and either keep the Indians in the game by not letting the opponent extend the lead, or not blow the slim lead they have been handed.
Two out of three and the Indians have a shot. Sometimes the Tribe struggles to get ANY of the three and to quote Gilbert Gottfried, "That is not good."
Today, they managed only one of three, that being item No. 3, as "crafty veteran" Scott Elarton and rookie Ed Mujica worked four scoreless innings in relief. Eddie Moo worked himself into a little jam in the eighth, but he worked his way out of it, something an Indians reliever hasn't done since the Spring Solstice.
Item No. 1 was not even close, as newly promoted Jeremy Sowers was rusty in his third start of the season. Who knows if it has anything to do with him being up and down three times already this year, but it will be interesting to see how he bounces back in his next start, as he is here to stay for now.
Aaron Laffey was able to do it after getting roughed up, and Sowers will need to do so as well. With Jake Westbrook done for the year (and part of 2009) and Fausto Carmon still on the DL, "The Professor" has a chance to show us that 2006 was no fluke for him.
With this offense, successfully completing item No. 2 is a pipe dream right now. There were only two runs on five hits today. Only one double by Shin-soo Choo. Grady Sizemore had a single bounce off the wall. Nothing else got off the ground. Ugly. Just plain ugly.
Jhonny Peralta continues to be putrid when it counts the most and kills rallies like nobody's business. With runners on first and second and one out in the sixth, he hit what could have been his team-leading 10th double play, but he beat the throw to first.
With the Tribe down 5-2 with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, he was ahead in the count 2-0 against Tigers' ROOKIE pitcher Freddy Dolsi. He then swung at two consecutive balls up and in that were not even close to being strikes.
One again, this is against Tigers' ROOKIE pitcher Freddy Dolsi.
Somehow he laid off his poison pill, a slider low and away, when every Tribe fan expected him to swing. But don't worry, he whiffed on a high fastball on the 3-2 pitch for out No. 2. Ben Francisco struck out immediately after to kill the rally for good.
Once again, the Tribe can't get hits, let alone productive outs, if their lives depended on it.
The Indians are now 28-35, 8.5 games behind the first place Chicago White Sox. It is the furthest below .500 and the furthest behind first place they have been all year.
They end their longest road trip of the year, 11 games, on Monday night in Detroit. They are 4-6 on this trip and cannot get back home to Progressive Field fast enough.
The Tribe has not won two games in a row in over three weeks, and they were held to three or fewer runs for the 31st time in 63 games this year. They are 6-25 in those games.
With the White Sox heating up and the Indians cooling down, if that's possible, it's looking like a very quick end to the summer for the Tribe, unless something changes dramatically and fast.