Blame it on a simple twist of fate
Eric Wedge is the fall guy for what’s transpired with the Tribe over the last two years, though it’s been commonplace for people to say the blame doesn’t rest with one man.
But perhaps it should rest with one man — the man is taking the mound for the Red Sox tonight.
He’s the one who got the Indians in this mess. It was his dominant performance in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series that returned the series to Boston, with the Indians holding a 3-2 advantage they would end up squandering. Once the Tribe was unable to clinch at home, it was painfully obvious that they wouldn’t be doing so on the road, either.
Blame it on Beckett, who very well might have been ticked off that night by the Indians’ decision to have his ex-girlfriend, country singer Danielle Peck, perform the National Anthem. He used any and all pent-up aggression to allow just a run over eight innings, with 11 strikeouts.
In some parallel universe, the Indians won that game, disposed of the Rockies in the World Series, celebrated with a parade up E. 9th Street, sold out the 2008 season, re-signed CC Sabathia and have just wrapped up their third straight AL Central crown.
But in reality, everything that has followed that game, in which 44,588 fans at Jacobs Field were silenced, has been a nightmare, where the Indians are concerned.
Sabathia, the guy who was outdueled by Beckett that night, is long gone. Fausto Carmona, the guy entrusted to be the stopper in Game 6 at Fenway, is a shell of his former self. The roster is completely revised, The Jake isn’t The Jake, Wedge and his coaches got the axe, and the Indians are either rebuilding or reloading, depending on your definition.
Even Peck’s career has gone downhill. Her last two singles didn’t reach the Hot Country Songs Top 40.
Beckett, meanwhile, endures. He’s won 16 games this year, and he’s playoff-bound once again. You can blame Wedge for the Indians’ plight. You can blame CC or Carmona or Joel Skinner. But if you want a healthy exercise, blame Beckett. It will make tonight’s otherwise meaningless game feel a little more pertinent.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- After last night’s loss, it’s official. This season will not only be the worst in Eric Wedge’s tenure (second prize goes to the 68-94 season in his rookie year, 2003), but it will also be the Indians’ worst since 1991, when they finished 57-105 and finished last in the AL East. All that remains to be seen is whether the Indians will finish last in the AL Central for the first time in the division’s history. The Indians and Royals entered today’s action in a deadlock.
- Actually, that’s not all that’s on the line. As Jay Levin of LetsGoTribe.com points out, the Indians have already clinched a Draft pick in the top five next year. They’d have to finish behind the Royals in the standings to move up to No. 4, because the Royals had a worse record last year, and that’s the tie-breaker.
- The good news? The Indian’s bullpen has posted a 3.42 ERA over the last 31 games and a 2.56 ERA over the last 16 games.
- The bad news? The Tribe is batting .238 over its last 19 games and has scored runs in just one of its last 29 innings played. The Tribe has been shut out 11 times this season, third-most in the AL.
- Aaron Laffey enters tonight’s start having induced 26 double plays this year, the third-most in the AL. He’s allowing just .53 homers per nine innings (five homers allowed in 78 1/3 innings).
- Last night’s loss not only set a new club record (13) for consecutive road losses, but it also ensured the Tribe will drop four of five and six of eight season sets against the Red Sox. The Indians have not won a series against the Red Sox since April 25-27, 2006. They are 5-15 against them since the beginning of ’07.
- A tarp on the field meant downtime in the cramped clubhouse before tonight’s game. Some players tuned into the Twins-Royals game, while others were locked into college football. First-base coach Luis Rivera had more fun than anybody, as he began playing “Deal or No Deal” on the computer. He “won” $25, then $50, and then, finally, $500,000. “I can go home happy now,” he said proudly.