Friday, October 19, 2007

Remain Calm! All Is Well!

Did you really think they'd hit Beckett? Me either. On the other hand, they're still up, three games to two, and they've proven during this post-season that they can win on the road -- and with all due respect to Boston fans, the environment they'll face at Fenway isn't as intimidating as what they faced at Yankee Stadium.

That being said, you can count me among those who say that Game 6 is a must win for the Indians. I don't like their odds in a Game 7 at Fenway Park. You just know that while Beckett probably won't start (although that's not guaranteed), he will be available, and he has a history of pitching very well on even two days' rest.

A couple of things about last night's game bother me. The first is the decision to send C.C. back out to face the top of the order in the 7th inning. He'd battled all night long against Pedroia, Youkilis, etc., and had just managed to work his way out of a bases loaded jam in the 5th inning. With C.C. already having thrown 106 pitches and all of the arms available in the pen, why send him back out to face those guys again?

What bothers me more than sending C.C. back out for the 7th, however, is the way the Tribe reacted to adversity last night. I'm specifically talking about the 8th inning comedy of errors. That was uncharacteristic of the way the Indians have played thus far in the postseason, but as I watched it, I got an uneasy feeling that the players may have felt that this was the shoe they'd been waiting to see drop over the past three games.

If my feelings about the Tribe's 8th inning funk aren't just the result of projecting my own Cleveland sports fan psychosis on to the Indians, then that worries me more than anything else. That's because for a young team facing an experienced playoff contender, confidence and swagger are big parts of the equation. If the Indians lose those, then they're in big trouble.

I don't want to get too gloomy here. The Indians have a job to do, and I expect them to do it. I'd still rather be where the Tribe is than where the Red Sox are, but the Indians need to keep doing the things that got them here. Good pitching, good defense, and timely hitting characterized the Indians performance in Games 2, 3 and 4. Those were lacking in Game 5, but the Indians need to find the confidence to put that game behind them and get back to work.


Diamond Dave said...

The plan going in was to split in Boston, win 2/3 at home, and win one in Boston. So far, so good. And as cliche as it is, before the series we'd have taken a 3-2 lead going back to Boston with it unlikely Beckett would start again.

Then why am I terrified and have an impending sense of doom? Must be The Cleveland Sports Gene.

Quick ALCS history - both in '95 and '97 the Tribe split on the road, won 2/3 at home, and won game 6 on the road. So at least we have that going for us.

Also, interestingly, the Tribe and Boston are tied for second behind the Yankees (7) for the most ALCS appearances (4) post '94 strike. We have a nice little thing going here since the Jake opened.

The Professor said...

Hey, you fucked up, you trusted a Cleveland sports team. My advice to you is "start drinking heavily."