Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Textbook Win

That, my friends, is how you beat the Red Sox. Six and two-thirds innings of solid starting pitching, followed by two and one-third innings of nearly flawless relief. Throw in Kenny's dinger and a couple of RBIs from Cabrera and Hafner, and the Tribe not only wins, but we get a full night of sleep to boot. It just doesn't get any better than that.

Tonight it's going to be Wakefield against Byrd. USA Today has a detailed breakdown of tonight's pitching matchup, but the real story as far as the media is concerned is Terry Francona's decision to start Wakefield instead of Josh Beckett. That particular decision is being second guessed by everyone from The Sporting News to the Manchester, NH Union Leader.

You just know that Fox's insufferable duo will spend just about every moment of pregame airtime and entirely too much time during the game itself discussing the profound implications of Francona's decision to go with Wakefield. My guess is that if you were of a mind to, you could probably come up with a pretty good drinking game based on the number of Grady Little references the Antichrist throws out during these discussions -- you know, sort of baseball's answer to "Hi, Bob!".

Of course, Tribe fans know what these portents of doom mean for the Red Sox -- Tim Wakefield will be spectacular tonight, with his knuckle ball dancing like [insert bad Bill Livingston metaphor here]. That's just the way things work out for the Indians. That means that the Tribe needs another quality outing from Paul Byrd to keep them in the game. Oh, and a few more hits would be nice too, if it's not too much trouble.

The good news is that not only is Byrd coming off of a very solid outing in Game 4 of the ALDS, but he also pitched well in his only start against the Red Sox this season. Byrd allowed only one earned run in six innings of work and came away with the win in the Tribe's 8-4 victory over the Sox on May 30th. Byrd is 4-2 lifetime against the Red Sox, with an ERA of 4.19.

The Indians are in a position to grab Boston by the throat tonight and take control of this series. I've always thought that for the Tribe to win this thing, the series needed to go no longer than six games. There's no profound insight behind that assessment; I just don't like the prospect of playing the post-curse Sox in Fenway Park in a Game 7. A win tonight would give the Tribe a real shot at making sure that scenario doesn't play out.


Anonymous said...

Is it me, or has Shaw & Livingston mailed in WORSE since Pluto's arrived?

The PD has some explaining to do.

Hornless Rhino said...

I don't know, but I'm sure that having Terry Pluto in the same section as those two makes their shortcomings even more apparent.

Anonymous said...


Those two ARE worse (Shaw and Livingston) but Livingston was never good to begin with.

But even Pluto (who is a good writer) has been sounding like a complete shill for the Indians, especially in one "article" where he all but guilted people into going down to the Jake to buy tickets (Hey, Terry, maybe some people just cannot afford it here in Cleveland, okay?)