Monday, March 31, 2008

Tribe tr - umps ChiSox in opener

A lot good happened at Progressive Field today.

A lot of bad happened as well.

And so too, there was a lot of ugly.

Let's start with the bad, because it was a big part of the Tribe's win 10-8 over the ChiSox.

A lot depends on what side of the fence you are sitting on, but even as a Tribe fan I'd have to say the umpiring in the last two-and-half innings was brutal, and the Indians were the beneficiary.

Here's what happened.

Top 7: Tribe 7 Sox 7, bags juiced, Tribe-fan favorite A.J. Pierzynski bounces one up the middle. Jhonny P. fields and throws wide of 1B and up the line just a little. Ryan Garko - the guy who supposedly can't play 1B - goes flat out, snags the ball while attempting to keep his foot on the base. The ump says ........ yes he did!

Top 8: Tribe 7 Sox 7, bases loaded - this time with no outs. Orlando Cabrera chops one between the mound and 3B. Peralta charges and throws poorly - again. This one is wide and up the third-base line. No 6-2-3 double play for sure, but Kelly Shoppach swipes at Joe Crede on his way home. Did Shoppach tag him? ..... the ump says yes he did!

Same inning. Next batter - Thome. He bounces one to 2B. Asdrubal pitches it to Peralta covering. Too late to get it back to first, but Orlando Cabrera takes a swipe at Jhonny as he slides by. His feet touch the bag during the slide. So did he interfere? The ump says .... he did.

Let me preface my next comments by saying I was watching the White Sox broadcast on the dish, which just happens to feature the two biggest homer announcers in the league - Hawk Harrelson and Darrin Jackson.

But, with the possible exception of Rex Hudler with the Angels, Harrelson and Jackson are also the two biggest morons behind a major league mic, so I doubt I was swayed by anything they had to say.

Based on the replays I saw - at game speed, in slow mo and paused by TIVO - I'd say the interference call on Cabrera was bogus. His slide was close enough to the bag for him to touch it with both feet, and the arm swipe came when - it appeared -Peralta had already decided to eat the ball.

And though it really was tough to tell if there was any daylight between Garko's foot and the bag, or Shop-Vac's glove and Crede -- gun-to-my-head, I'd have to say both Pierzinski and Crede were safe.

Given the situations, and the awful performance by the Tribe's pen today, it's safe to assume the Sox could have taken a lead of several runs over those two innings.

Now for the ugly.

Let's put it plain and simple. The Tribe's pitching. Not one of the Tribe's five hurlers looked good.

CC overpitched, much as he did in the playoffs last year. He struck out seven, but gave up two, two-run bombs to Thome. He walked three and gave up six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Mostly, he just never was able to settle in.

Jensen Lewis came in and struck out two in the sixth to get CC out of a jam. But he was wild high that inning and free swingers Juan Uribe and Crede couldn't resist, swinging through a number of high fastballs. Lewis gave up two singles to the first two hitters in the seventh before he was sent packing.

Raffie Perez gave up a game-tying double to Paul Konerko after being spared the same fate one-batter earlier when Thome was robbed of a double to left by Jason Michaels.

Raffie Betancourt gave up another hit in the seventh before ending the frame. But in the eighth, he gave up two doubles, though no one scored and then benefited from the umps' calls outlined earlier.

Joe Bo came in in the ninth with a three-run lead. He gave up a dinger to Jermaine Dye and a walk to Pierzynski while notching his first save. A lot like last year.

Unlike last year, Casey Blake came up huge in the clutch, driving home three with a long, two-out, eighth-inning double to left that missed being a grand slam by about two feet. It hit off the wall, putting the Tribe ahead 10-7.

That's where the 'good' comes in. And there was plenty of it

Franklin Gutierrez gave the Tribe its first lead in the second, 4-2, with a three-run shot off Mark Buehrle - the biggest blast in a seven-run inning. Grady Sizemore also jacked one to right center that inning, as the Tribe sent 12 to the plate and had eight hits.

Peralta was two-for-four and Victor Martinez went two-for-two before exiting to the biggest dose of "bad' for the Tribe.

Victor went down in a heap and hobbled off the field after trying to advance to second on a passed ball, ending what had been a fabulous second inning.

Right now the Tribe says Victor is day-to-day with a strained hammy. My guess is we won't really know the extent of the injury for a few days.

That makes it very 'good" that we didn't trade Shop-Vac over the winter.


Anonymous said...

still cant figure out how to sign on as the moose - a win is a win

borowski just another day at the office - quick pick up shoppach on your fantasy teams

at least it did not snow

Ron Vallo said...

To all:

I guess I got one wrong. Ozzie Guillen says the play at 2B was, indeed, interference. If Guillan says so, and the call went against his team, it must be so.

Not to take anything away from the Tribe or an exciting game, but they did get some help from the umps.