Where We’ve Been…
Looking back on Game 4 of the ALCS last night, I really feel like that game reinforced everything I’ve felt about this team since the playoffs began. That performance is exactly what this Indians offense is. They may not be the best lineup in baseball, but on any given night, you can count of one of the nine stepping up and making their impact felt in the game. Sometimes it might be Asdrubal Cabrera, sometimes Casey Blake, sometimes Jhonny Peralta. Sometimes Kelly Shoppach plays and is the guy who steps up. Sometimes its Jason Michaels. The point is, you never know, but these guys all believe in each other on the field, and it shows. Last night, when Wakefield’s knuckler had the team off balance for 4 innings and you started to wonder if the Indians were going to get a hit, much less score a run, you could look at the players and you saw no sign of doubt in their eyes at all. They never looked lethargic. They never looked panicked. They looked confident and patient. It was as though they just knew someone was going to get things going for them eventually. And that’s exactly what Casey Blake did, crushing a Wakefield knuckleball deep over the left field wall in the 5th inning. From that point on, the Indians smelled blood, and boy did they pounce. Sprinkle in a little luck (Youkilis dropping the foul ball, Cabrera’s double play ball being knocked down by Wakefield’s glove, etc), and you have a recipe for success.
I hate to say it, but deep down inside, I almost feel like this was meant to happen. It seems like a lot of the bounces are going our way, and I think the Red Sox players feel it also, to an extent. Even Mike Lowell said as much in the Boston Herald.
“I think they’re playing very good baseball, but it’s kind of a reverse. Everyone expected Carmona and Sabathia to put together the great pitching performances. Instead, (Jake) Westbrook and Paul Byrd did.
But I guess if everyone knew the outcome, we wouldn’t even have played the games. That’s why this game’s great. . . . Hopefully, the day off will be the day the good karma goes our way, and we can come play for Game 5.”
I think this is the first time I can ever recall a player hoping to use the off day to build “good karma” for his team, but that’s exactly my point. When people are saying NOTHING is going right for the Red Sox right now, they must be including karma and luck into the equation as well.
Where We’ve Yet To Go…
And so we look ahead. Does anyone really want to see this thing go back to Boston? I know I sure don’t. The Red Sox cannot be overlooked. They’ve overcome worse positions than this before, and I’m sure deep down they think they can do it again. This is why it is going to be so important for CC Sabathia to be the Cy Young candidate that he was in the regular season tomorrow night. CC has taken the mound twice in this postseason so far, and the results have not been pretty. CC has looked anxious and has been consistently overthrowing and aiming, rather than just trusting his arm and his stuff and just throwing the baseball into the catchers glove. Both of his starts have come on extended rest so far. Tomorrow, he will be on 5 days rest. Hopefully he won’t be so fresh as to continue overthrowing, but will be relaxed and settle in and just be the best pitcher he can be. Anyway, we shouldn’t be worried about CC or Fausto….at least not according to Victor Martinez:
”It was just one of those things. I don’t think they were too excited or anything. With C.C., he was just a little wild and wasn’t able to throw the ball where he wanted. Fausto threw the way he has thrown all year. They (Boston’s hitters) had a good game plan against him, and his sinker was moving a little too much.”
Martinez said Indians fans who were distraught over the sight of the team’s two aces getting roughed up on back-to-back nights should relax.
”They’ll both be fine, I’m seeing the same guys I saw in the regular season.”
Lets hope Victor’s right, and tomorrow night we can all celebrate the Indians’ first penant since 1997.