Indians

Indians nearly blow tremendous pitching performance, rally to beat Orioles 4-3

LenBarkerPerfectGameI remember Len Barker’s perfect game. That is to say, I remember my dad turning the television channel to the Indians game in the eighth or ninth inning of that game. I was 8.

There hasn’t been a no-hitter by an Indian pitcher since May 15th, 1981.

Through all the dominant months and years of those exciting 90’s Indians, and the back-to-back Cy Young winners of the 2000’s, there was never a no-hitter. I really, really would like to see one again. It isn’t a championship. It is one night of dominance. One night of making history.

I tend not to get really worked up anymore about perfect games or no-hitters until after the fifth inning.

Scott Kazmir was dominant through five innings. He was perfect into the fifth, before a four pitch walk to Wieters. It was just a blip on the radar that inning. Kazmir got out of the fifth and continued mowing down batters in the sixth. A fly out. A routine grounder to short.

Could this be it? Could we be watching a bit of Tribe history?

Nick Markakis strikes out on a nasty pitch up and inside. Nine outs. Nine outs away from a no-hitter.

I spend the commercial break and a good part of the Indians’ half of the inning explaining the significance of a no-hitter to my daughter. My eight year old daughter. I want her to watch this with me.

Figures.

Kazmir gives up a double down the line to the first batter in the seventh. It was a decent pitch, but a good swing. Lonnie Chisenhall made a diving attempt, but he was no where near grabbing it. A batter later the Indians give a gift to the Orioles when Cabrera botched a pick-off attempt which allowed Machado to move to third. He would score on a sac fly. No-hitter and shut-out both gone in a five minute stretch.

But Kazmir was fantastic. He was inside and outside, painting both sides of the plate. He was varying speeds. Seven innings pitched, and he only threw 78 pitches, 56 of them for strikes. One unearned run allowed, one hit allowed. One walk and four strikeouts. Then something really strange happened.

Kazmir came out for the eighth inning and threw his warm-up pitches. The last of which was a beautiful braking ball by the way, and suddenly Francona came to the mound with the team trainer and pulled Kazmir.

Kazmir was replaced by Joe Smith, and the wheels came off the bus.

Nick Swisher couldn’t handle a Chisenhall throw from deep in the hole at third. It gave the Orioles an extra out, and they would take advantage in the eighth. Three hits and a walk in the inning gave the Orioles a pair of runs, putting Baltimore ahead 3-2.

If you are wondering where the discussion is of the Indians’ offense, well Kipnis hit a 2 run homer in the fourth. That was about it until the ninth. Baltimore’s Jason Hammel pitched seven strong innings. The Indians struck out five times against Hammel, and left five on base.

In the ninth, Brantley drew a four pitch walk, and then Jason Giambi hit a double off the wall that just missed being a home run. Brantley went to third on the hit. Carlos Santana pinch hit for Gomes, and was intentionally walked setting up a bases loaded, no out situation for Lonnie Chisenhall. He hit a ground ball to second that the Orioles just couldn’t turn two on. Brantley scored to tie the game at three.

With one out and men on first and third Drew Stubbs hit a ground ball to third. Instead of going home with the ball, Machado tried to turn the double play. Not a good decision with Stubbs running. He beat the throw to first, and the Indians had taken back the lead. That’s right, the Indians scored a pair of runs in the ninth off fielder’s choices.

Here’s your stat of the day, after 258 plate appearances this season Drew Stubbs has still not hit into a double play. He’s the only qualifying player without a GIDP.

The game was Vinnie Pestano’s to save.

First up- Chris ’28 home runs’ Davis. Here’s your pitch sequence- slider, slider, slider, slider, slider, fastball and slider. Struck him out. A good looking start to the inning.

Next up Matt Wieters. Against Vinnie, Wieters is 0-3 with 2 strikeouts. Make that 0-4. Kipnis gets a nice wake-up call with a line drive right beside him. Two down.

J.J. Hardy worked the count full. Then Pestano blew a fastball by him. Ballgame.

With the win and a Detroit loss, the Indians are just 2.5 games behind.

This is the kind of game that the Indians would have lost last year. Obviously they aren’t winning them all this season, but an ugly win is still a win, and it earned at least a split of this four game series.

After the game, Terry Francona said that Kazmir was having back spasms from the 5th inning on, and that is why he was pulled. He said it looked like Kazmir was struggling in his warm-ups.

  • Adam Copeland

    Indians owe Buck Showalter some thanks for his odd managing of the top of the 9th. If you’re going to walk Santana to load the bases with no one out, why aren’t you bringing in the infield to throw out the runner at home? Also odd that with Stubbs batting he didn’t bring in his guys at the corners – you’re not going to double Stubbs up on a ball hit to third, so the third baseman needs to be throwing home. I also thought that it wouldn’t have been a terrible time to try a squeeze play there, so all the more reason why you need to bring your first and third baseman in. Very odd managing.

    In any event, it was good to see the Tribe battle back in this one. This would have been a pretty demoralizing loss given how dominant Kazmir was through the first 7 innings. Also good to see that Pestano seems to be righting the ship. Perez is supposed to come off the DL today, but the Indians need as many good bullpen arms as possible.

  • Harv 21

    Really nice to squeak in a win on the road against a very good team when the high-priced part of your offense is deep in the funk. If the team can hover a little over .500 until the all-star break they will have positioned themselves for a playoff run once Bourn and Swish snap out of it and the bullpen stabilizes.

    Here’s what I hope the team does with Chisenhall: nothing. Ignore him, don’t let him obsess with excessive video watching or talking to the hitting coach. Refuse to talk to him about anything but girls and parties. Keep him in the lineup and give him the impression he can go 0 for 197 and he’ll still be in the lineup. His brain is so clearly blocking his body right now that not sure he can even see the bat in his hands. Something’s gonna happen – maybe an accidental 4 for 5 with bloops – and he’ll start breathing normally again.

  • MrCleaveland

    Swisher’s got to catch Chisenhall’s throw in the 8th. That was bad. I’m starting to have some trepidation about him.

  • Adam Copeland

    He’s playing hurt and I think it’s now in his head both at the plate and in the field. Apparently his shoulder issue is a chronic type of problem so he’s going to be playing with it all year. Tito may want to take some pressure off him by moving him out of the 4 spot, and he probably should given that Swisher doesn’t really deserve to be hitting fourth right now given his level of production.

  • DJM

    first paragraph, exact same thoughts through my head. Basically handed the opportunity to us. With third base back why no squeeze?

    Why Santana hits for Gomes is a question mark. I understand the righty/lefty but Gomes has proven himself deserving of a shot especially when the odds are they are going INT walk him. Save Santana.

  • DJM

    Same could be said about Chiz, Chiz has got to make that throw

  • mgbode

    you see those white knuckles when he’s at the plate as well 🙂

  • mgbode

    hats off to the Indians FO (and Mickey Callaway) on trusting the rotation going into this year and finding a couple minor signings that they trusted would be enough (yaay for Kazmir).

  • woofersus

    I think if you really expect an INT walk you happily take the next guy on base. Francona does generally handle his players pretty carefully and is more likely to show trust than not, but I think in this case it was just a combination of Santana being the better hitter and Gomes currently struggling against righties. Plus, Santana doesn’t strike out very much, so even if he flies out you expect to get the tying run home.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    On the bright side Brent Legend Lillibridge is now with the Yankees. Teixeria who?

  • mgbode

    that brightens my day. thanks.

    found this gem about the trade:

    “Yesterday the Cubs traded Brent Lillibridge to the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash. Lillibridge had only 24 PA for the Cubs before being sent to the minors. He managed a .042/.042/.042 batting line and provided -0.5 fWAR. The city of Des Moines is thankful the Cubs have traded him.”

  • Harv 21

    Kazmir could be the tribe’s once a decade lightning in bottle starter but man, I wish they had one mean, competitive veteran in the rotation, that guy who battles right through when he doesn’t have good stuff and will hold those SOBs to 3 runs over 7 innings despite 10 hits. A Nagy-type. It’s like everyone out there right now is liable to collapse when things go south – Masterson, Ubaldo. Maybe Kluber could be that guy one day but he’s a kid.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    HE IS LEGEND!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The Indians have to add a starter especially if they are still contending near the trade deadline.

  • woofersus

    I really expected that last year was a statistical outlier for at least half our staff, (and obviously Tomlin was hurt) but I have to hand it to Callaway for really turning potential into reality with McCallister and Kluber, and for having a smarter approach with Jiminez than anybody over the last two years. If Kazmir can keep it up and McCallister comes back soon we’ll have a pretty darn good 1-5 going.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The Indians have to add a starter especially if they are still contending near the trade deadline.

  • Natedawg86

    Easy one bouncer though. At your home park, those are almost as good as straight to the glove

  • Natedawg86

    Masterson had four innings of perfect pitching on Tues night too! Glad to SEE them (live in MD so got to watch games this week) come backin the ninth! Roll Tribe!

  • DJM

    Not disagreeing Swish should have scooped it too. Just saying Chiz should make that throw.

  • ToxicToast

    Jordan Bastian had a short article on Indians.com regarding Antonetti and July trades. Antonetti seemed to be expressing confidence in the current rotation while still stating the FO’s typical generic and lukewarm party line. “We are keeping our options
    open.”

  • JNeids

    I had completely forgotten about Tomlin and that makes me sad.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Sounds like the party line and I don’t expect them to add a starter at least not one of significance. That being said after the last few years being in contention alone should warrant some kind of move(s). The Indians have areas that need to be improved especially come October when the smallest things can be magnified. As good as the SP has done I would not feel comfortable or confident matched against some of the possible counterparts.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea but it’s not how you start it’s how you finish!

  • woofersus

    I agree it’s a little scary that Jiminez and Kazmir could turn back into pumpkins and let’s hope McCallister doesn’t go Adam Miller on us, but as it stands I think it will be very difficult to add a starter who is significantly better than our current bottom 3 guys. Outside of guys like Bauer and Lindor, I’m not sure what chips we have that are worth a very good SP. I feel like it might be more realistic to try and upgrade the lefties in the bullpen.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Don’t forget JC Romero was signed as a free agent. He’s currently in the minors working himself into game shape. I’m sure once ready he’ll be promoted and become the late inning lefty. He’s better then Hill and certainly better then Hagadone.

  • Natedawg86

    Tell that to Jiminez

  • Natedawg86

    Yeah. He took the time to get himself right. Have to have that throw on the money.

  • Steve

    Nothing to read here. No GM will ever say “man, we could really use a starter and Cliff Lee is worth giving up a ton for”. The Indians didn’t leak any info on the Jimenez deal until it was all but through, I’d imagine any deals this season will unfold similarly.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I don’t speak Spanish!