WWW

This is not history repeating: While We’re Waiting

WWW
WWW

Happy Tuesday, WFNY!

How are you feeling today? Nervous? Confident?

Me? I’m perfectly calm. Calmer than you are. Shutup, I’m not freaking out, you are!

Yes, here we are again. The Cleveland Indians had a nice lead in a postseason series and just needed one more win to close out the series. And once again, they’ve allowed their opponent to come back and even the series to force a final, deciding game.

This is getting old. Yes, I still remember the 1999 ALDS against the Boston Red Sox. Yes, I remember the 2007 ALCS against the Red Sox. Yes, I remember the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. We’ve seen this scenario play out plenty of times in the past.

I cannot blame any Cleveland fan who is feeling more than a little uneasy this morning. The funny thing is, though, I feel fine. Confident, even. Excited. I’m a little annoyed that the Indians have to burn Corey Kluber again and couldn’t close out the series without having to use him a second time. But truly, the Indians have the best pitcher in baseball starting a game at home on full rest. If you don’t feel good about this, I’m not sure what you’re looking for. It doesn’t get set up any better than this.

Of course, the opponent is CC Sabathia. If anything makes me nervous, it’s that. This feels like one of those storybook situations that are trying to write itself. The former beloved Cy Young ace of the Cleveland Indians squaring off against the current beloved Cy Young ace of the Cleveland Indians. Sabathia is going to pitching for his own personal redemption. Redemption from what, you ask? I said earlier, I remember the 2007 ALCS. I remember Game 5. It was the clash of the titans. Sabathia vs Josh Beckett. A chance, at home, to close out the Red Sox and return to the World Series.

Beckett lived up to his end. 8 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 11 strikeouts. Sabathia? Not so much. 6 IP, 10 hits, 4 ER, 6 strikeouts. To his credit, Sabathia tried to work his way through it as best he could, but he was far from sharp in that game. Far from the normal Sabathia we had grown accustomed to. The Indians never recovered in the series and by 2008, Sabathia was traded to Milwaukee.

For Sabathia’s personal narrative, finishing off the 2017 Indians would be a pretty satisfying end to the story. For the Indians, it would just be more heartbreak.

But still, I’m not terribly worried. I have full confidence in Corey Kluber. As much as I don’t like the decision, still, to not start Kluber in Game 1, this is why the Indians did it the way they did. They wanted Kluber on full rest for Game 5. This is the playbook.

Sure, I’m a little worried that the team’s best hitters aren’t hitting in this series. I’m worried that not only are the not hitting, but they don’t even look like they can see the ball half the time, swinging wildly at pitches outside the zone and not taking advantage of mistakes left in the zone. All season long the Indians have been so opportunistic, striking at even the slightest mistake by their opponents. Suddenly, in this series, that swagger seems to have receded a bit.

For whatever reason, though, I feel good about Game 5. It’s funny, this is a strange time for Cleveland sports fans. I see so many fans freaking out about the Indians. I see so many fans worrying about the Cavs starting Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade together1. In many ways, times have never been better for the Indians and Cavaliers. And yet it seems like some fans are working harder to justify the Browns season and to project optimism about the Browns while fearing doom and gloom with the Indians and Cavaliers.

I’ve been there, myself. It was just a couple weeks ago when I foolishly and laughably projected confidence about the Browns and wrote that I expected them to go 3-3 over their next six games.

On a personal level, though, I’m actually far more optimistic than the tone of this post might lead on. I actually think the Browns are going to go at least 2-1 in the next three and I have them at 3-3 over the next six games. I genuinely love the way this defense plays and I think the offense has even shown it’s capable of putting together drives here and there. A reduction in self-inflicted setbacks on that side of the ball will pay big dividends for an offense looking for an identity still.

This is your weekly reminder that I have no clue what I’m talking about. Wait, is this post itself, this projection of confidence, just another piece that is going to look really stupid this time next week?

Don’t answer that. My point is simply that times are good for Indians and Cavaliers fans. Losing this series would hurt. It would make this a disappointing season. But the Indians are set up to be very good for quite a while yet. It’s not the end, either way.

But screw that. The Indians are winning Game 5. They are winning this series. One of these days my post about confidence in my team will pay off. Won’t it? It has to. Go Tribe!

  1. I mean, don’t get me wrong, here. Yes, I’m worried about Rose and Wade starting together as well. But not to the point I fear for this season. []

  • RGB

    2018 Browns Draft Position Watch.
    Currently: #2, #12

    Week 4: #1, #12
    Week 3: #1, #7
    Week 2: #7, #11

  • BenRM

    The sky, she’s falling.

  • JNeids

    A lot of questions get answered tonight.

    -Are Frankie and Josey really MVPs? Yes I know postseason play doesn’t factor in, but Lindor’s GS aside (and no, I’m not minimizing the importance of it), they have been awful at the plate so far. If they want to show who the MVPs of the team are, it starts tomorrow night.

    -Is Kluber really the Cy Young winner? Ok yes he definitely should be. So is he healthy and ready to carry us through two more rounds? Let’s see if Friday night was just a blip in the radar (gun).

    -Did Brantley really deserve a roster spot? We have another rusty vet in Chiz, but at least he can play the field. I realize Brantley wasn’t supposed to be getting this much action, but if Kip’s bat is supposedly so valuable, stick him at DH and AJax in center.

  • Harv

    I too am totally confident. And will be, right up until I see the Yankees playing strong and loose like underdogs with nothing to lose, the Tribe playing the opposite way, and thoughts of what lessons Paul Dolan may take from the revenue loss of a first round collapse start skittering around my cranium.

    Of all the starting pitchers in the league, this is the one I’d want. Of all the managers to have minds right in the dugout, this one. Of all game sites – rightchere. We good? Good. Ooooommmm ….

  • MartyDaVille

    Yep, we’ve got everything going for us. We’ve got all the advantages. Which is why we’re doomed.

  • RGB

    I hate this matchup, because in the words of Pedro Cerrano, “Straightball. I hit it very much.”

  • Bulldogs_3

    A loss would make this series a disappointment… not the season. This season has been awesome.

  • Steve

    The narratives are already set regardless of which way it goes?

    Maybe sometimes baseball is just baseball. Funny things happen.

  • Chris

    Game 4 is on the defense. They better bring their focus tomorrow.

  • mgbode

    you misspelled Aaron Judge

  • Natedawg86

    I feel like the umpire behind the plate was awesome for a few games but awful last night and the night before.

  • Eric G

    My only question to the people suggesting Brantley shouldn’t have been there is, who else would you have as DH when EE went down?

  • Natedawg86

    If we cannot from Kluber in 2 starts of a 5 game series, we weren’t going to win it all anyways.
    Who would you rather have on than Brantley? Diaz?

  • Harv

    and that is clearly (I thought) the point of my comment

  • WFNY_DP

    Last night was a full-game version of “4 time Gold Glover Tony Fernandez boots a ground ball at the worst possible moment” from 1997.

  • Chris

    Man, I hear ya. It’s as if there have been entirely different people back there

  • MartyDaVille

    Sashi can turn that #2 and #12 into a #17, #22, AND #29 in no time! Woo-hoo, assets!

  • JNeids

    I realize there isn’t a great answer here. As I noted, if Kip’s bat needs to be in the lineup, then keep it there at DH and put a better fielder in center. To answer @Natedawg86:disqus – unfortunately, again, no great answer. Diaz’s bat is better than Ursh, but we certainly didn’t need all 3 of Yandy, Gio, and EGon. I honestly don’t know. I suppose Brantley gets a spot by default. As mentioned, nobody expected him to get this many ABs. It was just painful watching him and Chiz back to back. Even more painful knowing what Brantley could/should be providing if fully healthy.

  • RGB

    I’m having 1999 flashbacks.

  • Chris

    I don’t see it… the Browns were way better that year.

  • RGB

    I’d kill for Kevin Johnson, right now.

  • The Yankees were the matchup I simply did not want in this opening series. They’ve got the power and the pitching and they are too young to know they shouldn’t win it. Meanwhile, young and pitching-capable as we might be, we also have every bit of the pressure on us. 102 wins, 22-game win streak, runaway AL Central champs, World Series participants just a year ago: we are Goliath, they are David. And the last two games, we have shown the weight of that pressure via pressing at the plate and a case of the yips on defense last night as bad as I’ve seen a professional team have. This is now us versus the Yankees + our own heads, and I don’t like the odds. I want to believe in the Cy-ness of Klubes and the GOAT-ness of JRam and the Streak and #Believeland and all of that. I want to #TrustTito. But my faith is legitimately shaken after last night, as silly as that might sound after everything that has happened this season. But in the postseason, only the current game matters. All the happy feels and the accomplishments of the regular season are irrelevant. Tomorrow night we learn everything we need to know about the 2017 Cleveland Indians.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi RGB … and the Browns play Houston this week … who do we want to win ??? MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!! … sorry , man.

  • Chris

    Hell, give me Ty Detmer

  • Honestly, I prefer Cleveland teams playing for the highest stakes on the road. Because no crowd tenses up palpably and sucks the air out of the place like a Cleveland sports crowd in the face of adversity. Same with the Buckeyes. We may be great fans, but we (and I absolutely include myself in this) feel pressure like no others.

  • RGB

    Tie.

  • Chris

    Hopefully not everything.

  • Chris

    If the Browns are going to win one game, it better be this one.

  • Maybe 20+ years on the warm memories will shine through (like the 90s teams), but if THIS team can’t get it done? That’s hugely disappointing.

  • Return of the (Alex) Mack

    If Kluber can’t outpitch Sabethia in one of two games at home then the Indians do not deserve to advance.

    Indians Win 4-1. (Kluber goes 8).

  • Watson may put up a 300/100 game on us. No pressure though, Kizer.

  • Chris

    Edwin’s parrot is in for a rough ride when Edwin hobbles around the bases to end it.

  • Chris

    Move Peppers up to spy Watson. Or just move Peppers up.

  • BUT THEN WHO WILL KEEP SANDUSKY SECURE??

  • Harv

    on some level this feels very true. Camera shots show way more Angst Face than the Entitled Boorish Demand Face of Yankee Stadium. And when things go south they mercilessly rain boos on their own, like spoiled adolescents. We go quiet, like beaten sheep.

  • Chris

    Let the Lions deal with Sandusky. We’re lucky to secure Lakewood.

  • Harv

    agree. If he can’t, how on earth would the Tribe get past Houston?

  • MartyDaVille

    This seems to be an opportune time to extend a warm invitation to one and all to joint #TeamOwen. Our lads came so close last year, only to suffer a devastating victory on Christmas Eve. And now there’s unfinished business to attend to. The Browns are on a mission, and last Sunday’s stirring loss clearly showed that they are determined to achieve perfection this year.

    So I invite you all to jump on the bandwagon. There’s plenty of room. And if all goes well, we’ll be blowing kisses and tossing candy from that bandwagon in January during our Defeat Parade.

    On a personal note, I will be taking a sabbatical from #TeamApathy for the duration of this losing streak because I now actually have a reason to care about the outcome of a Browns game.

    HERE WE GO, OPPONENTS, HERE WE GO (WOOF WOOF)!

    HERE WE GO, OPPONENTS, HERE WE GO (WOOF WOOF)!

  • RGB

    Pressure to what? Not drop the clipboard?
    Go Hogan!

  • RGB

    Or just give him a pair of binoculars. That way he can see the play developing at the line of scrimmage…

  • MartyDaVille

    This seems to be an opportune time to extend a warm invitation to one and all to joint #TeamOwen. Our lads came so close last year, only to suffer a devastating victory on Christmas Eve. And now there’s unfinished business to attend to. The Browns are on a mission, and last Sunday’s stirring loss clearly showed that they are determined to achieve perfection this year.

    So I invite you all to jump on the bandwagon. There’s plenty of room. And if all goes well, we’ll be blowing kisses and tossing candy from that bandwagon in January during our Defeat Parade.

    On a personal note, I will be taking a sabbatical from #TeamApathy for the duration of this losing streak because I now actually have a reason to care about the outcome of a Browns game.

    HERE WE GO, OPPONENTS, HERE WE GO (WOOF WOOF)!

    HERE WE GO, OPPONENTS, HERE WE GO (WOOF WOOF)!
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8109896feb6f024ff7d54037e82488698995bfd1329bb016109049c8ccba4af4.png

  • Chris

    Rizzo would like to have a word with you.

  • JM85

    Go 1-15, screw up the draft, lose again the next year. Go Browns.

  • Harv

    I mean, theoretically that seems fine but don’t really care enough at this point.

  • RGB
  • scripty

    Hopefully Sabathia remembers his choke DNA like he did in Game 6 in 2007 ALCS.

  • Harv

    also, you know Hue will be weeping at his final Auto-da-fe presser. Parading that? I was so into it last year but this year seems needlessly cruel while the fresh blood runs down Lou Groza Blvd.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi MARTY … is that you & your jersey in this pic ??

  • tigersbrowns2
  • MartyDaVille

    No, tb. The person in that jersey is a visionary. He saw greatness long before I did. I’m admittedly a late-comer to the party, but now I’m ALL IN!