The Jet stole home
That line is from The Sandlot and was one of the names I was considering for this blog. It is one of my wife’s favorite movies, but even that didn’t help push it to the top of the page. The line for the movie did come into play on Saturday night when the Indians erased a late 3-run deficit against the Pawtucket Red Sox to win 4-3 in 13 innings. The game lasted 3 hours and 54 minutes and featured an hour and 13 minute rain delay after the 9th inning. There were 374 pitches thrown by two starters and 10 relievers. Paw Sox starter Clay Bucholtz went 6.2 innings for the no-decision (6.2 IP, 5H, 2ER, 3K) and the Indians bullpen threw 9 scoreless innings of relief. Each team threatened in extra-innings, but it was the Tribe who was a winner. 2B Shelby Ford gave the Tribe a chance to win by stealing home with 2-outs in the 8th inning.
The Indians probably didn’t deserve the win, but if there is one thing about this team is they do not quit. (Cliche, huh?) The Tribe will scratch and claw for every run and their improved defense is helping the pitchers. The steal was the play of the game and may be the play the Indians look back on as a spring board to better things. The question is…what in the WORLD was Shelby Ford thinking with left-hander Jeff Salazar at the dish and 2 outs in the 8th?
“I’m just following orders. Krem (Frank Kremblas) asked me if I think we can get this guy (LHP Hunter Jones)? He said let’s time him and he saw something and we went with it. With Sally at the plate it makes things a little easier because he can see me coming, that way he doesn’t have to swing.”
Salazar told me he could tell Ford was coming before the pitch and his first thought was “Oh S^&*.” From there Salazar didn’t want to give it away and he could tell that the pitcher didn’t know what was happening. The pitch was outside and in between Ford and the plate, but Dusty Brown bobbled the ball and Shelby was safe. If Brown holds onto the ball Shelby would have been in some trouble.
“As I’m running home, in the back of my mind I’m hoping Sally doesn’t swing. If he (Brown) catches it right there I’m going to go inside to avoid a swipe tag and hopefully he misses me and even we don’t make it we still had the bottom of the 9th with our 2, 3, and 4 hitters up and they are rolling pretty good.”
Salazar was going to swing if the pitch was a strike, but he was going to miss to distract the catcher. Salazar sold it and Pawtucket didn’t react as the Indians had themselves game-tying straight steal of home vs. the Paw Sox. It’s the second time in three years they have stole home vs. Pawtucket. Nyjer Morgan stole home at McCoy Stadium in early 2007. Morgan beat the ball home. Saturday’s win was a big one for the Indians.
My good buddy Will Caroll stopped by yesterday and asked me about some the players I have seen over the past couple of days. He was really interested in Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and Tommy Hansen. Glavine beat the Indians this past Thursday afternoon throwing 5 shutout innings in what may have been his last rehab appearance before the 43 year-old 305 game-winner joins the Braves rotation. Glavine’s command was sharp and his defense turned two HUGE double-plays to keep the Indians off the board. The lefty was aided when the umpires missed a home run. Tribe C Erik Kratz hit a ball deep to left center that hit a fence directly behind the wall and bounced back into play. It was incorrectly called a double and Kratz can only hope his kids will believe him when he tells them how he went deep off a Hall of Famer because it will not show up in the stats.
As for Hansen he didn’t throw his curveball all that much relying on his slider and spotting his fastball. He was pretty darn effective striking out 9 batters in 7 innings of work. The only problem I have is digesting his numbers. Entering the game against the Indians Hansen had a 1.51 ERA allowing only 30 hits in 53.2 innings of work. There is no denying his 73 punch outs over that stretch, but the official scorer at Gwinnett is pitcher friendly. (By the way, Hansen is 1-2 with a 2.15 ERA in 6 home starts and 2-1 with a 0.63 ERA in five road starts.) The official scorer didn’t need to help out Hansen, but he helped their pitchers the other games in the series and that leads me to believe the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Numbers don’t always tell you the whole story, but Braves fans should let Hansen get a little more time in the minors so I can see him again in a couple of weeks. Hansen has four quality pitches and that has scouts drooling.