How can you not love this team? New guys contribute every night. Tonight it was Casey Blake hitting a home run and a RBI single in the 5th inning. Last night it was Lofton hitting a 2 run homerun. Or it's Peralta. Or Sizemore. Or Westbrook. Or Byrd. This is a very good baseball team.
Paul Byrd... what can you say? He threw a shut out through 5 and it looked like the long bottom of the 5th (7 runs!) tired him out (back to back home runs to start the 6th). Bonus Byrd quote: "I hit 90 tonight, out of nowhere. I don't know what happened"
It's weird, but ever since 7 run 11th on Saturday, I have complete confidence that the Tribe will pull these games out. I thought they were going to win the whole way in both games at the Jake. I was absolutely terrified for the bulk of Game 2 (I was sure that Boston was going to win that game).
On the similar note, I've come to trust Eric Wedge completely. I'm not questioning any move he makes; I have complete faith in the guy. Starting Paul Byrd in Yankee stadium? Yup. Tom Mastny pitching to the heart of Boston's order? OK. Playing Trot Nixon, at all? Well, why the hell not? At this point, I want Wedge choosing stocks and lotto numbers for me.
I know I should be used to this by now, but it still always bugs me. In both series that the Tribe has played in thus far, the other team has gotten all the attention. And I know that part of this is because they've been going against the Yanks and the Sox, but still. It's not often that my team makes it this far and I'd like them to get a bit of recognition. Boston knocks out Sabathia but the Tribe didn't knock out Schilling or Dice-K, they 'didn't pitch well'. It's always about what Boston's players do, not whether or not the Tribe is actually beating them (I think this is semi-coherent). It shouldn't bother me, but I can't help but get annoyed (though the Yankee series was worse).
How many pressure games has Boston faced this year? They jumped out to a big lead early this season, cruised the rest of the way and then pounded he Angels in the ALDS. They haven't exactly responded since the marathon that was Game 2.
Except for Ortiz and Manny (and to a certain extent, Youkilis), Boston's lineup doesn't worry me that much. Granted, those three scare me to death, but still, I'm more than comfortable with any of the other six hitters batting.
Can you praise the Indian bullpen enough? The job that these guys have done is mind boggling. If the starters can get to the 6th, the Tribe has a very very very good chance of winning the ball game. Betancourt is simply dealing and Jensen Lewis has given them more than solid middle relief.
Byrd and Westbrook have put the Tribe in a very nice position. They can pitch Sabathia in a possible clinching game, against Josh Beckett, in Cleveland. And if that doesn't work, they get to throw Fausto Carmona the next game. You gotta feel good about this, right? Anyone really think that if Sabathia and Carmona combine to pitch four games in this series, they'll pitch poorly in all of 'em?