Sunday, October 7, 2018

October 7th: Hey, We May Have Lost Game 2 But At Least We Don't Have a Domestic Abuser on Our Team - A Sequel, Sort Of

The Indians lost Game 2 of the ALDS versus the Astros and it was soul crushing, but in a different way than Game 1's loss was.  In Game 1, Corey Kluber ran out of gas while our bullpen imploded and the offense barely chimed in above a whisper.  I kept thinking of the scene in Major League when Taylor crashes his ex-girlfriend's party and one of the guests says upon learning that he's a professional baseball player, "Here in Cleveland?  I didn't know we still had a team."

We've got uniforms and everything.

Game 1 was like the first half of that iconic (and extremely hilarious) movie where the team is bumbling and out of sorts and lacking finesse.  Every time Tom Hamilton talks about how Jose Ramirez keeps lunging after breaking balls he can't hit, I think of Pedro Cerrano: "Straight ball, I hit this very much.  But curveball?  Bats are afraid."  

Where is Jobu when you need him?

Game 1 was pretty depressing.

But I am a diehard fan, a keep-the-faith fan, a true believer.  I know they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, but I will never cave when it comes to the depth, breadth, and height of my love for Cleveland baseball.  Even if it kills me.  Which it just might.

Hasn't killed me yet, though, so I tuned in to Game 2, ready to rumble.  Ready to erase the pain of the day before.  We had Carlos Carrasco on the mound.  Cookie is one of the most under appreciated members of the 2018 squad.  Dude can deal.  He's also one of the most supportive teammates, constantly bragging about the other guys on the bench on his social media.  He's a prankster and a goofball and he loves to go out there and pitch.  Carlos Carrasco would be the ace on any other team and he sits comfortably as our #2 guy, just happy to be part of the action.  Cookie is one of my favorites.

And his performance in Game 2 was all the more reason to say so.

Pitted against Astro's #2 guy, Gerrit Cole, Cookie kept his cool and kept those vicious 'Stros hitters off the board, giving up six hits and one walk in five and a third innings of more than solid work.  When Tito asked him to hand off the ball to Andrew Miller, it was only because there were two on, one out, and Marwin Gonzalez, who'd done nothing but hit Cookie well (both in yesterday's game and historically) but who Miller'd had great success with over the years.  At the time of Cookie's departure, the Indians clung to a 1-0 advantage off a Francisco Lindor solo homer in the third inning.

Andrew Miller, who had retired Gonzalez seven of the eight previous times he'd faced him in his career, immediately gave up a single that stretched to a double when not cleanly fielded by right fielder Melky Cabrera -- and that was enough to clear the bases and put the Astros up 2-1.

Andrew Miller, our weapon out of the bullpen.

Andrew Miller, who had insane matchup numbers against the guy at the plate.

Andrew Miller, who after the game said, "I blew it."

No shit.

Cookie got charged with both runs since he was responsible for the men left on base and was eventually pinned with the 3-1 loss.  But those of us who know and love the sport and love this team will remember -- always -- how brilliant Carlos Carrasco was in Game 2 of the American League Divisional Series that October 2018 day.  He didn't deserve to get handed that loss, but, well, it's how it shook out.

And for the second day in a row, the Astros trotted their closer Roberto Osuna out to pitch in the 9th inning.  All I wanted was for that asshole to blow the save.  We had the right guys up:  Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion.  Brantley and Josey both grounded out to start the 9th before Eddie drew a five-pitch walk.  Next up to bat?  Josh Donaldson.  Josh Donaldson, the Bringer of Rain.  Josh Donaldson, who mashes.  Josh Donaldson, who we acquired at the last possible moment for exactly this scenario.  We needed him to crush the ball to the Gulf of Mexico.  Even with the roof closed as it was at Minute Maid Park.  We needed Josh Fucking Donaldson in that moment.

And in two pitches, he popped out to the center fielder to end the game.

Soul. Crushing.

There was a moment in the game, though, that made me think -- even for just a moment, that the 2018 Cleveland Indians were 100% going to win the World Series.  Yes, this year's World Series.  It came in the bottom of the third inning.  Frankie had gotten the Indians on the board in the top of the third with his solo homer (one of three hits Indians offense produced, oof) and the Astros were threatening to take that run back when it was their turn to play.  

With runners on first and third and only one out, Cookie got Jose Altuve to ground into one of the most mind-blowing double plays I have ever seen.  Donaldson speared the grounder and chucked it to Josey at second for the first out and on the relay, Ramirez tripped on the second base bag while completing the throw to get Altuve out at first.

Dude fell down.  And his throw was still perfect.

Thinking about it now, I still have no idea how that happened.

That singular play gives me hope that the 2018 Cleveland Indians are far from out of this ALDS race.

We shall see as the series resumes on Monday at 1:30pm on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario in Cleveland, Ohio.  Clevinger vs. Keuchel.  I think it'll be a sunny day, if you catch my drift.

So now let's talk for a minute about Roberto Osuna.

Roberto Osuna became the Houston Astros closer right before the July 31st trade deadline this year as the twenty-three-year-old pitcher was completing a 75-game suspension by Major League Baseball for violating their Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse policy.  The details of the claim stemming from a May 8th incident in Toronto where Osuna was a member of the Blue Jays pitching staff remain largely unknown, but the circumstances were dire enough for Osuna to accept the league's 75-game suspension without protest and for the Toronto Blue Jays to put a lifetime ban on Osuna ever returning to wear a Blue Jays uniform.

But you know who said they were cool with it because it didn't happen while he was on their team at the time?  The Houston Astros.  They were excited by his talent and his velocity and his All-Star credit.  They were excited to put him in an Astros uniform and "wait for the courts to sort things out."  The Astros players all backed off commenting, saying they didn't have all the facts and barely knew the guy, so what could they do about it?  Jose Altuve, one of the players the front office consulted before completing the trade, was quoted as saying, "It's under investigation I think.  We don't really know what happened, so it's hard for me to get behind a mic and fire up a guy when I don't have any idea what really happened. I think it's OK if I don't know what to say."

This is a player the front office talked to before acquiring Osuna.  A guy who couldn't muster up an opinion about another guy who accepted a 75-game suspension without blinking an eye.  Are there are a lot of innocent people who do that?  What a spineless response from the Astros "leaders."

Osuna eventually settled the criminal case out of court with a peace bond, which is essentially a one-year restraining order.  The woman who brought the claim against him is now living in Mexico with their three-year-old daughter.

As Tom Hamilton said repeatedly in both Game 1 and Game 2's broadcast, "He is absolutely guilty.  You don't agree to those terms unless you did it."  Hammy talked about the MLB scouting chatter about Osuna and how almost no team wanted anything to do with him.  "I guess some teams believe in winning at any cost," Hammy said, not pulling any punches against the Astros organization.

And we all had to sit there and watch him pitch while the Houston crowd roared in appreciation of him.

Cleveland, I hope you boo the shit out of him if he comes into a game at Progressive Field.  

What a world, ya know?  We've got known domestic abusers pitching in the postseason.  We've got known sexual predators being appointed to the Supreme Court.  Hell, we've even got a narcissistic, sociopathic sexual predator as President of the United States.  What a time to be a shameless male human in our midst.  

So there are many, many reasons I hope the Indians can stun the 'Stros and take Monday's game and Tuesday's, too, while they're at it.  Force that Game 5.  Do what's been done to us far too many times:  upset the team with the advantage.  We'll find out tomorrow if there's more story to be told...

May the best team win.  May that team be from Cleveland.  Amen.

Title by me

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