August 11th, 2011 DC Show Report
“We’re counting on the Big U.” -Manny Acta
According to Indians beat for the PD, Paul Hoynes, this is what manager Manny Acta said prior to the game yesterday regarding the 12 innings of needed effort put into the win the night before by Tribe relievers. 12 innings of work from a 6 man crew, each accustomed to pitching on average an inning or two, every other day, is a lot of work. Had the team again needed to lean on their services last night, well, there might have come a point where we would have seen position players pitching. Believe me, “Hey Kosuke, how’s your arm feeling, buddy?”, is not the quote you would have rather been reading from Manny today.
(Sure this can be humorous at times, but watching non-pitchers pitch is certainly not something you ever want to see while trying to chase down a 1st place club)
Now, the 10-3 win the Indians ended up getting last night over the Tigers is easy to have seen highlighted by the 18 hits and those 10 runs. Which is certainly a very welcome reel of joy for a club that up until about a week ago seemed to have left their bats somewhere in May. The game also could have easily appeared to have been another segment of the now ongoing series called, “Jason Kipnis, Cleveland’s Newest Sensation” (a quote from his agent I relayed as a “funny side note” a few days back), by the fact that Jason continued his rookie record setting stretch by going 5-5 with 4 runs and 3 RBI. Which is something a Tribe rookie has not ever done before, and a feat only 13 rookies in all of baseball have ever done before. Given how old the MLB is as it seemingly stretches back to an age where they used to have to clear the field of pterosaurs instead of seagulls, hearing such things as “all time” and “ever” should always be heard with high reverence.
Of course those were all great aspects to last nights story. Clearly. And certainly they heavily factored into the fun of pulling within 2 games of having the itch of 1st place-itis back in this town. But they were not biggest story of the night. No, that story was told in 8 innings on 117 pitches by the “Big U”.
Ubaldo Jimenez acquired for 5 players two Saturday’s ago just before the trade deadline made his first start of the year at home, and man did he make the most of it. With a fastball slicing across the plate that arched down and from left to right, varying anywhere from 90mph to 97, he showed up as everything his first start in Texas seemed to suggest. The biggest difference from that game and last night though? His command. And he had that over all 5 of his pitches yesterday and not just that dominating fastball. In fact, had Santana been able to reach the double play relay which would have ended the top of the 4th (where since he couldn’t it went on to yield the Tigers only 3 runs of the night, and also was later ruled an error on Carlos making all those runs unearned), you have to wonder if the Big U would have gone on to throw a shutout.
I guess here I should say, “What if?” Right?
The context for Manny’s statement of reliance on Ubaldo can be seen so much bigger than in his specific regard meant by it. Such as, GM Chris Antonetti is “counting on the Big U” to payoff on what is his defining moment so far for this team in a trade considered to be the biggest gamble this town has seen since Ferry and Gilbert went all in for an aged Antawn Jamison. Or, how team president Mark Shapiro is now “counting on the Big U” to prove his decision of naming Antonetti his successor as GM last year, the right one. Or, most importantly, how this entire franchise and its fans are now “counting on the Big U” to be just what they need to help push them into the playoffs this year, and then on to even greater heights in the years to come.
Welcome to Cleveland, officially, Big U. You’ve now wowed us. And you should already know this, but everyone is counting on you.
That said, the Indians get a chance to draw within a game tonight in wrapping up this three game set. They’re bringing their brooms, Fausto, and a 13 game home winning streak against Detroit to do so. And the Tigers are bringing their own dominating ace and strong candidate for the AL Cy Young, Justin Verlander, to try to stop that from happening.
Anyone in the mood for another epic?
PS – Browns are still practicing in Berea and are finally acting like they may be in the market for a linebacker, even if it’s but a veteran cut from another club’s camp. Also, everyone loves Peyton Hillis, including Terry Pluto.
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