Cliff Lee: the newest proof that selling your soul is totally worth it.
Part of the charm of a day game -- especially the first half of a doubleheader -- is that the stadium is so quite and empty that you can hear every heckle. You sit where you want, tear open a bag of peanuts, and enjoy the organ music while thinking of verbal barbs to hurl at the nearest opposing player.
The first half of yesterday’s old-school Tribe doubleheader began that way, but quickly ended. As is the case with Cavs playoff basketball, the plaza between the Prog and the Q was home to a fanfest of sorts – lots of games for kids, the Cavs cheerleaders, and loud music. Around the 4th or 5th inning, anyone sitting in the bleachers or the left field seats to watch baseball enjoyed not the crack of the bat nor the quiet of a park filled with roughly 37 people, but rather the pounding bass and loud music you would expect standing just outside the door of a club on West 6th on a Saturday night. It just didn’t mesh, and had I not been watching a day baseball game in the middle of a workday, it really would have pissed me off. ...
Regardless, for the first four innings the bleachers were home to a couple of guys – most likely drunk and thinking they were much cooler than they really are – who decided to spend every waning second heckling poor Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Joe Inglett, who you may remember being a bench player with the Indians last year. They called Joe “Ryan” for the entire game, and seemed moderately obsessed with his calves. Too bad it wasn’t Manny in left yesterday, because a golden heckling opportunity was wasted on Joe Inglett, who you really can’t say much about besides calling him “piglet.”
On to the actual baseball.
Fausto Carmona threw a complete-game shutout, recalling his pitching prowess of last year rather than his pitch-count shortened, walk-heavy, five-inning outings of this year. The sinkerballer still struggled with his control, but he was able to stay in counts long enough to get the Blue Jays to put the ball in play, and like Lee later in the night, he benefited from some great defense. Chief among it came from a young man named Asdrubal Cabrera – who capped his night with only the 14th unassisted triple play in major league history in the second game. Ryan Garkonoponopolous chipped in with a run-saving, diving play at first with two on and two out in the seventh, which is about the only nice thing you can say about the slumping first basemen.
For even casual fans, games that Cliff Lee pitches are becoming must-watch TV. Continuing his improbable and historic start to the season, the lefty dazzled with nine shut-out innings in the nightcap, dropping his league-leading ERA to 0.67. He only allowed multiple baserunners in two innings, and got the Jays to hit into two double plays and the aforementioned historic triple play. He walked two, struck out five, and I’m pretty sure he delivered a baby in section 157 in the 5th inning and served hotdogs in the bleachers during the 6th inning. I think he’s a cyborg or something. That’s the only way to explain how he didn’t strangle the offense for mustering three measly hits and zero runs. A human would have stabbed them all with splintered baseball bats. – Vince Grzegorek