I don't ever want to see another bullpen performance like this. Unfortunately there have been more than any team's fair share in the last week. Really there is nothing like a battle of last place teams to heat up a Tuesday night.
Grady Sizemore came back tonight with a real vigor for the game, it seems he was doing his best to prove us writers wrong that he can in fact make an immediate difference in the lineup.
On his first night back the center fielder went two for four with a two-run triple and a run scored batting in the number two spot. While his performance near the top of the lineup no doubt put a spark in to the team, he alone was not responsible for their first victory in more than a calendar week.
The real credit for tonight's 'W' goes to the pitcher who earned it, David Huff. He did what our pitchers could not do to this point: keep the bullpen out of the game. Eight strong innings allowing only four hits and two walks represented the young lefty's best start of the year.
Over his last six starts Huff has compiled a 3.41 ERA and notched three wins to only one loss. In his last five starts he has gone at least five innings and his last three have all qualified as a quality start (6 IP, 3 or fewer runs allowed).
These recent numbers are close to what the Indians had expected Huff to put up this season and show a great deal of potential for him going forward. With Westbrook nearing a return now is the right time for Huff to be heating up, and he certainly looks like sticking around past the All-Star Break at this point.
Without fail, in the ninth inning the bullpen had to make a shutout more interesting and once again contributed to the future heart problems of Indians fans everywhere.
Matt Herges came in to the ninth inning and promptly gave up a home run to Adam LaRoche. But he didn't stop there, instead allowing pinch hitter Brandon Moss to double home a run and bring everyone's favorite closer, Kerry Wood, in to the game.
Wood, doing his best reenactment of the weekend series in Chicago, let one inherited runner and two runs of his own cross the plate before loading the bases with the tying runner on third. Pitching to Adam LaRoche, who led off the inning with a home run, he loaded the count before getting the slugger to pop out to the right fielder DeRosa.
I'm certain that if this type of pitching continues I will have a heart attack within the next ten years.
However, this outing did serve to prove a point that the team has not given up on Eric Wedge. Putting up strong numbers in the win today and really doing their part in the field proved that this team still has the drive to win. The bullpen on the other hand seems as though they could start their offseason today and not care.
However it happened the Indians stopped their losing streak and moved one step closer to not being the worst team in the American League.
News from the Karma department:
The Chicago Cubs lost in Detroit tonight on a walk-off home run, just to prove that karma is indeed a bitch.
I may as well blame myself for this loss as I started writing this entry in between the top and bottom halves of the ninth inning, as a win. As if I hadn't learned a lesson. Never again will I trust the bullpen.