Danny Salazar fires strikes at 98 mph. Alex Cobb pounds the zone with absolute precision. This is the pitcher’s duel last night’s NL Wild Card in Pittsburgh was supposed to be. Unfortunately for pitching enthusiasts, the Pirates never got the memo.
Tonight in Cleveland, it’s also about not sticking to the script.
In the top of the 3rd , Delmon Young inexplicably hits the first pitch he sees from Salazar out of the park. Not Wil Myers. Not Evan Longoria. Delmon Young. LOLoctober.
In the bottom of the 4th Alex Cobb escapes a bases loaded one out jam by getting Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into a 3-6-1 double play. I almost pooped myself on that turn with Cobb covering 1st JUST in time to prevent any Indians runs to score. YAY OCTOBER!
On the Clevland side, Danny Salazar just could not sustain the dominance he held over the Rays bats over the first two innings. By the end of the 4th, the Rays lead 3-0. In the top of the 5th, he is pulled after giving up a leadoff walk to Jose Molina. Shame we couldn’t see Salazar and Cobb battle it out for 7 innings.
Cobb must have felt guilty about all the dominance he was dishing out because in the bottom of the 5th, he gives up a leadoff double to Yan Gomes. After a Lonnie Chisenhall single, he finds himself with runners on the corners and no outs before striking out Michael Bourn for out number one. Swisher grounds out to first for out number two and advances the runner when, after the force, Loney comes home with the ball trying catch Gomes in a rundown. Unfortunately for the Rays, nobody was covering third so there was no play. So it’s runners at 2nd and 3rd with two outs now. Jason Kipnis comes to the plate with the chance to break it open for the Indians. He….. grounds back to the pitcher for the third out. If the Indians find themselves in this position again, Terry Francona has already indicated he’s going to call on Jason Giambi. So of course I’m praying for the Giambi longball now. Believeland?
In the bottom of the 7th, Cobb gives up hits to Gomes and Chisenhall again but gets Cabrera and Bourn out before being taken out for Joel Peralta with Nick Swisher at the plate. Swisher strikes out swinging. The Indians really missed on a lot of chances tonight. On the other hand, Alex Cobb pitched around trouble absolutely brilliantly tonight.
The Rays don’t plate any more in the top of the 8th. Ho-hum. Still leading.
In the bottom half of the 8th, Carlos Santana singles off of Joel Peralta. The Indians have a chance to break open again. For the second out, David DeJesus catches a fly ball in foul ground near the 3rd base line and nearly gets showered with beer (or possibly dip spit according to my twitter feed). Brohio class right there, you guys. The Rays don’t flinch at beer, dip spit, or any kind of showers for that matter and Jake McGee comes in for Peralta and strikes out Ryan Raburn for out number 3. Not looking good for Believeland with only three outs to go.
Tampa Bay scores another run in the top of the 9th. Ho-hum.
Fernando Rodney comes in to close it out in the bottom of the 9th. Cabrera strikes out. Gomes lines out softly to short. Chisenhall strikes out to seal the deal.
Break out the Silly String. The Rays are going to Boston.