That really was one helluvagood series. Like a natural hitter's swing, compact and powerful, the Indians got the job done fast. Not for a minute did the Tribe panic or lose their focus; not even when the momentum started to swing the Yanks' way in Game 3.
--from CBS Sports.com via my iGoogle's front page--
It was 87 degrees at game time -- the hottest Oct. 8 ever in New York City -- and the Indians applied heat right from the start.
Wang, battered for eight runs in New York's opening 12-3 loss, was chased after just three outs -- the shortest start of the 27-year-old's short career.
Sizemore homered on a 95 mph fastball with little sink for just his second shot since Aug. 28. Jhonny Peralta, who hit .467, made it 2-0 when he lofted a two-out RBI single to center.
Cleveland loaded the bases in the second on two singles and a hit batter -- the Yankees argued that Kelly Shoppach fouled off his bunt attempt, but umpires decided it hit his hand. That was it for Wang, whose stats will be besmirched with a 19.06 ERA in this series.
Mussina came out of the bullpen to save the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against Boston but couldn't do it this time. Sizemore grounded into a run-scoring double play and Asdrubal Cabrera singled for a 4-0 lead.
Indians manager Eric Wedge was questioned for not using Sabathia on short rest, but Byrd came up big. He allowed runners in every inning but pitched out of jams with his assortment of off-speed stuff.
Time after time, the Yankees failed in the clutch, going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, leaving them at 6-for-28 in the series and making for another winter of discontent in the Bronx.
So far this post-season the Indians have given their fans everything we could possible have asked of them.
Hitting: Even with the Yankees going Long Ball 3 times last night, the Indians still out-homered them in the series, 5 to 4. Not only that, but Cleveland hit .302 for the series, and the Bronx Boiee's couldn't even make it over the mythical Mendoza Line, eeking out a meager .194* and going only 6 for 28 (.214) with 2 outs and Runners In Scoring Position (RISP).
Pitching: Sabbathia and Byrd each allowed more hits in their respective starts than did Game 3 loser Jake Westbrook (my fave tribe pitcher after Fausto, btw,) but just as did CC when he got in his jams, the wiley old veteran, Byrd, managed to find ways to wiggle out of trouble and quiet one of the most expensive starting line-ups in the history of the game.
Defense: Westbrook's Game 3 loss could have really been a doozy. If it weren't for all the Double Plays turned, 4 in the first 5 innings, the Yankees lone win may well have turned into the explosion of runs which just about everyone was predicting that the Bombers would lay on Cleveland at some point in the series. Keeping them under 10 runs may have been just the ticket the Tribe needed to keep the winning momentum on their side.
Economy. Total payroll for the Indians is less than half of what The Boss has once again thrown around. Nobody likes a cheap owner, but the Indians front-office has been a model of fiscal conservatism and player development in this multi-year rebuilding effort.
Hitting. Pitching. Defense. Economy. What more could a baseball fan ask for from their team?
Now it's time for 'em to bounce da Beaners and make their way back to the Big Stage! Despite two World Series appearance in the '90s, the Indians haven't won it all since 1948, and no Cleveland major Sports franchise has brought home a Championship since 1964. That's means, not in my Lifetime. Personally, I am quite ready to see that streak end right now.
* Guess I was up before CBS Sports.com's statisticians. The Yanks hit a whopping .228 for the entire series. That .194 # was through just the first 3 games.
And I thought that they'd out homered us and was gonna make some other point, now forgotten, about what that was worth compared to having a balanced attacked and pitching Pitching PITCHING!