Uncategorized

Game 160

September 29, 2017Ramirez Knocks 90th Extra-Base Hit, Bauer Just Misses 200 Strikeouts

Chicago was in town to start off the final series of the regular season. While the Tribe had long clinched the Central Division crown, they were locked in a fight with the Astros for home-field advantage and looking for their 101st win of the season. 

Trevor Bauer took the hill for the Tribe with 189 strikeouts on the year. He would have to have a career night to join Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco with over 200 Ks for the season. Mike Pelfrey was slated to pitch for the White Sox. 

Bauer got right to work, striking out Yolmer Sanchez to lead off the game and Jose Abreu to end the top of the first. The Tribe loaded the bases against Pelfrey before Carlos Santana’s line out to deep left ended the threat. 

Bauer pitched another 1-2-3 inning in the second, but all of the outs came on batted balls. 

Jason Kipnis was aboard with a walk to lead off the bottom of the second. After a Yandy Diaz strikeout, Kipnis stole second with catcher Roberto Perez at the plate. Perez eventually drew a walk, and then Francisco Lindor lined out to left for the second out. 

Austin Jackson poked a two-out RBI single over the second base bag and into center field. Jose Ramirez drove a double down the left field line that scored Perez and Jackson. Edwin Encarnacion reached on an error and Jose was able to come around and score during the confusion. Jay Bruce blasted a homer into deep left-center to cap off the 6-run inning. 

Bauer collected two more strikeouts in the top of the third, while the Indians scored four more in the bottom of the frame, including a bases-clearing double by Encarnacion.

Yolmer Sanchez was the first White Sox to reach base, and he did so in a big way. He lead off the top of the fourth with a home for the Sox only run of the day. He notched three more strikeouts before being relieved by Joe Smith in the top of the seventh. 

With a nine-run lead the Tribe relievers cruised to a Friday-night victory and held on to home field advantage. 

The Indians narrowly missed being the fourth team in MLB history to have three starters with 200 strikeouts for the season. Kluber (265) and Carrasco (226) far surpassed the mark, with Bauer falling just short at 196. 

Jose Ramirez’ two doubles (55 on the year) gave him 90 Extra-base. That put him 4th in Indians history for Extra-Base Hits He trailed only Albert Belle (103 in 1995), Hal Trosky (96 in 1936) and George Burns (94 in 1926).

Baseball Reference Box Score

Standard
Uncategorized

Game 157

September 24, 2013 – Jason Giambi Walkoff Keeps the Tribe’s Playoff Hopes Alive

Back in Game 16 of the 2013 season, a 5-RBI game likely kept Jason Giambi on the roster. In Game 105 he became the oldest player to hit a walkoff home run. 

Photo Credit: David Richard

The Indians entered this Tuesday night contest barely hanging on to the second wildcard spot. The White Sox sent Hector Santiago to the hill to face Ubaldo Jiminez. After two rough years, Ubaldo had been carrying the Indians rotation since Justin Masterson’s early-season injury. 

Michael Brantley put the Tribe out in front with an RBI single in the bottom of the second. 

Jiminez walked Connor Gillespie to lead of the top of the fourth. Paul Konerko singled to right to advance Gillispie to third. After Ubaldo struck out Adam Dunn, Avasail Garcia hit a long fly to left. Gillespie scampered home to score on the sacrifice. 

Jiminez gave up five hits and struck out seven over 6 ⅓ innings of work. In the top of the seventh he gave up a single to Gordan Beckham and walked Josh Phegley. Cody Allen entered the game looking to end the threat. Alejandro De Aza singled to left, scoring Beckham and putting the Sox up 2-1. 

Michael Brantley took Hector Santiago’s first pitch deep into right field to tie things up. Mike Aviles lined one into left for a single. Michael Bourn laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Aviles over to second. Nate Jones came on to pitch and got Nick Swisher to fly out to center. Jason Kipnis stepped in and lined Jones’ 1-1 pitch into left to put the Tribe on top 3-2. 

Joe Smith retired Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, and Avisail Garcia in order in the eighth. Nate Jones returned the favor. 

Chris Perez came on looking for the save in the top of the ninth. Dayan Viciedo smashed Perez’ third pitch over the right field wall to tie the game. Perez struck out the next two White Sox before he hung the first pitch to Alejandro De Aza. De Aza’s homer to right-center put the Sox up 4-3. After Alexei Ramirez poked a single through the left side of the infield, Perez left the mound to a chorus of boos. 

Marc Rzepczynski hit the only batter he faced before Bryan Shaw got the final out of the ninth. 

Yan Gomes struck out swinging to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Michael Brantley poked a single through the right side of the infield and was safely aboard. Mike Aviles struck out, and things were looking bleak. Michael Brantley stole second to get into scoring position with Jason Giambi at the plate. 

Giambi crushed Addison Reed’s 1-1 pitch deep into right field. This was his third pinch-hit walkoff for the Indians. “Yeah I ran into it, I hit it,” Giambi said. “There’s nothing more special, that’s what keeps me coming back every year.” With that he bested his own record as the oldest player to hit a walkoff homer. 

Photo Credit: Kyle Emery

Soak in this Hammy Call:

Jason Kipnis put it best in a post-game tweet, “Are you shitting me with this game tonight!! Big G and the Goon Squad comin thru again!! Unreal game tonight!!”

Now, contrast with the call from Hawk Harrelson:

This was the Indians 11th walkoff win of the season, and fifth win in a row. Most importantly, it kept them 1 game ahead of the Rangers in the Wild Card race.

Baseball Reference Box Score

Standard
Uncategorized

Game 156

September 22, 1967 – Tony Horton Ends a Marathon with a Walkoff Homer

The Indians were playing out the string in 1967, having long been eliminated from the playoffs. Luis Tiant was matched up with Gary Peters of the White Sox this Friday evening in front of only about 5,000 of the Cleveland faithful. The White Sox were locked in a four-way battle for the American League pennant. Boston and Minnesota were tied at the top of the standings with Chicago one game behind. The Tigers were just one and a half games off the pace. 

However, a mid-season arrival was giving Cleveland fans hope for a better team in the future. In June, the Indians dealt Gary Bell to the Red Sox for Don Demeter and 22-year old first baseman Tony Horton. With the opportunity to play every day, Horton had blossomed. 

Second baseman Vern Fuller drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the second. Larry Brown knocked an RBI double into left to score Fuller and put the Tribe up 1-0. 

Tiant pitched brilliantly, giving up only three hits through the first eight innings. Peters also pitched well, but the Indians offense squandered some opportunities. 

Tiant let the 1-0 lead slip away in the top of the ninth when Don Buford doubled to right and then Smoky Burgess hit a pinch-hit RBI single into right to tie the game at 1-1. 

The Indians stranded runners at first and second in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra frames. 

Stan Williams was nearly perfect in relief for the Indians. The only baserunners he allowed were when Don Buford reached on an error in the top of the eleventh and a walk by Wayne Causey in the top of the thirteenth. 

Horton stepped in against Chicago reliever Roger Nelson to start the Indians half of the thirteenth. He launched the game-winning home run into the Cleveland night. 

Horton was one of the Indians most promising young players through the late 1960s. Terry Pluto would later call him “the most tragic Indian.”

Throughout the 1969 and 1970 seasons, Horton struggled through slumps and was particularly affected by heckling from the small Cleveland crowds related to his salary negotiations with the team. After being benched in the fifth inning of a game against the Yankees in August 1970, Horton returned to his apartment and attempted suicide. 

He survived, and recovered, but never played professional baseball again. He returned to his native California, went into business, and never looked back. In 1997, the New York Daily News reported the story for the first time with quotes from teammates and others involved in the story. The Daily News approached Horton for an interview, but he declined.  

Sam McDowell said of Horton, “From what I understand, the doctors told him he had to completely divorce himself from baseball. Baseball was what drove him to his state. He was so high-strung, with such a drive to succeed, and when he wasn’t succeeding it set him off.”

While we as fans make heroes and villains out of the players on the field based on their stores and statistics it sometimes takes a story like Tony Horton’s to remember that athletes are humans with their own lives outside the lines. 

Baseball Reference Box Score

Standard
Uncategorized

Game 152

October 2, 1908 – Addie Joss Throws a Perfect Game in a Pennant Race

The Naps, White Sox, and Tigers were in a three-way pennant race going into the last week of the season. Cleveland was one game behind Detroit, and Chicago was half a game behind Cleveland. 

On Friday October 2nd, the White Sox traveled to Cleveland to kick off a weekend series at League Park. “Big Ed” Walsh took the mound for Chicago with an incredible 39 and 14 record for the season so far. However, Walsh had yet to win at League Park that season. Two of his three loses in Cleveland had come against Addie Joss, the “Human Hairpin” with the corkscrew delivery. 

Joss took the mound with a 23-11 record so far in 1908 and an incredible strikeout to walk ratio of 4.20. During the team warmups, Joss spotted Walsh on the White Sox bench. A local reporter snapped a photo of the two ace pitchers having a quiet conversation before one of the biggest matchups of the season. 

Both pitchers came out dealing. Joss sat down the first nine White Sox he faced. In the bottom of the third, Naps centerfielder Joe Birmingham led off with a single into right. Birmingham took a wide lead off first and Walsh made his pickoff move. Birmingham broke for second. The throw to second struck Birmingham in the back and bounced into center field and he reached third without a slide. 

After Freddy Parent grounded out to short and Joss struck out attempting to bunt, leadoff hitter Wilbur Good came to the plate. Walsh got Good to strike out swinging, but the third strike sailed out of catcher Osee Screcongost’s reach. Birmingham came home on the wild pitch and gave the Naps a 1-0 lead. 

Through the middle innings, both pitcher mowed through the opposing lineup. Ed Walsh was striking out two or more Naps an inning, but Joss was getting the White Sox out with ruthless efficiency. 

Around the bottom of the seventh, the crowd began to sense that history was on the line. The horns, cowbells, and other noisemakers that were customary at League Park feel silent as the tension was building. 

Joss faced three pinch hitters in the bottom of the ninth. Doc White grounded out to second. Lee Tannehill whiffed for Joss’ third strikeout of the day. John Anderson pinch hit for Ed Walsh with two outs. He smacked a line drive down the left field line that fell just foul–the nearest that Chicago came to a hit all day. Following the foul, Anderson grounded third for the 27th out. 

Joss had pitched just the second Perfect Game in baseball history, and he had done it using only 74 pitches. Two years later, Joss would become the first player to no-hit a team twice when he blanked the Sox in Game 5 of 1910. It would be another 73 years before the next Perfect Game in Cleveland, when Len Barker tossed his in Game 24 of 1971.

Among pitchers with over 1,000 innings in the books, Joss and Walsh have the lowest ERAs in baseball history. Walsh’s 1.82 over fourteen seasons edges out Joss’ 1.89 over nine years with Cleveland. Joss remains the all time leader in WHIP with a mark of 0.968.

Joss is the only player every to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with less than 10 years of play in MLB. Joss died of tuberculosis just before the 1911 season began. In 1978 the rule was waived to include Cleveland’s original pitching ace in Cooperstown. 

Retrosheet Box Score

Honorable Mention – October 2, 2014 – Carlos Carrasco Tosses a 12K Maddux

While not quite a 74-pitch Perfect Game, Carlos Carrasco’s 12-stikeout, two-hitter against the Astros in late 2014 deserves an honorable mention. It earned Cookie his eighth win and was shortly followed by a hefty contract extension. 

Baseball Reference Box Score

Standard
Uncategorized

Game 140

September 7, 2017 – The Streak Reaches 15 Games, Universal Windows Direct Pays out $1.7M in Promotional Rebate

Local business promotions have been a part of baseball since the dawn of the game. Marketing agencies and the teams themselves constantly look for ways to integrate advertising into the game, the stadium, and the broadcast. In 2017, Universal Windows Direct, a local home remodeling company was getting set to celebrate its 15th anniversary. In 2016, on the way to the division win and eventually the World Series, the Tribe rattled off 14 wins in a row from Game 66 to Game 79.

Universal Windows Direct concocted a promotion such that any work purchased during the month of July would be refunded in full if the Indians went on a 15-game win streak between August 1st and the end of the season. 

SCA Promotions is a Dallas-based company that underwrites promotional contests and sweepstakes. They constructed an actuarial model to calculate the likelihood of a 15-game win streak and accounted for Universal’s July sales totals. Universal paid approximately $75,000 to insure themselves against the possible payout. 

Beginning with Game 126 on August 24th, the Tribe got on a roll and stayed red hot. Corey Kluber was matched up with White Sox starter Mike Pelfrey for a Thursday night contest on the south side of Chicago that would make or break the summer for over 220 Universal Windows customers. 

Francisco Lindor led off the game with a triple. Austin Jackson drove him in with a double to center. Yandy Diaz walked, and then Edwin Encarnacion gave the parrot a ride after a 3-run bomb over the left field fence. The Indians stranded runners on first and third but still closed out the inning with a 4-0 lead. 

Kluber was not sharp early. He gave up home runs in the bottom of the first to Yolmer Sanchez and Jose Abreu to cut the lead in half. 

Lindor led off the top of the second with another home run blast and Erik Gonzales took Pelfrey deep for a two-run shot in the top of the third. 

Kluber settled in and went seven innings in total, striking out 13 and giving up only two runs on three hits. Greg Allen added to the Tribe lead in the top of the seventh with his own home run. Erik Gonzales homered again in the top of the ninth. 

Universal Windows Direct CEO William Barr with a Happy Customer

Kluber handed the game off to Shawn Armstrong who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth frame, while Craig Breslow did the same in the bottom of the ninth. The Indians won 11-2 and kicked off quite a party back at Progressive Field where a group of Universal Windows customers had gathered for a watch party. SCA was set to pay out rebates totaling over $1.7 Million to over 200 customers. 

The Tribe broke their own year-old franchise record for consecutive wins and finished the day 5.5 games up on the White Sox in the Central Division. They had their sights set on the 20-game win streak set by the Moneyball A’s in 2002. 

Baseball Reference Box Score

Standard
Uncategorized

Game 130

August 29, 1977 – Duane Kuiper’s Only Home Run in 3,379 At Bats

Tribe pitcher Rick Waits was facing future Cy Young winner and South Euclid native Steve Stone and the White Sox. Just over 6,000 fans were present in Municipal Stadium for this Monday night contest. The White Sox were still battling for the division lead, and so ABC had decided to show the game regionally as part of Monday NIght Baseball. The start time was moved from 7:30PM to 8:40, and then up to 8:30. 

Indians second baseman Duane Kuiper was in his third year in the majors. Kuiper was a solid second baseman, with a .281 batting average. However, he did not hit for power. 

Waits retired the Sox in order to start the game. Then, in the bottom of the first, Stone struck out the leadoff hitter Paul Dade. Kuiper stepped in and sent Stone’s pitch into the empty Municipal Stadium seats in right field.

Kuiper later remembered, “I hit it, and I saw Wayne Nordhagen, the right fielder, running after it, and I saw his number. And I never saw a right fielder’s number. I saw him running back, and I said, ‘You know what? This is going to go out.’”

The ball bounced off the empty seat and back into the outfield. Nordhagen picked it up and fired it back to the Indians dugout. This was Kuiper’s first home run in 1,381 at bats. 

Two batters later, Andre Thornton laced a ball into left field which bounced past the charging left fielder Ritchie Zisk. By the time Zisk tracked it down, Thornton had an inside-the-park home run. Bruce Bochte followed with a powerful homer to deep left field to put the Tribe up 3-0.

Stone complained, “I was told the game was going to start 8:40 local time, and it started 10 minutes early.  I couldn’t believe it. I need about 25 minutes to warm up…I wasn’t ready to pitch. I had nothing in the first inning.”

Waits went on to pitch a complete game. He gave up only two runs on six hits while striking out eight White Sox. 

Kuiper ended his night 2 for 5 with his 45th RBI of the season. Kuiper would go on to play twelve seasons in the majors. His home run in Game 130 of 1977 is his only major league homer in 3,379 at-bats. 

Since World War II (post-deadball era), no one is within 1,000 at bats of Kuiper with only one recorded home run. Woody Woodward had only one in 2,187 at-bats for the Braves and Reds. Al Newman had one homer in 2,107 at bats for the Expos, Twins, and Rangers. Which leaves Duane Kuiper as the undisputed king of not hitting home runs. 

Baseball Reference Box Score

Honorable Mention: August 31, 2017 – Zach McAllister’s Kick-Save

Still one of the most unlikely and amazing put-outs I have ever seen. The Indians would go on to beat the Twins in 10 innings. 

Baseball Reference Box Score

Standard
Uncategorized

Game 119

August 18, 2016 – Naquin Completes the Comeback with a Pinch-Hit Walkoff

No, not that Tyler Naquin Walkoff. The White Sox were wrapping up a mid-week series at Progressive Field. The Indians had just activated Danny Salazar from the 15-day DL to start against the Sox’ Carlos Rodon. 

Salazar walked three of the first four batters he faced, then Justin Morneau drove a bases-clearing double into left-center. Morneau was left on base, but the Sox were out to an early 3-0 lead. 

Salazar did not return for the top of the second. Kyle Crockett pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Mike Clevinger took the mound for the top of the third and held the Sox scoreless through the top of the seventh. 

The Tribe started climbing back in the bottom of the fifth when Carlos Santana led off with a double and then was driven in by a Jose Ramirez single. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Roberto Perez slapped a leadoff single into right field. Jason Kipnis bounced one into the stands for a ground rule double that put Perez on third. Francisco Lindor slapped a single into short right field to make the score 3-2 Sox after six. 

After Dan Otero replaced Clevinger in the top of the seventh, JB Shuck bunted Tim Anderson from second to third. Omar Narvaez poked a grounder through the left side of the infield to give the Sox an insurance run. 

Rajai Davis made it a 4-3 game with an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh, and Jose Ramirez tied it with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. Andrew Miller pitched a scoreless ninth inning to hold the tie. 

In the bottom of the ninth, Abe Almonte led things off with a double into center field. Terry Francona signaled to Roberto Perez to bunt Almonte over to third. However, Jacob Turner’s first pitch to skipped away from Narvaez behind the plate for a passed ball that put Almonte on third. 

Now in a swing-away situation, Terry Francona decided that he could do better than Roberto Perez, who was hitting .108 at the time. He called on Tyler Naquin as a rare mid-at-bat pinch hitter. 

On Turner’s first pitch to Naquin, he lofted a fly ball to deep center. Almonte was able to tag and score the winning run for a walkoff sacrifice. 

Francona later said, “Tyler Naquin was sitting over there by the bat rack for a couple of days, ready to hit. …We didn’t have to go find him. He was ready, and it showed.”

Baseball Reference Box Score

Standard