Rick Rowand recaps Game 2 of the ALDS between the Red Sox and the Indians in which Cleveland blanked Boston.
Hey, TBS, what exactly did baseball fans do to deserve what could be the worst broadcast trio in the history of televised sports? Whatever it was, we sincerely apologize. I’m starting a Go Fund Me in order to raise whatever it will take to replace these three so we don’t have to suffer through this again next year.
Ernie Johnson? The only way he should be allowed inside a baseball stadium is if he buys a ticket like the rest of us schlubs do. After buying his ticket, he should sit with some people who have actually seen a game before and have the patience to s-l-o-w-l-y explain the game to him. Through two games behind the microphone, he just doesn’t have a clue. “Is that ball fair?” Why yes, it is Ernie. When it lands between the lines in the outfield it is a fair ball and the runners have to run and the fielders have to try to get the runners out.
Ron Darling is a smart guy – he went to Yale and everything! And he was a pretty good major league pitcher to boot. Maybe there is some way to combine the smart guy with the pretty good pitcher so that he could coherently speak to us about what’s going on in the pitcher’s head out on the mound. Why did he throw that 3-2 changeup? Why not use your fastball more? Basic stuff like that. Or better still, use one of the other Hall of Fame pitchers you are paying. Maybe the one you have in the “broadcast headquarters” to do color for the games. Yeah, that one: Pedro Martinez. You really should. Maybe you should ask Darling to spend some time with Martinez before next year’s playoffs. The pretty good ex-Yale, ex-pitcher might learn how to impart information to the viewing public. Martinez – and lots of other broadcasters – explain things so that all of the viewers can understand what’s going on – and do it in a way that everyone learns something. Darling has yet to learn that skill.
And then there’s Cal Ripken Jr. It would really help if Cal spoke above a whisper. I know he’s a Hall of Famer and all, but his brother really is much better at this whole broadcasting thing. You know why? Because Billy Ripken has a personality and at least acts like he’s enjoying himself. Last night, in the later innings, Ripken Jr. asked Darling if he would call for a hit and run in whatever situation the game was in at the time. Darling said that he would, but hardly anyone calls for the play anymore. And then nothing from Silent Cal. No follow-up. No explanation about why brought up the question. No words on why he would call it, or why you wouldn’t. Nada. Effort – put some in, guys.
Dustin Pedroia leads off the inning by grounding back to the pitcher. Brock Holt seems to like the whole “let’s get on base with a hit” thing he has going and pokes a single into right field. However, it is not to be, and Mookie Betts immediately kills the inning with a double play.
Most catchers are content to toss their mask away when tracking a pop-up. Not Sandy Leon. He flips his to the home plate umpire when he makes the catch on leadoff hitter Rajai Davis’ pop up behind the plate.
Jason Kipnis decides that popping up looks fun and follows suit with a soft fly to short for the second out. Francisco Lindor breaks up the pop-up party by hitting a screamer to third that Holt nonchalantly snags for the third out.
0-0, end of the first.
Hey Corey Kluber, would you mind if we provided you a with an easy three up, three down inning here?
In the home half, Mike Napoli hits a ground ball that Bogaerts fields cleanly. But then Carlos Santana singles between short and third. Next, Holt – who does neatly avoid a three-way collision between himself, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and pitcher David Price – fumbles a grounder, allowing Jose Ramirez to reach. He would have been safe anyway, as the ball was hit too slowly, but the bobble portends trouble to come. Brandon Guyer then pokes a blooper over the head of Bogaerts into short center, scoring the first run. It is at this moment that Bad Price shows up. Chisenhall takes immediate advantage, blasting a screaming line drive homer down the line in right for a three-run homer and four-run lead. Price then walks the 9-hitter, Roberto Perez, which brings Carl Willis to the mound for a visit. Oh, good, a walk! And to top it off, the top of the order is coming up! (Did y’all know that Price has never won in the postseason?) Mercifully, Rajai Davis strikes out for the third out.
Lindor leads off by grounding out to second. Napoli then gives his bat to a lucky fan in the stands at the same time he singles to left. After a strikeout by Santana, the Indians use a rarely seen play: the delayed steal. Napoli takes advantage, ending up on second, but Jose Ramirez cannot capitalize.
Still 4-0 Indians.
With the Pedroia walk, it’s rally cap time! Betts also walks with one out, and it’s Papi to the plate with two on. But Kluber is certainly the rally killer today – Ortiz pops up to the shortstop, and Hanley Ramirez strikes out, again.
Guyer leads off with a single, and after retiring Chisenhall, Perez walks for the second time in the game. This is the final straw for manager John Farrell, and Price’s winless streak continues as Matt Barnes takes over on the mound.
At least it wasn’t the top of the order that got to him!
After retiring Davis, Jason Kipnis delivers the RBI single to raise Price’s ERA on Barnes’ watch. Lindor then strikes out for the third out.
Bogaerts singles to lead off the inning.
Hey, Xander, you made that play a lot closer than it should have been with your slide. You slide to slow down to stop at a base. That’s why you do it going into second and third. You don’t slide into first.
However, he is stranded there as Benintendi, Leon, and Bradley Jr. all go down quickly.
After retiring Napoli and Santana for the first time all night, Barnes allows Jose Ramirez to single to right. The Indians third baseman then attempted to steal second, prompting a replay review by Farrell, which is overturned – the caught stealing ends the inning for the Indians.
Still 5-0 Indians.
After Pedroia leads off with an out, Holt hits a ball that deflects off Napoli but still results in an out.
Yep. That’s the kind of game it’s been. Holt kills the ball and Napoli boots it right into the glove of Kipnis who tosses it to Kluber covering first.
Betts then singles but is stranded art first when Ortiz lines out to end the frame. Barnes allows leadoff single to Guyer and is pulled in favor of Robbie Ross Jr, who gets Chisenhall to strike out. Brad Ziegler is then summoned, and he induces Perez into a ground ball that should force out Guyer at second – except Pedroia lets it through, making the error and letting Guyer advance to third. He crosses the plate on a Davis sac fly. Kipnis walks, but Ziegler finally escapes the inning on a strikeout of Lindor.
I might need some ice cream to make it to the end of this game.
The Red Sox go three up and three down: Hanley Ramirez, Bogaerts, and Benintendi all go quietly.
I bet Kluber has eaten all of it.
Meanwhile, Joe Kelly comes out of the bullpen and finally retires the Indians in order: Napoli, Santana, and Ramirez all taking a quick seat.
And here comes Kluber again. Need to get one run in here. Give us at least a cocktail straw to grasp at.
Leon leads off with a walk. Bradley then gets plunked in the right shin, putting runners on first and second with no outs. But Indians’ skipper Terry Francona summons Dan Otero, who strikes out Pedroia, retires Holt on a fly to center, and induces a ground ball forceout from Betts.
Oh, look, a runner in scoring position not wearing an Indians uniform. Inning over.
Kelly gets the first two in the eighth, then gives way to Craig Kimbrel, who gets the final out.
The announcers were talking in the last inning like Kimbrel was only going to face one batter. Hah! They haven’t seen the Sox come back before like we have. Hold onto your hats!
And the game ends with a whimper. Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, and Bogaerts all fail to reach base, as the Indians win 6-0.
Onto Fenway for what we all hope won’t be the final time we see David Ortiz in a Red Sox uniform.