When the Present's This Ugly, Might As Well Look to the Future...
It was certainly a struggle today. C. C. Sabathia ripped through the Twins line-up, scattering six moribund hits over his eight innings... though four of those were from one player. Although Johan Santana has certainly seen better days, giving up four runs in today's 5-0 loss, the Indians didn't have a big inning, not once. In fact, they gathered their nine hits one inning at a time. A walk here, a key hit there, a home run one inning (Santana's 30th), and that was all she wrote. The 13th shutout against the Twins, the league record. Sigh.
So let's look at Alexi Casilla, who had a great game. Batting leadoff, he was the man of four hits in as many at-bats. Though he could have worked the count a bit better, with 4, 4, 3, and 2 pitches in at-bats in innings 1, 3, 5, and 8 (respectively), against Sabathia, that's noteworthy. For one day we can sit back, perhaps a bit stunned by the nitrates in our many hot dogs and raise our overpriced beers in salute to the future second baseman.
Or how about Robert Nicholas Blackburn, Nick to fan and foe alike. Why, this youth sauntered up to the mound in the ninth and made his Major League debut. Fresh from Rochester, he is, now that the Red Wings were eliminated from their playoffs (the sadness is far and wide, apparently). Nick threw all of six pitches. Three up, one a hit, then a sweet double play, and then another quick out. Not much to go on, but hey, it's a start, and something to give us beleaguered fans some hope to chew on.
A crowd of just over 24K was on hand to watch this lugubrious game on a pleasant afternoon that might have been better spent on the yard, at the fair, riding a bike, anything. But they were there all the same, to watch Nick Punto's batting average drop yet again (0-3), to watch Santana drop to 0-5 against the Indians this year, but also to remind themselves of the ups and downs of this cruel sport. A win today would not have meant a last-ditch effort to make the playoffs. Today's fans knew better. They were there to watch a ball game, plain and simple, and seek out some hope for the future.