Let’s talk about the first seven innings of this game, shall we? That particular segment of tonight’s Indians/Angels game was not that bad at all, despite the Halos being down 3-2; there were even some exciting and encouraging moments wherein my intuition was telling me that this could end up being a W for our guys.
Ricky Nolasco was pitching and, surprisingly, not doing too many Nolasco-ish things, such as giving the opposition a glorified batting practice session, putting the game totally out of reach before all fans were parked and settled into their seats. Actually, that last sentence isn’t entirely true, as Nolasco DID give up a homer in the first (solo shot to Bradley Zimmer), and there’s nothing more Nolasco-ish than allowing homers.
Yet, the Halos’ started did his best to shrug it off, dug in, and set out to nearly pitch his arm off...no, really, he threw a TON of pitches this evening, which is good because they Angels didn’t have a whole lot of fresh arms available after last night’s 11 inning loss.
Nolasco would finish with 6.2 innings under his belt, giving up nine hits in the process, but in those 6.2 IP, he would toss 119 pitches. Yeah, that’s a lot; in fact, he hasn’t thrown that many pitches in a game since 2012. I give him props, though, because he stuck in there and gave it his best, and after all was said and done, the Indians had only put up three runs on Ricky. It wasn’t the prettiest start, but compared to other Nolasco outings, including his last start, this was a-ok by me.
The Angels had to deal with Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco on the offensive end of things, and he was being similarly stingy as Nolasco. Carrasco would finish his night with 6.1 IP/ 6 H/ 2 R/ 2 ER/ 0 BB/ 5 K, a nice performance by most standards, and damn near close to a shutout, if it weren’t for Luis Valbuena. Yep...LUIS. VALBUENA.
Valbuena got an RBI double off of Carrasco in the second inning, and then, in the seventh inning and the Indians up 2-1, he tied up the game with a solo blizzy. Valbuena has now had five homers since the All Star break, including homers in his last three consecutive games. Is this guy going to go on a huge run now, or what? By “huge run”, I mean “get his BA over .200”. One can only hope, but hey, it’s nice to see some of the hitter we’d all daydreamed about in January.
That 2-2 tie was fleeting, unfortunately, because in the bottom of that seventh inning, Bradley Zimmer tagged Nolasco again, this time for an RBI double (that was almost another HR), giving the Indians a 3-2 advantage. That was the 119th pitch for Nolasco and thus, he was done for the night. To be fair, though, the Angels as a whole were done for the night. They just didn’t know it yet.
That 3-2 score was enticing, and could have given most fans some thoughts of a comeback, but then the eighth inning came and blew away all of those ideas like a hurricane taking on a house of cards.
Cam Bedrosian and (recently called-up) Brooks Pounders joined forces to pitch in the bottom of the eighth, and things got bad. What’s the opposite of a Halo Blitz? Whatever that is, THAT is what happened, and when the dust settled, the Indians had sent a dozen guys to the plate, and the 3-2 score had ballooned up to 10-2. It was disgusting, seriously.
The Halos tacked on a couple runs of their own in the top of the ninth, but it was a drop in the bucket in regards to getting that elusive comeback. We would eventually see Yunel Escobar hit into a DP, and then the 10-4 loss was solidified and made official when Albert Pujols struck out to end the game. Because of course that’s how it ended.
That’s two brutal nights in a row, where the Indians allowed the Angels to stay in the game, hope alive and well, until they decided to pull the rug out from underneath them and send us all into a depressive freefall. That’s not cool, Cleveland. Not cool.
So much for another series win against an AL division leader. Maybe the Twins will be more chill, yeah?