Monday, December 27, 2010

Memorable Game: Shoppach's Big Game

On July 30, 2008, Kelly Shoppach would bring the magic back to Progressive Field  at least for one night, even if the games outcome  was all too familiar.  Shoppach would finish the evening 5-6 with 2 homeruns and 3 doubles becoming only the sixth player in major league history to have five extrabase hits in a single game.  He would become the second in the American League to do it joining Lou Boudreau (1946).  Four players, Sean Green (2002), Steve Garvey (1977), Willie Stargell (1970), and Joe Adcock (1954), have accomplished the feat in the NL.   The game would see Cliff Lee spotted to a 8-1 lead only to go on to lose the game 14-12 in 13 innings.

Remember the Good Times

The 2008 Indians were supposed to build off of their 2007 success. An Indians team that came within one victory of defeating the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS, a series which the Indians held a three games to one advantage and had CC Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, and Jake Westbrook lined up to take the mound to clinch.  The Indians would be outscored 26-6 in the final three games.  Looking back, the only positive statement that can be made about that 2007 ALCS is that the Indians were the only team to notch a victory against the Red Sox in the 2007 post-season. 

The 2008 season saw the decline of the Indians at a faster rate than any Cleveland fan was prepared for.  By July 30th, the Indians had traded away their ace CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers and the versatile Casey Blake to the Dodgers.  The team was in last place in the AL Central and had the second worst record in the AL of 46-60.  

On a brighter note, Cliff Lee enterered the game with a record of 14-2 with an ERA of 2.29 and a nice crowd of 26,596 were on hand to watch Lee go for win number 15.   Lee would be given a 8-1 lead only to surrender 6 runs in 5 innings.  The Tigers would close to within 1 run at 8-7 after their half of the sixth inning only to have the Indians put up a 3 spot in their half of the sixth to regain a comfortable 4 run lead at 11-7.  Unlike the first 7 innings,  neither team would push across a run in the seventh. 

Edward Mujica would begin the 8th inning with the Indians in front 11-7.  He would easily get the first two out before the roof caved in.  Mujica would walk Curtis Granderson, give up a bunt single to Placido Planco, an RBI double to Marcus Thames, a RBI single to Magglio Ordonez, and a 2-RBI double to Miguel Cabrera tying the score at 11.  Mujica was never able to get the third out in the inning as Masa Kobyashi was summoned from the bullpen to retire Gary Sheffield for the final out.  Kobyashi would give up a run in the ninth to give the Tigers a 12-11 lead as Fernando Rodney came in for the save.  Rodney would give up a solo homerun to Shoppach to tie the game at 12 apiece and the Indians would load the bases only to have David Dellucci weakly groundout to first for the final out of the inning.

The Indians would have an opportunity to win the game in the 12th inning off of Tiger pitcher Casey Fossum.  After a leadoff single by Ben Francisco, Fossum would walk Johnny Peralta and Shin Soo Choo to bring up the evenings hottest hitter Kelly Shoppach.  Shoppach was unable to deliver the game winning hit as Fossum struck him out.  Andy Marte would step into the box with the chance to be the hero, but to the collective groan of Tribe fans everywhere hit into a 6-4-3 double play.  The Tigers were able to string three singles around an error to push across 2 runs off Indians reliever Juan Rincon and the Indians would go down without a fight in the 13th to lose 14-12.  Of particlular discussion after the game was Andy Marte's decision not to throw home on a groundball to 3rd in the 13th inning (as seen in the video link above).  This game was one of the more exciting games in the 2008 season and may of been a turning point for the 2008 team as they would have the second best record (35-21) in the AL next to the Boston Red Sox (34-19) over the final two months of the season.

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