Thursday, January 20, 2011

HOLY BABIP: Tribe Rallies on Crazy Bounce

The Ryan Garko groundball is the luckiest bounce ever in Progressive Field and is the poster video for BABIP.

It was August 31, 2007, the Tribe enjoyed a 4.5 game lead in the AL Central over the Detroit Tigers. The last place Chicago White Sox were in town to begin a 3-game series while the Tigers were in Oakland finishing a West Coast swing.

The pending Cleveland Fan black cloud of doom had moved over Progressive Field as Fausto Carmona strruggled that night.  Carmon would  give up 5 runs on 7 hits while walking an additonal 6 batters in six innings. Meanwhile, Mark Buehrle would hold the Indians to 2 runs on 4 hits with 0 walks over 7 innings. Aaron Fultz would work the seventh and eighth innings for the Tribe and hold Chicago scoreless. THe White Sox would hold a 5-2 lead as the game entered the bottom of the eighth inning.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen replaced Buehrle, who had only thrown 98 pitches, with right handed pitcher Ehren Wassermann.  Additionally, Paul Konerko was inserted into the game at 1b and  Darrin Erstadt moved from 1b to LF.  Eric Wedge would pinch hit Asdrubal Cabrera for Josh Barfiled and Cabrera would groundout to Paul Konerko for an easy first out.  Grady Sizemore would single to before Franklin Gutierrez would fly out for the second out of the inning.  Ozzie Guillen would go and remove Wasserman to bring in the lefty Mike Meyers to face Travis Hafner and force Victor Martinez to bat right handed. 

The strategy backfired as Meyers failed to retire a batter.  Hafner would draw a walk and Martinez would bring Sizemore in with a single to make the score 5-3  Guillen would replace Meyers with righthanded pitcher Mike McDougal to face Ryan Garko.  Eric Wedge would add some speed on the bases by pinch running Chris Gomez for Victor Martinez.  Garko would hit a slow inning ending groundball to short that would take the oddest hop I've ever seen in any game ever at Progressive Field and Travis Hafner would score to make the score 5-4.  McDougal would walk Jhonny Peralta to load the bases for pinch hitter Kenny Lofton.  Lofton, for the second night in a row, would draw a bases loaded walk to tie the game at 5-5.

Casey Blake would step up with the bases loaded and the game tied and deliver a bases clearing double to make the score 8-5 Clevleand.  McDougual would then walk Asdrubal Cabrera before being replaced by Boone Logan who retired Grady Sizemore to end the inning.  Rafael Bettancourt would come in and work the ninth to pick up his first save on the year. 

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