Friday, May 18, 2012

As Kerry Wood Sets to Retire A Look Back At Three M'aidez

Kerry Wood struggled in a game in May, this time on May 9th, and for the second time in 2 years he'll need to replace his glove as a result except this time the life expectancy of the new glove will be short lived as he is set to announce his retirement in the next day or two.

On May 8, 2012, Kerry Wood walked off the mound after an unsuccessful outing and tossed his glove and hat into the stands. After the game he was asked about the incident and responded:

After the game Wood was asked about the glove toss which he responded, "Irrelevant,  had nothing to do with the game" and when he was asked if he felt as sharp as he needed to be Wood said,  "Obviously, with giving up a five-spot, I'm not [expletive] sharp."
On May 19, 2009, Wood then the closer for the Cleveland Indians was handed a 5-2 lead to protect against the Royals in Kansas City. The lead evaporated in magnificent fashion no back to back solo homers, a walk, RBI triple, and walk-off sacrifice fly.


On May 18, 2010, nearly a year to the day that he couldn't protect a 3-run lead in KC, the Indians handed him the ball with a 4-3 lead vs the Royals in Cleveland. He proceeded to give the lead back on an leadoff triple, infield single, RBI double, intentional walk, and a bases clearing double to put the Royals in front 8-4. As Wood walked off the field that day he chucked his glove into the stands in frustration and said this to reporters after the game.


More About The Indians Blowups After The Jump
The Cleveland Indian Blowups

The term May Day is a naval distress signal.  It originates from the French word m'aidez and its English translation is  "Come Help Me".  It became an official naval term in 1948 which is fitting since that is the last year the Indians won the World Series and m'aidez could be heard from the stands on the shores of Lake Erie many times since its inception.

The Indians had high hopes for the 2008 season, all of which came crashing down after a series of blown save opportunities in the first half of the season but they did finish the season  on a high note finishing the last 8 weeks of the season with the second best record in the American League at 35-21 (second to the Boston Red Sox at 34-19). 

Indians GM Mark Shapiro looked at his 2008 squad and determined that a back end closer could put the Tribe right back into the mix for the AL Central Title.  Kerry Wood hit the free agent market after putting up a very solid year, his first as a closer, with the Chicago Cubs.  A year in which he appeared in 68 games, pitched 66.1 innings, saved 34 games, and had an ERA of 3.26 (ERA+ 142).  Shapiro acted quickly, signing Wood on December 15, 2008 to a two year 20.5 million dollar contract including an option that a third year at 11 million was guaranteed if Wood finished 55 games in either 2009 or 2010. 

He struggled over the first five weeks of the 2009 campaign, going 1-1 with 5 saves (1 blown save) and an ERA of 5.84.  The Indians did not fare much better over the first five weeks going 14-25 and in last place in the AL Central.

The Indians were coming off a very disappointing series in Tampa Bay where the team lost 3 out of 4 games and were frustrated by the actions of BJ Upton, lost leads, and blown calls which led to a benches clearing brawl in the series Sunday finale. 

On May 19, 2009, the Indians arrived in Kansas City for a 3 games series with the Royals.  The Indians and were in need of a solid outing by Cliff Lee to settle things down.  Lee, coming off a Cy Young Award winning season, had been victimized by poor defense and lack of run support, took the mound with a 2-5 record with an ERA of 3.00.  Lee gave the Indians 8 solid innings, holding the Royals to only 2 runs on 101 pithches, while the Indians offense would score 5 times giving the Indians a 5-2 lead in the 8th inning.  Kerry Wood entered the game to start the ninth inning.   

He got Jose Guillen to ground out to second for the first out of the inning but then the inning turned from that point as Mike Jacobs ran the count full before hitting a home run to make the score 5-3.  Mark Teahan  hit the very next pitch for an opposite field home run to cut the lead to 1 at 5-4.  A rattled Kerry Wood walked Miguel Olivo and the Royals sent in Mitch Maier as a pinch runner in a move that paid off as David DeJesus tied the game up with a triple into the gap in right center.  Willie Bloomquist then hit a sacrifice fly to score DeJesus with the winning run capping a 4 run inning that gave the Royals a 6-5 victory (video) and had Indians fans screaming M'aidez along with a few other choice words.

Deja Vu:

The 2010 Indians had no expectations of competing for a playoff spot and their play on the field early in the 2010 season served as a confirmation.  On May 18, 2010, the Indians and David Huff again lost a series finale 6-2 to the Rays in Tropicana Field.  This time the Indians ventured home to Progressive Field to play the Kansas City Royals in the start of a two game series.   The Indians found themselves in much the same situation as the previous year, a record of 15-22 and in 4th place in the AL Central. 

Taking the hill for the Indians that night was promising right hander Justin Masterson.  Entering the game, Masterson had a record of 0-4 with an ERA of 5.92.  A record that had many Cleveland fans suggesting that the Indians should put Masterson back into the bullpen but he pitched better that night, giving the Indinans 5 innings only allowing 2 runs.  The Indians bullpen only allowed the Royals 1 run over the next 3 innings and the Indians held a 4-3 advantage as the game entered the top of the ninth inning.  Kerry Wood, one year to the day of a 4 run outburst by this Royals squad, took his place at the center of the diamond and looked to close out a victory for the Tribe.

Mike Aviles greeted him with a leadoff triple and David DeJesus reached base on an infield single putting runners at the corner with nobody out.  Billy Butler tied the game at  with a double putting runners at 2nd and 3rd for Jose Guillen who Masterson struck out for the first out of the inning.  Manager Manny Acta had Wood intetionally walk Alberto Callapso to set up the double play opportunity.  The strategy became moot as Wood issued a walk to Mitch Maier forcing in David DeJesus giving the Royals a 5-4 lead.

Things quickly went frombad to worse as Yuniesky Bettancourt delivered a bases clearing double to to give the Royals a comfortable 8-4 cushion.  Manny Acta heard the call of m'aidez and headed to the mound to remove Kerry Wood.  An obviously frustrated Kerry Wood launched his glove into the stands as he left the field (video).  Jamey Wright was summoned from the bullpen and retire Jason Kendall and Scott Posednik to end the painful inning.  The Royals Bruce Chen, who had come on in the bottom of the eighth remained in  the game and retired the Indians in order earning his first win of the year.


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