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Indians Indians Archive Just Takin' Care Of Business
Written by Brian McPeek

Brian McPeek
One win away from the World Series.  Just one more win.  Thanks to a seven run explosion in the fifth inning, the Tribe knocked off the Red Sox by a 7-3 three count in game four for their third consecutive win in the series after losing game one in Boston.  And with an off day tomorrow, we can all relax and catch our breath before C.C. v. Beckett on Thursday night.  Brian McPeek checks in with his game log from game four ...

This morning I woke up and the waves of contentment from last night’s 4-2 victory immediately melted away into a sea of trepidation about Paul Byrd facing the Boston Red Sox. So I went and had an unnecessary root canal on a perfectly healthy tooth, visited my urologist for an al fresco prostate exam and then went down to the IRS office and demanded that they exhaustively audit my returns from the last five years.

Paul Byrd doesn’t look bad to me at all. Other than his resemblance to the urologist.

Doug Mirabelli gets the start for Boston with Tim Wakefield on the mound. For the Indians, Kelly Shoppach is catching Byrd while Victor Martinez slides down to 1st base. Ryan Garko is the odd man out and Franklin Gutierrez is back in right field to start tonight’s ballgame.

8pm- The opening musical highlight collage. When I was young I envisioned a high-paying job putting those things together. A little “Simply the Best” from Tina Turner with diving catches and huge hits mixed in. But alas, there were different career plans for me. All of which sucked.

803pm- Jeanne Zelasko is sandwiched between three ex-players on the pre-game set tonight. Make your own jokes.

820pm- Kevin Youkilis announces the Boston line-up. There are fungo bats with more personality.

821pm- Byrd’s first pitch of the night is grounded to Blake by Dustin Pedroia for the first out. So far, so good.

822pm- Youkilis steps in. Paul Emmel is the home plate umpire tonight. That’s important because it means Brian Gorman is NOT the home plate umpire tonight.

823pm- Youkilis flies to Grady Sizemore for out number two. David Ortiz faces Byrd.

824pm- Ortiz strikes out swinging on some wiffle-ball thrown by Byrd. Let’s see if the Wakefield knuckleball is dancing or flattening out.

828pm- After reading the lineups for FOX, Grady Sizemore quickly drops the mic, grabs a bat and makes his way to the plate. Somewhere in between it got dark.

829pm- Grady draws a leadoff walk on, of all things, a 76mph fastball from Wakefield.

830pm- Asdrubal Cabrera swings over top of a knuckler for strike 3. One out.

832pm- Travis Hafner steps in, takes a strike and Sizemore easily steals 2nd base.

833pm- Hafner goes down swinging for the second out. Interesting to see Wakefield with 17 wins this season and a Joe Borowski-like ERA of 4.76.

835pm- Martinez makes contact but lines out to JD Drew in right field for a quiet first inning.

839pm- Manny Ramirez faces Paul Byrd. Manny and Byrd are playing a game of “chicken” on the mound and at the plate. Ramirez is stepping out of the box and Byrd then steps off the mound. Byrd blinks first and Ramirez laces a single to left after Byrd’s double-windup routine.

841pm- Mike Lowell takes his first swings off Byrd. He grounds to Martinez as Ramirez takes second base.

842pm- JD Drew stands in. Not even Drew could possibly be overmatched by Byrd. Byrd gets ahead in the count 1-2 and strikes out 14million wasted dollars. Two down.

JD Drew has the prettiest swing and a miss in the game. Excellent follow through and form.

844pm- Coco Crisp at the dish. Byrd looks very sharp striking out Crisp to strand Ramirez. A lot of movement with that 88mph fastball and 7 Red Sox hitters have seen 7 first-pitch strikes. No score heading to the bottom of the 2nd inning.

846pm- Ben Stiller has ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ hitting theaters this weekend. I’ve been waiting a long time to not see that.

848pm- Wakefield throws three nasty knuckleballs to Jhonny Peralta who comes up empty on each of them. 1 out.

849pm- Kenny Lofton grounds out to Youkilis on the first pitch he sees. Two outs and no worries about Wakefield’s knuckler flattening out right now.

850pm- Blake takes a called 3rd strike. The good news is the girls may get to see this whole game even though they’re due in bed at 9pm. Both pitchers are impressive in an unimpressive way right now.

854pm- Doug Mirabelli and his ten at bats in the last 6 weeks stand in. These are always the guys that end up killing you in the post season.

Very flat crowd tonight thus far. Half-hearted towel waving and not much of a buzz. I swear I can hear the gears in Tim McCarver’s head grinding.

857pm- Mirabelli flies to Gutierrez in right. One out.

858pm- Julio Lugo grounds out softly to Byrd for the 2nd out. Pedroia steps in for his second at bat.

9pm- Pedroia takes an outside fastball to right field for a two out single. Youkilis steps into the box.

901pm- Youkilis hits the first pitch from Byrd into left field for another base hit to bring up Ortiz with two on and two out. DANGER.

904pm- Big Papi slaps a ground ball to Peralta who runs to the 2nd base bag ahead of Youkilis to end the inning and the threat.

Ortiz looks like a guy who should be running the black market cigarette sales in Cell-Block C. The prisoner with a rough exterior but who actually has a heart of gold and a young daughter he misses dearly. Umm…anyway…

908pm- Gutierrez digs in and draws a walk to lead off the Indians 3rd inning.

909pm- Shoppach is the hitter.

912pm- Wakefield throws a knuckler past Shoppach for the first out. Back to the top of the order.

915pm- With Gutierrez running on a 3-2 pitch to Grady, Sizemore bangs a groundball to Youkilis who gets the out at first base for out number two. Gutierrez moves to second.

916pm- Cabrera strands Gutierrez at 2nd base when he flies out to Crisp to end the inning. We move into the middle innings folks. The Indians are still looking for their first hit but we’re still scoreless.

919pm- Ramirez leads off for Boston in the 4th inning.

921pm- Manny flies out to Sizemore and Lowell comes up with one out.

922pm- Lowell flies out deep to left center for the second out.

922pm- JD Drew proves that blind, bad, overpriced squirrels do sometimes find an acorn as he singles to center.

925pm- Crisp flies out to Gutierrez as we hit the middle of the 4th.

I’m working harder than either of these two pitchers.

929pm- Hafner, Martinez and Peralta to try and solve the puzzle that is the knuckleball.

930pm- Hafner doesn’t come close. One out.

930pm- Martinez lines out to center. Two down and Peralta comes to the plate.

931pm- Peralta lines a double off the wall in left for the Indian first hit and another scoring chance. Lofton with another shot at glory.

932pm- Lofton can’t get it done as he grounds out to Youkilis. Wakefield could easily and effortlessly eclipse the 256 pitches Daisuke Matsuzaka threw back in Japan. He hasn’t broken a sweat. To the 5th.

Byrd has thrown 56 pitches through 4 innings. Wakefield, 52 pitches.

936pm- Mirabelli battles Byrd.

937pm- Byrd strikes out Mirabelli for out number one.

938pm- Lugo lines out hard to Lofton in left field.

940pm- Pedroia grounds out to Peralta. Inning over.

The commercial breaks between innings are officially longer than the innings themselves. Thankfully they’re chock-full of informative, entertaining stuff.

Good thing I’m on salary or I’d have to type a lot slower to make a buck.

942pm- Blake stands in against Wakefield.

943pm- BOOM!! Blake hits a bomb onto the porch in left field for a 1-0 Tribe lead. Just when I was wishing Aaron Boone was back in a Tribe uniform to take a hack against Wakefield.

945pm- Gutierrez hits a helmet-high pitch into left for a single to bring up Shoppach.

946pm- Shoppach gets hit with a pitch. No danger of a bruise but its runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. Manny Delcarmen begins throwing in the BoSox pen.

I can suddenly hear that big crowd.

948pm- Grady stands in. He hits into a fielder’s choice and forces Shoppach at 2nd base. Gutierrez to 3rd base and Grady is on at 1st base with one down. Nothing wrong with one to the screen.

950pm- Cabrera pops a ball foul down the line that Youkilis fortunately bobbles and drops. Fortunate because Gutierrez would have scored on a 100 foot sacrifice fly.

951pm- No matter. Cabrera lines a ball of Wakefield’s glove for a run-scoring single and a 2-0 Indians lead. Still runners on 1st and 2nd with one down.

954pm- Hafner simply can’t solve the Wakefield knuckleball. He strikes out for the third time tonight.

955pm- Martinez is the hitter. One more big fly would cap this inning off nicely.

957pm- No big fly. But I’ll take Victor’s base hit through the hole at SS to deliver Grady and run number three. Wakefield is done. Delcarmen is coming in.

Boston starters haven’t gotten through the 5th inning since Game 1. No matter how good your pen is, you can’t keep putting them in a position of trying to maintain deficits.

Delcarmen will be quite a contrast to Wakefield. His 95mph fastball might look like 195mph for hitters stepping right now.

1000pm- Peralta gets the first crack at Delcarmen with two outs and runners at 1st and 2nd base.

1002pm- BOOM!!! #2. So much for adjustments. Jhonny Peralta adjusted to a 96mph Delcarmen heater and turned it around to deep right field for a 3 run homer. 6-0 Indians. I get the evil eye from the wife when my ‘HEEEEELLLL YESSSS!!!!’ threatens to wake up a child.

1005pm- Lofton lines a single to left center.

1006pm- 1995 all over again. Lofton steals second base. Blake has a chance to pick up another run with a two-out hit.

1008pm- Blake dumps a fisted single into center to score Lofton. The Tribe cashes in the Lofton hit and hustle to take a 7-0 lead.

1009pm- Paul Byrd hangs from the dugout roof to stay loose. I always imagined Joe Borowski hanging from that roof.

1011pm- Gutierrez walks and pushes Blake to 2nd base with those same two outs still on the board. None of which have been recorded by Delcarmen.

1013pm- Shoppach to get a shot at Delcarmen.

1015pm- Full count to Shoppach and the runners will be off with the pitch.

1016pm- Shoppach goes down swinging and Delcarmen takes 24 pitches to record an out. 35 minutes after the inning started the Indians are done in the 5th. But not before they put 7 runs on the board and take a 7-0 lead to the 6th.

1021pm- Youkilis greets Byrd with a long, long home run to start the top half of the 6th.

1023pm- Ortiz decides to get in on the fun and hits a 20-foot high line drive into the seats in right. 7-2 Indians and there’s no need to wait too long before getting Jensen Lewis into the game for Byrd. In fact, there’s no need to wait at all. Lewis will come on. Byrd baffled them with Byrd-crap for 5 innings and long enough to let the tribe bats wake up. Well-done sir.

1027pm- Lewis v. Ramirez.

1031pm- This is becoming an epidemic. Ramirez leaves the yard to right center on a 3-2 fastball from Lewis. Then he stands at the plate for a full 5 seconds admiring the drive with his arms over his head. Not sure what more he could do to beg for a ball in the ribs his next time up.

1033pm- Order is momentarily restored when Lowell grounds out to Blake.

1034pm- JD Drew wastes little time in getting back to the warmth of the dugout as he flies softly to Lofton in left.

1035pm- Crisp lofts one to Lofton as well and ends an inning that leaves my head spinning and Tribe pitcher’s with whiplash. 7-3 Indians after back-to-back-to-back solo HRs from Youkilis, Ortiz and Ramirez.

1039pm- Jon Lester replaces Delcarmen and faces Grady Sizemore. The way this thing is going, the Indians do not want to put it on cruise control and limp a lead to the finish line.

1041pm- Grady draws the walk. AsCab bunting here?

1042pm- No sign of a bunt. Cabrera strikes out swinging on a 32 fastball.

1044pm- Hafner steps to the plate. Thrilled to see anyone other than Wakefield on the mound, no doubt.

1045pm- Hafner takes the collar with another swinging strikeout.

1046pm- Martinez waits at the plate. Lester throws away a pickoff attempt and Sizemore moves to 2nd base with two outs.

1049pm- Lester induces the fly ball to center from Victor and we move to the 7th inning with the Indians leading 7-3.

1052pm- Lewis is back out for the 7th inning and faces Jason Varitek. Varitek replaced Mirabelli in the 6th inning. The Red Sox captain grounds a single through the hole at SS to lead off the Red Sox 7th.

1054pm- Lewis gets a big double play ball to SS from Lugo to momentarily push back the Sox.

1056pm- Cabrera makes an impressive leaping grab of a Pedroia liner that was headed toward the gap in right center field to end the inning. Nice play. Big egg that Lewis throws on the board in the 7th inning.

1101pm- Lester is back out for his second inning of work.

1103pm- Peralta pops out to start the Indians half of the 7th inning.

1104pm- Lofton strikes out looking and barks at the plate umpire. Now I’m sure it’s 1995. He might be 40. But he can act like an 8-yr old who’s just been chided by his parents.

1106pm- Nice job by Lester. He gets Blake to ground to Lowell and we’re officially into the 8th.

Right now these are two teams fighting to grab momentum by the ears and into their respective dugouts.

1109pm- Rafael Betancourt replaces Jensen Lewis. Interesting to see what Betancourt has in the tank. And he faces Youkilis who seems to work him hard.

1111pm- Raffy Right dispatches Youkilis on two pitches and a fly ball to Gutierrez. Ortiz stands in. I’ll be interested to see if they drill Manny if Betancourt can get Ortiz here.

1113pm- Ortiz pops weakly to Lofton to set up an interesting scenario. You don’t want to lose Betancourt to a suspension by any means but he needs to go down.

1114pm- Betancourt gets Ramirez on a first pitch fly-out to Lofton. I’ll take it. But I still say someone needs to pay for Manny’s preening. Even if it isn’t Ramirez. This ‘Manny being Manny’ crap has run its course in so many ways.

1117pm- Lester is back out there and why not? He’s a starter by nature and hasn’t been touched other than the walk he gave up to Sizemore, the first batter he faced.

1119pm- Gutierrez swings and misses at his daily head high fastball to strike out for out number one.

1121pm- Lester faces Shoppach. Shoppach hits a nubber up the 3B line for the Indians first hit off Jon Lester.

1122pm- Sizemore lifts a ball to right field for out number two. Get me to the 9th inning boys. The last two nights have me drained.

1123pm- Cabrera grounds to Lowell and Shoppach is forced out to take us to the 9th inning. The good news is the Indians have a four run lead. And a four run lead is not a save situation. All of that means its Betancourt coming back out for the 9th inning.

You can’t tell me the Tribe brass isn’t aware that JoBo makes things way too interesting to throw him out there again tonight. And with a day of rest tomorrow, Betancourt can relax and recoup and be ready for Thursday if he’s needed.

1128pm- Lowell pops up Raffy Right’s first pitch to Shoppach for out number one.

1132pm- JD Drew weakly, but smugly, flies out to Lofton for the second out.

1133pm- Crisp hits a screamer that Martinez grabs for the ballgame.

How’s that for taking care of business Tribe fans? Split in Fenway, take the first two back home and have your ace in your place with a trip to the World Series on the line Thursday night.

Believe this. The Red Sox will come out Thursday night like the caged, rotten rats they are. But CC Sabathia is a man looking for redemption. Take the day off tomorrow, get reacquainted with the family and come strong Thursday night.

I need a beer and a bed.

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