If you watched any of the previous series with Boston, you know how hot the Red Sox hitters have been (they recenetly pasted Philly pitching to the tune of 27 runs in three games). That makes what Kevin Millwood did all the more amazing. Kevin got out of a first inning jam, and was never seriously in trouble again. He pitched inside to left-handers like David Ortiz, got Manny Ramirez on high fastballs and outside curves, and really kept the entire lineup off balance during his six innings of work. If you take into consideration the opposition, Millwood’s outing probably rates as the best Indian pitching performance of the year.
The Red Sox essentially gave the Indians five runs through shoddy defense. The Indians scored three runs thanks to an absolutely bonehead error by Mark Bellhorn, and two thanks to Trot Nixon’s deflection of a Grady Sizemore fly ball over the short right field fence. You could say the Indians didn’t need all those runs, but it did allow the back end of the bullpen to get some rest, and made the last three innings relatively stress-free.
Travis Hafner is making his case for the All-Star team. He hit his 12th home run of the season tonight, and while his numbers aren’t as good as they were in 2004, I’d have to think his .293/.397/.526 line would be good enough in a year with a weak class of AL 1B/DHs. The other two possibles in my mind are Cliff Lee and Bob Wickman, although I’d much rather see Hafner or Lee than Wickman be the lone Indians representative.
Kyle Denney is apparently fine but still in a Buffalo hospital. He suffered a cerebral contusion (a bruise to the brain), a fracture of one his skull bones, and a ruptured eardrum. Those are obviously quite serious injuries, although the good news is that he never lost consciousness after the injury. Best of luck to him as he recovers.
Thanks for the feedback on the young arms; the second half of the top 20 should be up some time tomorrow.