The 2009 Cleveland Indians season is not exactly turning out as some of us had planned. They've got the worst record in the American League and have not seen the expected bullpen improvement they so dearly wanted. Kerry Wood woofed another game last night, his second blown save of '09 to go along with Jensen Lewis' four muffs, two from Rafael Betancourt, and one oopsie from Vinnie Chulk. I haven't seen a bullpen this ineffective since...well...since the 2008 Cleveland Indians.
Starter Cliff Lee and the offense built a 5-2 lead through eight innings after which Eric Wedge put out the signal for Wood. After inducing a Jose Guillen groundout, Wood allowed back to back solo dongs to Mike Jacobs and Mark Teahen. He walked Miguel Olivo, a rare and difficult task given the OBA-challenged Olivo's season total of one walk prior to that appearance, before giving up a game-tying triple to Rutgers grad David DeJesus. The smart thing to do at this point would have been to walk the bases loaded and either (a) get the inning-ending double play or (b) walk in the winning run and bring shrimp to a hungry world. Instead, Willie Bloomquist drove in the deciding run with a simple sac-fly to right and the Royals celebration was on.
"He's the guy you were going to," said Wedge, after Wood's second blown save of the year. "That's the reason he's here. A three-run lead in the ninth inning is the best situation for any closer."
I can't really blame Wedge for pulling Cliff Lee out of a game in which he had cruised through eight innings, throwing 101 pitches, 65 for strikes. After all, thanks to the recent losing ways of the Cleveland Indians, closer Kerry Wood hadn't had a save opportunity since May 1st. Fella needs to get in a close-and-late game just to keep the blood pumping through the veins. Of course, in the end, the only blood pumping last night was through the forehead veins of Indians fans.