Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Get the ball to 47

Naturally the best case scenario for tonight's game is a complete game victory by C.C. Sabathia. While the Tribe's bullpen has been lights out in the playoffs, you always root for the starter to finish the game with his fist held high.

But say C.C.'s pitch count in well in the triple digits after eight innings and the Indians have a one run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. The great majority of Tribe fans will be calling for Rafael Betancourt to enter the game instead of Joe Borowski.

And yet Eric Wedge will hand the ball to JoBo. And well he should.

I know Rafy Right has been arguably the best pitcher in the majors this season. His stuff has been nasty and he has been as close to perfect as one can be this post season. And I understand JoBo is always an adventure.

But what has made this team so special is that Eric Wedge trusts his players and his players believe in him. He believed in Westbrook and Byrd. He believed in Shoppach. And he has been rewarded. It is has been JoBo's job all year when the lead is three or less in the ninth inning and Wedge is not going to change.

I know fans will fret and even howl if JoBo would give up the lead. But if that happens Wedge will give the ball back to JoBo in the same situation in game six. And well he should.

Fans and reporters always think they know best. But they don't live with guys every day. Wedge knows this team better than anyone. And he knows what role every player should be in.

Let's look at what the roster would look like if the fans and the media ran the team. Casey Blake would have been gone three years ago. Jhonny Peralta would be gone. And Sabathia himself would have been traded. Oh the radio show callers wanted all three gone for most of the last few years. Martinez would be at first base, Garko would behind the plate and CoCo Crisp (he of few postseason hits) would still in left field. In fact, at midseason there was a segment of fans that wanted to trade Pronk and few still wanted to fire Eric Wedge.

And where would the team be.

I admit JoBo can be scary and Betancourt has been nasty good but if Eric Wedge hands the ball to Borowski in the ninth. I will be on my feet screaming in support. Win or lose, Wedge has earned my trust. And what he does from this point on, I respect and believe in. Just like the men in his clubhouse.