Beating the Yankees is always fun. But the best part about the Tribe's series win is that (with no apologies to Frank Sinatra) they did there way.
Before the game at my bar of choice, I was struck by the bandwagoners. They seemed to be from two camps. One was the "who is pitching tonight?" group. I mean c'mon you went out and bought a new cap and t-shirt but you aren't a big enough fan to know it was Paul Byrd's turn in the rotation. The second group based on their knowledge of a handful of games that were incensed that C.C. was starting on three days rest. This gave them as much knowledge as the New York media and national talking heads as both of those groups knew Eric Wedge was making a mistake. Wedge said he trusted Byrd and it was his turn. This is how the Indians won all season. Why paniac and change when ahead 2-1 in the series.
As I told my bar buddy, you keep telling a grizzled veteran like Paul Byrd he sucks and he is going to bear down. As Byrd told the media after the game- the other night the reporters only asked him two questions- should C.C. start instead of him and if C.C. did start instead of him how would he feel. Byrd was quoted as saying, "I walked out there feeling like a loser. I think I'm a pretty heavey underdog."
Then he went out and did his job setting up our bullpen to finish the game.
With Byrd on the mound, many wanted Wedge to change his ways again. They wanted Garko at first and Vic behind the plate. These critics could not understand what Wedge was thinking. The man benched said it best in his playoff blog on mlb.com.
"Obviously, I wasn’t in the lineup tonight, because Kelly Shoppach caught Paul Byrd and Vic went to first base. All I thought about is that it’s cool that Eric had the courage to do what we’ve been doing all year and do what got us here to the playoffs. If you start C.C. on three days’ rest, you don’t know what you’re going to get. If you catch Vic with Byrd, you don’t know what you’re going to get there, either. This is how we won our division and won games, and we went with it. I’ve had some of my best games of the year coming off the bench when Byrdie starts. Who cares? It’s all about getting wins now. I was ready to go if we needed to, and I was actually hoping I wouldn’t get in there tonight, because that would mean we won. And that’s how it turned out. We had a meeting when the playoffs started, and Eric said, “Just be yourselves. Don’t do anything different.” If he started getting out of character and changing things, what message would that send to us?"
This team has been built the right way. They have all the right parts. And despite what many fans or media members believe-- the guys in that dugout know Eric Wedge is the right man for the job. During his entire tenure, Wedge has said the key was to do it the right way and to never waver. And he didn't. And his team didn't either.