Prior to the final two home games of the year, the Indians announced that manager Eric Wedge and his coaching staff would not be retained for the 2010 season.
On the heels of the dismissal of their manager, Cleveland went out and split the twin bill with Chicago, winning the first game, 5-1, before dropping the nightcap, 1-0.
Wedge met with the media in his office for the final time, with his tenure set to come to an end after a season-ending four-game series in Boston that begins tonight. Staying true to his approach, Wedge tried to shift the focus to his team before reflecting on his time in Cleveland.
“I’m trying not to get too caught up in it,” he said. “We’ve still got four games left. That’s where my focus is.
“We had a lot of great days here and a lot of great players came through here. They’ll keep going and I’ll keep going. This is where my home is right now. This stadium and this city means a great deal to me.”
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Both of Wedge’s starting pitchers — Fausto Carmona and Justin Masterson — did their best to send Wedge off with a sweep of Cleveland’s Central Division rival.
Carmona, a major disappointment this season, finished the year in style, allowing just a run on five hits, while striking out five over seven innings in the first game.
It was the second straight strong start for Carmona, who finished the year 5-12 with a 6.32 ERA (24 starts), winning each of his last two outings.
“He’s been much more consistent,” Wedge said. “His command’s been better. He’s much more under control. Less effort means more for him. It allows him to be more consistent with his delivery.
“I feel strong about the way Fausto’s finishing.”
Masterson was even better, but wasn’t awarded the same good fortune as Carmona, thanks to a suffocating effort from White Sox ace Mark Buehrle and the bullpen.
Producing what might have been the finest outing of his career, Masterson allowed just a run on four hits in a complete-game effort that saw him strike out a career-high 12 batters.
“You see him pitch a game like that and I think it answers a lot of questions on why we feel he can start,” Wedge said. “A guy goes nine innings like that in such a tight ballgame, that even makes it all the more impressive.”
Masterson matched Buehrle’s scoreless effort through the first five innings before allowing his lone run in the sixth on a two-out single from Paul Konerko.
The Indians managed just three hits over six innings against Buehrle before mustering one against the Sox bullpen the rest of the way.
“It was just unfortunate that Mark Buehrle pitched a really good game,” Masterson said. “It’s just unfortunate that no runs were able to get put on the board.”
Masterson, who was inconsistent after joining Cleveland’s rotation, is expected to open next season in the same role.
“I think the plan is to come in and start next year,” Masterson said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to build on what we did tonight.”
The Indians had few opportunities to score in the second game and they arrived early.
Shin-Soo Choo singled with two outs in the opening inning and advanced to third on a double from Jhonny Peralta, both runners staying put after Matt LaPorta grounded out.
The Indians had a runner on second with two outs in the third before Choo ended the inning on a grounder to second base.
Travis Hafner and LaPorta produced much of Cleveland’s offense in the first game, combining for three of the Tribe’s six hits and all of its runs. Hafner went 2-for-3 with a solo homer to lead off the sixth, while LaPorta doubled in his only official at-bat, adding a pair of walks.
The opener was played in front of far fewer than 1,000 fans, with around 15,000 turning out for the nightcap.
- Who: Cleveland at Boston
- Time: 7:10
- Where: Fenway Park, Boston
- Pitchers: Carrasco (0-3, 9.00 ERA) vs. Lester (14-8, 3.52)
- TV/radio: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.