Hopefully, Tribe bats are doing what the weather in Cleveland is finally doing- heating up for good. The first few games of the Seattle series were very encouraging with C.C. and Cliff Lee shutting down a pretty potent lineup (Ichiro, Sexson, Beltre, Boone) before my boy Elarton came in to blow up. Even when Elarton was in that 1-0 "pitcher's duel" with Moyer (was anyone really expecting a victory when looking at the probable starters?), I'm just waiting for the lit wick to hit the TNT. Whenever Elarton is on the mound, I feel like that overbearing dad who coaches the Yankees in the Bad News Bears, just as Kelly Leak is stepping to the plate. You know what's going to happen, you're helpless to stop it, it's really only a matter of time. I guess that whole dynamic played out with the Yankees coach smacking his own pitcher (Wedgie are you listening?). I've said it before, but by mid-May, look for a different #5 starter. My NEW guess is Tallett.
Jason Dangerously pulled a Wild Thing after working one solid inning. I was waiting for Harry Doyle to say, "Ball 4...Ball 8...Ball 12, and Vaughn has walked the bases loaded on 12 straight pitches." Where does JD go now? I still think he's a one-inning pitcher, not a starter or a middle reliever. I think it will take one more REALLY bad outing, but perhaps he should go to Buffalo to hone a one inning repertoire.
Lost in the Elarton/Davis disaster is that Cliff Lee is pitching with more confidence than I've ever seen him. He doesn't have that scared look when he gets into trouble, he just seems to get it done. With Lee in the fold, our 4 top starters and the bullpen (Wickman's hiccups notwithstanding) have been a real strength. Yet, we're still losing ground in the Central.
There's no way the ChiSox can keep this up, can they? The Central is shaping up as one of the tougher divisions in the league.
All right, with an off day today we'll do a quick draft recap.
- Edwards is an immediate upgrade over anyone on the roster. But, who's the odd man out at WR? I think Bryant (remember Carthon was his O Coordinator in Dallas, who tired of his antics) while others think Davis (can't stay healthy), or even D-Cutt (just because I don't really like him). Whoever it is, they weren't very productive and I'm not going to shed any tears over any one of them moving on.
- Pool is a versatile, big FOOTBALL player (not a big athlete with potential) who gives depth to the secondary. I think what Crennel is trying to do is build a defense with flexible players who can play multiple positions. If you look at the NE defense, all of the players are smart, versatile players - comfortable handling their spot in the zone. Pool also gives insurance if Jones isn't healthy, or Uncle Butch missed on him too. Interesting comment by Savage on Jones tonight on WTAM. He said that Jones would've been a mid second-top third round pick this year. Translation - He's OK, but Pool (my guy) is better.
- Frye is a great pick, who's going to have enough time to develop and whose drive and work ethic (that I've read about) should endear him to Cleveland very quickly. I know that last year I thought that McCown would develop for 2 years under Jeff Garcia, but I REALLY think that Frye will be able to develop for 2 years under Dilfer and get comfortable in this system.
- Perkins, I think, was the first example of "best available". As I freaked out that we hadn't taken any OL, DL, or LB's, Savage calmly took Perkins (whom he called a 2nd round talent). Does this spell the end for Cutch, who is obviously a better nickel corner, or Northcutt, who may lose his PR job and doesn't seem to fit in with these big receivers? We'll see. For both Perkins and Pool, they were rated as "Best in Zone Coverage" at their respective positions, which plays well into Crennel's defense.
- McMillen is a big, fast DE in college who should be a nice speed rusher in this system. Think a poor man's Jamir Miller (remember Crennel was the D-Coordinator then) or a very poor man's Willie McGinest in the 3-4. I just hope that he gets consistent, which was the big knock on him at Kansas.
- Speegle (who did not get invited to the Combine) is a smart player with experience in the 3-4 at New Mexico. He visited the Browns twice, so this isn't a blind pick. I hope that he can play the Vrabel role in this offense (by the way, how cocky and idiotic did Vrabel sound on the Cold Pizza Set all weekend), but to ask that of a 5th round pick is a stretch.
- Hoffman is a big guy, again with experience in the 3-4 as NT, whose frame is big enough to bulk up to 310-315. He should provide depth at the DL (which looks very thin to me) while developing into a rotational player on the line. He dropped a keg on his toe as a sophomore in college. Andrew Hoffman, meet Ross Verba.
- Dunn is a developmental RT, who along with Chambers (last year's developmental LT) gives the O-Line coaches a project.
Funniest thing I heard all weekend was that my friend's brother was upset about McCown getting traded, but not for the reasons that you think. Turns out he had a custom McCown jersey made after the draft last year, thinking he's the first one on board with the QB of the future. Now, the jersey goes into his closet, next to the Wali Rainer jersey (no lie). Now hearing that someone has those two jerseys, I ask you, how badly do the Browns need a star?
All told, it seems like they drafted football players from big schools who performed over a period of time, and seemed very disciplined to take the best player. There were more glaring needs, but I can't argue with anything yesterday. But, ask me again in 3 years.