- The blown save by Wickman was bound to happen. You can't dance on the edge of the cliff that frequently and never take an occasional fall. It did look like there were a few grounders hit that were just out of the reach of Broussard and Boone. Move those over a few feet and we've got a W.
- That being said, the Tribe just played the hottest team in the AL at home, and almost took the series. A C.C. meltdown notwithstanding, the Tribe played the A's at their own game and played them tough. Granted, we didn't see Rich Harden (who's on fire), but we also didn't throw Millwood or Lee.
- To watch the A's series (again, omit the C.C. debacle), it's easy to see how a team can be built on pitching and win the majority of their games. The starters were great, and the bullpen pitched well (until the 9th today). The A's beat them in the area that the Indians are still weak in - situational hitting. The amount of Indians left on base is staggering.
- I wish that this town would decide what kind of team they want. Back in the '90s, everybody said, "The offense is great, but pitching wins championships". Now, despite a solid pitching staff and some very promising young players, people seem to lament the fact that there isn't an All-Star at every position. NEWS FLASH - That's a good thing. Look at John Hart's Rangers - they're very exciting to watch because they play in 13-11 games on a regular basis. Remind you of anyone? I'll take Westbrook tossing 2 hit ball for 7 innings over empty offense anyday. The A's are a perfect example of how strong pitching and timely hitting by solid, but not necessarily spectacular, players can win ballgames and make the playoffs.
- Now, onto the elephant in the room: C.C. His start on Monday was an absolute train wreck. He started the game throwing nothing but fastballs (RockDawg's comment about how Zito said that the A's were sitting "Dead Red" is a telling sign), then suddenly threw nothing but breaking balls. He's shaking off pitches, he's not mixing pitches, he never throws change-ups, and (as always) he lets his emotions get in the way. His comments after the game that he's "forgotten how to pitch" and that he "doesn't know a good pitch from a bad pitch" reinforce the belief that the problems are all between his ears. It's certainly not physical - the fact that he's throwing 98 MPH regularly shows that there are no mechanical problems. What C.C. needs to do is skip a start (Davis' and Carmona's next scheduled starts in Buffalo coincide with Sabathia's next turn), throw a simulated game with Willis and Wedge (and Nagy?) to teach him game situations, then ease him back into the rotation. When he gets back, though, Wedge should call the entire game from the dugout and NOT allow C.C. to shake off pitches. Maybe he'll pick up how to mix pitches and locate his pitches better than he has. I don't think that sending C.C. to the minors is going to do much. C.C. would be able to blow away minor league hitters with a 98 MPH fastball, so he wouldn't learn how to pitch, he would just continue to throw hard. If that doesn't work, I'm at a loss for what can straighten out the ol' Crooked Cap. Maybe bring in Rick Sutcliffe or Moose Haas to talk to him?
- On to some lighter notes: Is Bobby Kielty the ugliest player in the Major Leagues? He looks like a clown. In fact, he has to be up there with some of the wierdest looking guys in sports. The ugliest guy, still, in the history of sports (in my lifetime) was a basketball player for N.C. State in the mid-90's. I don't know what his name was, but he was a point guard, and I would watch most NC State games just to try to figure out what was wrong with him.
- The rest of the A's look like a crowd from a Candlebox concert. They're all in the late 20's with scruffy hair, are unshaven, and look like they're more comfortable in a baggy flannel shirt than a baseball uniform. Have you ever noticed that the whole team is white? The only player that is not full blown caucasian is Eric Chavez, and he was born and raised in LA.
- The A's, wearing those white hightops, look like they're wearing the crappy shoes that every 5th grader wore in CYO back in the day. Why do they wear white shoes? Is there any other team that does it?
- Jeff Liefer had a nice debut, with an RBI double on Tuesday night. Looking at Liefer in the media guide made me wonder about his career stats against our own Kasey Blake (yes, that was misspelled for a reason). So here it is, Liefer's career numbers over 723 AB's vs. Kasey' career numbers over 1569 AB's:
- Liefer - .232 Average 30 HR 105 RBI .693 OPS
- Blake - .254 Average 58 HR 193 RBI .753 OPS
- Jeff Liefer, in about half of the AB's of Kasey Blake, averages out pretty comparitively. Plus, Liefer's a year younger. So what does this tell us, that Jeff Liefer is the answer in RF? Certainly not, but neither is Kasey.
- So where do we go with the position players for 2006, namely RF, 1B, and possibly 2B and LF? Forget about 3B, Boone needs 500 AB's to vest his 2006 option, and he's over 300.
- The way that I see it, I would target a run-producing RF and a more consistent 2B in the offseason. Let Belliard, Broussard, Hernandez and Bard go. Let Ryan Garko take over at 1B (with a contingency plan), allow Jake Gatreau and Blake to play infield utility (I know that we would lack a back-up SS, maybe Ramon Vazquez). Get a C who can actually hit to give the Stick an occasional night off (or at least an Eddie Perez type). And, if it's possible I would look for a LF, only if he's an upgrade over Coco.
- On the pitching staff, I would sign Millwood (now, if he'll entertain offers) for about 3-4 years at $9-$10 million a year. That way, you pencil Millwood, Lee, Westbrook, C.C. (I hope), and Davis (or whomever) into the rotation. Elarton pitched his way out of Cleveland the past two months. I would try to sign Wickman again and let some of the young arms in Buffalo meld with some holdovers and some new arms to form the pen.
- Can you tell what I think about in bed when a Tribe game is going on? And don't tell me to take a nap so I can stay up. It's not a good scene when you come home from work, have dinner with the wife, then take a nap, only to wake up when she's going to bed. That formula is not in the marriage handbook for success.
This crucial 10 game set (which goes through the Yankees series) can still finish at 6-4, but the Seattle series has to be pretty one-sided (in the Indians favor, of course).
Matsafooey Yamamori, of the Hank Yu Braves - on top of the wall...and OUT!