After last night's BRUTAL loss in the 9th (which proved that the victory on Tuesday with me in attendance was an aberration as I saw Giambi's homer come into my kitchen in the 9th), I could rant and rave about Millwood, Wickman, and Wedge. But I can't force myself to revisit the pain.
Not surprisingly, Terry Pluto's article sums up many of the emotions felt last night and this morning. Pluto always clearly articulates the emotions of Cleveland fans.
And we did take 2 of 3 from the Yankees in August, so let's not get greedy. It would've been great (I was chanting SWEEP, SWEEP up until the A-Rod moon shot), but I think that this team realizes now that they can play with any team at any time - a huge step for a young team. One can only hope that the swagger that they took into Boston and Baltimore in June is back for a very winnable stretch of the schedule.
The next three weeks schedule should be a cause for optimism as the Tribe has a chance to really make some ground up (assuming that the A's don't remain on this tear).
Breaking it down, the Indians have games against the following teams to end August (rankings in parentheses refer to ESPN's current power rankings, out of 30 teams):
Tampa Bay - 7 games (25/30)
Detroit - 6 games (23/30)
Kansas City - 3 games (30/30)
Baltimore - 3 games (18/30)
Texas - 3 games (16/30)
Toronto - 3 games (10/30)
For comparison's sake, the Tribe is ranked 9 out of the 30 ML teams.
What all of that means is that all but 3 of their next 25 games are against teams in the lower half of the league. This is the time of the schedule to put together a major run and put some pressure on the other teams fighting for the Wild Card. Maybe then, the fickle PD writers will decide if this team is good or bad, as opposed to taking a different view every day.
- Millwood and Riske's suspensions (though deserved) are made difficult by the fact that Hasegawa, the pitcher who started the beanings, only received a fine and no suspension. The reasoning by MLB is that K-Mill and Riske hit players after warnings had been issued. To me, that's just semantics, not a legitimate reason.
- The way that this lineup is set up now (with the streaky Broussard apparently getting hot) looks good for the stretch run. Did you ever think you would hear that? Seriously though, Peralta and Martinez stepped up in Pronk's absence and should only improve with the return of the big North Dakotan. The top 5 players in the lineup (Sizemore, Crisp, Peralta, Hafner, Martinez) should be written in ink for the next 4 years. With Boone and probably Belliard (assuming they pick up his option) coming back for next year, you have 7 of the 9 positions set for next year. The only holes are at 1B and RF. With that in mind, I'll get the available 2006 Free Agent List up this weekend.
- Great crowd at the Jake last night (40,000+), but it would've been even better if the Yankees fans didn't have the last laugh. I've come to a conclusion: There is no reasoning with a Yankees fan, because they lack the ability to be reasonable.
- Two great jerseys spotted last night - Rocker 49 & Torre 6. Who wears these out of the house? Wouldn't the whole "John Rocker released by the Long Island Ducks" thing prevent that jersey from making it out of the drawer? And who wears a manager's jersey? I mean, I've got a Charlie Manuel jersey, but that was because I lost a bet.
With the upcoming schedule, I feel like the Indians' next few weeks should be accompanied by the song "Something Tells Me I'm Into Something Good" that plays over the "Falling in Love" montage in Naked Gun (with the classic beach clothesline). Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but with our pitching and young hitters coming around - Confidence is High.