Monday, April 10, 2006

Jake, Twinkies, and Turtle

Jake Westbrook outpitched Johan Santana to complete the Tribe’s sweep of the Twins. Westbrook has now defeated Santana and Freddy Garcia in his first two starts, and has looked good doing it. Yesterday was one of those games that Westbrook finds his rhythm early and just cruises, with very few pitches and in very short time.

The Indians won a game yesterday that they probably wouldn’t have last year (6 games in and the overconfidence is apparent), as they came up short in the 1st, but rallied to get 3 off of Santana and Silva. Then Westbrook and the bullpen made it stand up.

It’s a good feeling to start off 5-1 against the two teams that most pundits picked to finish near the top of the AL Central.

Looking at the Twins, their pitching is obviously their strength, but unless one of two things happens with their offense, this year will be a repeat of last year’s dismal offensive output.
The first thing that could happen would be the Twins’ youngsters stepping up in terms of production and leadership on offense. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau would be the main players to whom this scenario applies, as both have monster talent that hasn’t yet translated to a true “breakout” year. Both were solid last year, but are capable of much more. For some reason, both scare me to death when they stride to the plate; but usually don’t do much. That could change this season, which would be bad news for the Friends of the Feather.
The second possibility would be the Twins’ veteran acquisitions (Rondell White, Tony Batista, Ruben Sierra) recapturing their old numbers. The chances for this, to me, would be slim and none. And after watching White and Batista this weekend and knowing that Sierra is in Extended Spring Training, “slim” may be marooned somewhere in Southern Minnesota. Even Luis Castillo, who was thought to be the big acquisition in Minneapolis, didn’t do too much to stand out over the weekend.

The Twins’ offense scares nobody and they didn’t really improve much from last year, when there was palpable tension between the pitchers and position players. Think about a football locker room after a team loses 7-6 and the defense says things like “don’t ask us why we lost, ask them” and motions towards the offensive players. Nothing splits a locker room like one component of the team not holding up their end of the bargain, particularly when the Twins’ pitching staff is so good.

Just like in the off-season, the Indians are ranked #1 in the ESPN Power Rankings.
The key, though, is to be #1 at the end of the season, not the beginning.

With a nod to the CIR, Swerbs Blurbs, and T-to-the-Bizzone, the new organizational depth chart is up for 2006.

The MLB Extra Innings Package Free Preview suckered me in, and then some guy named Darrien convinced me to add 12 HBO channels for $10 a month.

Upside – Every MLB game I care to watch with “Entourage” (which could be the greatest thing on TV and has new season starting in June) and “The Sopranos” to boot.
Downside – Missing the outdoors this summer.

7 comments:

T-Bone said...

you got the extra innings?!?!? you're my hero.

Pat Tabler said...

After saying all weekend how great it was, the bride says to me, "Quit talking about it. I just assumed that you've already ordered it."

I was on the phone 30 seconds later.

T-Bone said...

whenever you get kicked out of the house, i have a second bedroom.

T-Bone said...

FAUSTO

Pat Tabler said...

I'm more excited for Fausto's start than any I can remember in the past few years.
I actually double-checked what time the game is on Saturday (1:05) to make sure I'll see it.

Also, haven't read anything about it, but Coco's injured thumb is keeping him out for 3-5 weeks. That means he won't make any trips to the Jake this year as Boston only comes to town once at the end of April.

Sorry, Coco fans, but you may not see your hero until next year (or the playoffs?.
That SHOULD give them enough time to recover from the trade.

fwembt said...

I can get STO without the Extra Innings... I miss seeing all those games tho. The compulsion to watch an LAD game that is going to the 4th inning and see how many people are still arriving is hard to shake.

Rockdawg said...

The Knicks may be the worst basketball team in history, as they lost to the Cavs minus LeBron on National Television. Even though the Cavs won a squeaker, it was very apparent how many holes this team has...If Lebron doesn't win MVP, while leading THIS team to a record that's 17 games over .500, something's wrong.

This bulpen is the opposite of last year right now. Suarbeck, Cabrera, and Betencourt (now off the juice), and Graves are pitching terrible. I hope we didn't all underestimate the departure of Rhodes, Riske, and Howry.

Let's get off the schnide tonight against Seattle.