With the Tribe-Red Sox series wrapping up in the Tribe’s favor (with the bride and I braving the cold for the first 2 games of the series), the Tomahawks are flying with highlights, lowlights, and wing sauce on a baseball.
- The Red Sox fans are getting close to Yankees fans in obnoxiousness and quantity at games at the Jake. There’s no way there’s that many transplanted New Englanders on the North Coast. As my brother and I sat in the Batter’s Eye Bar on Tuesday, it was shocking how many people walked by in Sawx gear. Not shocking…sickening.
- Is Cliff Lee the stopper of the pitching staff? He looked great on Wednesday, attacking the Red Sox lineup that go to Westbrook on Tuesday. His starts have been pretty consistent, particularly compared to Paul Byrd’s 3, 4, and 5 inning outings.
- Speaking of Byrd and Westbrook, who will separate C.C. and Lee as the righty between the lefties when C.C. is ready to go next week in Oakland? Honestly, Jason Johnson has been the most consistent starter this season outside of C.P. Lee.
- Consider Matt Miller’s spot in the bullpen filled by Jason Davis, who pitched 2 strong innings on Wednesday. Maybe Jason Dangerously has finally harnessed that electric stuff with a controlled wind-up and a consistent delivery. If so, when Cabrera comes back, it allows JD to pitch in the 6th and 7th inning role with Cabrera until Betancourt comes back. When Rocky comes back, the bullpen should sort itself out.
- The one thing that BETTER sort itself out soon is the release of Gas Can Graves. When he came into the game on Tuesday (after the Mota-Manny debacle), we seriously discussed leaving the game because the emergence of Graves from the ‘pen is the equivalent of Wedgie throwing the towel into the ring from the corner. Every time I see that mullett come out of the CF bullpen, it's like watching Apollo go down in Rocky IV. You know it's over.
- The aforementioned Mota-Manny debacle, to me, falls squarely in the lap of Scotty Sauerbeck. His one-pitch HR to Ortiz forced Wedge to go to Mota earlier than expected and forced Mota to go fully through the order over 2 innings. For a pitcher who hadn’t gone in a while and is unaccustomed to going 2 innings, it’s just asking too much.
- Last note on the bullpen, when did Jeremy Guthrie start throwing 96 MPH? Has he suddenly morphed into a dominant reliever? If he’s figured out how to pitch out of the bullpen this quickly and can be successful, it will only help to settle the determination of bullpen roles
- One more note on the bullpen, though not the Indians’. Sitting next to the Red Sox bullpen, I saw Julian Tavarez stretching and keeping warm, which brought on a spirited conversation about his old bw-3 commercial (“You remember that, man? That was like 10 years ago.”), learned that he lives in Broadview Heights year-round (“You know where 82 is? I live right off of 82.), then listened to the guy in front of me talk to Tavarez in Spanish (likely making fun of me). Also got to see Schilling and Varitek warm up and Jonathon Papelbon and his new haircut. Best line of the night, “How’s you cut your hair rook? Veg-O-Matic?”
- The Revenge of the Killer B’s continued tonight, with Ben Broussard going 4 for 5 with 8 RBI and Casey Blake still hitting over .350. How much longer will Casey stay in the 9-hole if he keeps hitting like this?
- I know that the offense CERTAINLY isn’t the problem, but Jason Michaels doesn’t look well-suited to bat second. Whether it’s the adjustment to the AL or whether Michaels is better suited to be a platoon player remains to be seen. But, at this point, Michaels (who went 0-3 with 3 K’s) looks overmatched.
- With the 15-3 victory tonight, the Indians keep on track of winning 2 out of every 3 at home. Maybe this will bring the swagger back to this team that's been missing since the second Orioles' game.
- Finally, here’s a great piece on Travis Hafner by Ken Rosenthal, which touches on the on-deck circle routine. The fact that he doesn’t answer to Travis, only Pronk, is reminiscent of the Elaine character on the “Jerry” pilot not responding to her real name in make-up. Classically, Jerry deadpans, “Try Elaine”, to which she responds.
Here's what I have to say to those Red Sox folks at the Jake the past 2 nights: “You like apples? We just won 2 of 3 from your boys. How do you like ‘dem apples?”