Friday, August 04, 2006

Finding the Silver Lining

It’s true that the Red Sox series will be remembered for 2 walk-off wins for Boston, and thus will be thought of as a failure or simply as the Undoing of Fausto Carmona, or that tonight’s Detroit game will be remembered as further proof that Fernando Cabrera V. 2006.0 is an inferior product to Fernando Cabrera V. 2005.0.

That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth, due to the fact that the Indians are two horrific 9th innings away from a 4-game sweep against Boston, one of the assumed playoff front-runners for the AL and a F-Cab meatball away from taking Game 1 from the 1927 Yankees…I mean the Tigers.

What Went Right:
The hitters logged quality AB’s.
Pronk returned to his Pronkesque form to prove that he’s one of the elite (not just good) hitters in the ML (not just the AL).
There were hits with runners in scoring position.
The offense just kept coming back.
The starters put the Tribe in a position to win the games.
In the occurrence that one of them struggled (Byrd); the middle relief picked him up.
C.C. acted like an ace, playing his role as the stopper of losing streaks.

What Went Wrong:
The bullpen remains a work in progress with Carmona imploding like he did on Monday and Wednesday and Cabrera showing that, while the stuff is there, the killer instinct is not.

Despite Carmona’s and Cabrera’s troubles, Jason Davis and Rafael Betancourt have both looked good.
And guess what, these games are exactly what the Indians need to see for the rest of the season to figure out how these arms are going to slot into the 2007 bullpen.

Is it possible that JD uses Thursday’s save (his first career save) as a building block to see that he went through Ortiz and Manny in the 9th inning of a 1-run game in Fenway and has the talent and stuff to be a huge factor in the bullpen.

Remember that JD was thought to be the “Closer of the Future” before he passed that mantle to Cabrera, then Carmona. Could the torch be passed back to a more mature, still-as-nasty stuff Davis? When JD is throwing his fastball for strikes, hitters sit on it making his slider absolutely filthy.

Could it be that his confidence and maturity just needed to catch up to his unquestionable talent? That’s what we’ll find out over the next 2 months.

By the way, if I’m the Atomic Wedgie I bring Carmona in for some low-stress situations to remind him that he can get anybody out at any time and build that confidence back up.

I’d also mention something about not trying to throw 200MPH, regardless of the situation.
Maybe I’d mention it in passing, but I’d make it come up.

If that means that Davis becomes your de facto closer for the time being, so be it.
Let’s see if he has hidden Jason Dangerously for good.
Maybe he can re-invent himself as The Taxidermist coming out of the bullpen because…well…


R.M. Jennings said...

From what I can tell from the Rockies-Giants game, it looks like Jose Mesa for some reason did not plunk Omar Vizquel in the eighth inning, even with first base open. This marks the first time since Vizquel has been with the Giants (I believe) that Mesa has not taken the opportunity to bean him.

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