Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tomahawkin' from the Top

Rather than subscribe to the belief that losing a series in Boston means that the Tribe can’t hang with the “big boys” of the AL, I’ll take the contrarian view that the Indians faced the Red Sox best 3 starters (while their best two didn’t see the mound), won the game that their best pitcher in the series started (anyone who wants to join Paul’s Byrdies can see the sidebar for membership info), and had a chance to win each of the first two games in the 9th inning.

At last count, the Tribe went 4-2 against the other 2 best teams in the AL on the road.
I’ll take that every day of the week and twice on Saturday.

Does the series expose some flaws? Sure, but we knew that Grady strikes out a lot and that the platoon of Dellucci and Michaels is not exactly setting the league ablaze.

But, let’s take the series for what it was – a difficult series that didn’t set itself up well (pitching match up-wise) for the Indians against a team that is very likely to be in the playoffs.

With that little confidence boost, let’s release some tomahawks:
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Has anyone heard that Ryan Garko chokes up on his bat with 2 strikes and changes “his approach” to make contact? I JUST heard that. Fascinating stuff.
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It’s time for Lonnie Soloff to come over to Fernando CaBBrera’s locker (which HAS to be Jason Dangerously’s old locker the way that Ferd is pitching) and say, “It looks like that heel injury from last year is flaring up.”
It should be said not a question. It should be a statement.

CaBBrera needs to figure out how he went from a magnificently effective reliever (1.50 ERA in April) to the second coming of Gas Can Graves (11.57 ERA in May). At this point, there’s no way that the Atomic Wedgie can use CaBBrera in a game of any importance (how he was allowed in Tuesday night’s game is beyond me, especially with Sowers pitching reasonably well), so it’s time for Fernando to take a 15-day DL stint, followed by some rehab assignments to get his mechanics back. I don’t care what puts him on the DL (or what the team reports); just get him some help out of the spotlight of a MLB game.
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On the flip side, can we please see more of Raffy Perez? In 5 IP, the kid has 6 K’s and 1 BB, which garners some consideration as the anti-CaBBrera. Realizing, of course, that 5 IP does not a career make, he’s been vicious against LHP (no hits, walks, etc.) and pretty effective against RHP (.690 OPS against).

With Hernandez (please, make it stop), CaBBrera, and Koplove taking up spots in the bullpen, what’s the harm in seeing if Perez can stick as the 2nd LHP out of the bullpen?

While we’re at it, how about giving Hernandez a spot on the coaching staff and call up someone with a chance of being useful – like recalling Eddie Mujica and actually pitching him?
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Has anyone else noticed that STO has a problem coming out of the “Update Desk”, generally coming back with the pitch en route to the batter or with the first pitch having already happened?

Not a big deal. Just annoying.
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Anyone hear during the telecast that Coco Crisp isn’t talking to the Boston media? Add his name to those cuddly characters Milton Bradley and Brandon Phillips as former Indians who have a much higher opinion of themselves than anyone has of them.

Seriously, do you think that the Boston media comes into the locker room dying for a quote from Crisp, only to be regularly crushed when they realize that he’s not talking to them?
How in the world do they finish and article without the words and wisdom of Covelli?
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The pronounced splits for the Tribe OF platoon members were expected, but how about this:
Against LHP
Dellucci - .150 AVG / .190 OBP / .250 SLG / .440 OPS
Nixon - .225 AVG / .283 OBP / .300 SLG / .583 OPS

Against RHP
Dellucci - .248 AVG / .314 OBP / .394 SLG / .709 OPS
Nixon - .294 AVG / .376 OBP / .412 SLG / .788 OPS
How is either of those guys even seeing LHP?

And, surprisingly, the player who has the better numbers (almost against both) is everyone’s favorite whipping boy, Jason Michaels:
Against LHP
Michaels - .279 AVG / .295 OBP / .442 SLG / .737 OPS

Against RHP
Michaels - .265 AVG / .339 OBP / .388 SLG / .727 OPS

There’s no way, with Shoppach and Michaels on the bench that Dellucci or Nixon should see a LHP…ever. Accept each player for what he is, a LH bat incapable of hitting LHP. Allowing either Dellucci or Nixon to hit against LHP at any point during the remainder of the season is irresponsible.
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And what, exactly was wrong with giving Andy Marte some AB’s against LHP to move Blake to RF and give him some looks at some ML pitchers? Fully understanding the rationale of giving the Indians some bullpen depth for the Boston series in case of a 2 inning outing from Lee or Sowers, the seemingly insignificant move has larger ramifications.

The Indians have now used Marte’s last option, meaning that he will go into the 2008 season out of options. And for what? For Mike Koplove to be in the bullpen for the series? For a team so aware of players’ options and service time, it certainly came as a bit of a surprise.

As it looks right now, though, Marte figures to be in Buffalo until later in the season.
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Does the Red Sox pitchers’ effectiveness against the Tribe for most of the series have anything to do with former Tribe front office cog John Farrell being the pitching coach for the Red Sox? You have to think that Farrell has intimate knowledge of all of the Indian hitters and had a pretty good game plan for pitching to those players.

Handing a well-thought-out game plan to the likes of Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett makes good pitchers great.
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Am I the only one cheering for the Devil Rays to beat the Tigers, but not because of the way that it would affect the AL Central race? The D-Rays and Yankees are tied at the bottom of the AL East and nothing would please me more than being able to cut the AL East standings out of the paper with the date attached.

That would be Tampa and their $24,123,500 payroll putting up the same record through nearly 1/3 of the season as the Yankees and their $189,639,045 payroll.
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The posting fee for Dice-K? $51.1M. The Tribe’s 2007 payroll? $61.1M.
Score one for the good guys.
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After a tremendous road trip that further established the Indians as a player in the AL, it’s back to Cleveland for a BIG series against the Motor City Kitties.

I’ll be heading down to the Jake for Thursday (until I can no longer take the fact that I am missing the Cavaliers’ systematic breakdown of the Pistons) and Friday, so I’ll do my part.

Time to lay the smack down on Detroit, from a couple different angles.

7 comments:

TheNaturalMevs said...

We got em' good tonight!

Cy Slapnicka said...

wow, didn't realize marte was out of options....

Cy Slapnicka said...

a few things i forgot to mention...
-gayrod and the spankees have reached new lows
-tom verducci has an excellent piece in SI this week for the "Scorecard" on juice and HGHiambi
-we are being treated to 2 nationally broadcast games against the spankees and red sox this weekend. two teams separated by 14 games...

TheNaturalMevs said...

Big series tonight for the Tribe against the Tigers. We can really space things out with another strong performance and demoralize these guys.

Go Cavs as well. If we win tonight, that series is over.

I'm looking forward to the Giambi piece as well.

rodells said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
t-bone said...

I'll take one of three @ Boston.

With Saturday, who wouldn't rather watch a first vs. last place AL east divisional matchup rather than a battle of central division leaders? Oh wait, THE WHOLE COUNTRY. I'm hoping the BoSox sweep them and pound that final nail in the coffin, and the Rocket contract will be all for naught.

Is anyone else playing the six Cavs theme songs on repeat or is it just me?

Tonight we're gonna take no prisoners.
This time we're gonna live our dream.
Tonight the wine and gold delivers.
Hard workin' town, hard workin' team.
Tonight the hardwood's burnin'
And the Cavs will keep on workin'
Get behind the wine and gold, with all your might!

Cavs basketball tonight's the night, oooooooooh, Cavs basketball tonight's the night!!! oooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh, Come on Cavs!

Cy Slapnicka said...

read simmons today. #4 made me laugh out loud when i realized halfway through where he was going. some very good other points along the way.