Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lazy C.C. Sunday

After having lost two straight in Anaheim…I mean Los Angeles…let’s just say Orange County, the Tribe needed a victory on Saturday night to stop the Halos’ momentum and put a halt to the tiny slide (of course, coinciding with a resurgent Tigers’ team) that they suddenly found themselves on.

They needed a player to take control, they needed a player to put the team on his back, they needed a leader to step up and say, “I’m not going to let this tailspin continue and I’m going to single-handedly win a game for this team”.

They needed their ace – capable of twirling a virtuoso performance from the mound, keeping the pesky Angel hitters at bay, saving the bullpen, allowing the offense enough time to figure out Ervin Santana after two nights of facing the best Orange County had to offer in Escobar and Lackey.

Enter (stage right) the Hefty Lefty.
All the Crooked Cap did was throw a complete game 5-hitter with just 103 pitches, letting up 1 run, and allowing the Tribe to have a chance to go for the split tonight on the network that has become a 4-letter word in some parts.

Take into account that Howie Kendrick was using him for target practice (hitting him with come-backers twice in the game, causing Sabathia to vehemently wave off the trainers and just get more locked in) and that he was so utterly in command that the Angels never even really mounted a serious threat, and the maturation of C.C. – that “final step” that, prior to this year, was always in question – is unquestionably complete.

He is the best pitcher I’ve ever seen in an Indians uniform (I’m 30, so hold off on the Bob Feller comments) and has established himself as a selfless leader on this club. Earlier this season he was quoted as saying that the Indians were going to win the division (remember this is when the Indians were, shall we say, taking their good old time scoring runs) and that anyone in the clubhouse who didn’t believe that shouldn’t be there.
Since that time he’s backed it up.

But he hasn’t stopped there, continuing to put the team ahead of his individual accomplishments. As reader R.M. Jennings quoted in the comments section, C.C.’s thoughts on winning 20 games or the Cy Young, “I don't think about that. If I can just stay healthy and help this team get a ring, that's all that matters.”

Not impressed by the Big Fella’s perspective in that quote?
How’s this comment about the drought of 20-game and Cy Young Award winners in Cleveland, “We haven't won a World Series in about 50-something years. That's a longer drought than any of those other two. So that's all I'm going to hear about, honestly.”

I don’t care if contracts or guaranteed years or purported greed are going to cloud some people’s perception of C.C. in the next 18 months, C.C. Sabathia is the best player on this Indians team and the biggest reason that the Indians have a legitimate shot to go deep into the playoffs.

He’s a fearless ace, a pitcher who wants the ball in a big game, a player not scared by pressure situations or the spotlight. He’s something that we haven’t had in Cleveland, on a winning team in about 50 years.
Choose your weapon as the playoffs start.
Give me my aCCe, and I like my chances.

With that love letter completed, let’s take a quick look at a Lazy Sunday:
Terry Pluto (thank God he’s at the PD and brings some sanity to those pages) reflects on the effectiveness versus the efficiency of the Big Borowski as well as providing some of his regular insightful, well-thought out comments.

By the way, I thought that the Pluto hiring would mean less of Bill Livingston and Bud Shaw, yet the Brothers Grimm continue to bring their stormy disposition (not to mention horrible writing) to my front porch. I suppose that’s on me as much as anyone for continuing to subscribe, but can I get an Estimated Departure Date for the Brothers Grimm? Please?

Paul Hoynes rips off and dumbs down my “Promoting From Within” a few days later, although I guess he throws in a Shapiro quote. Actually the best thing from the Hoynes column is that Bert Blyleven thinks that Frank the Tank reminds him of a “thinner Juan Gonzalez”. Keep…blind optimism…in check.
Just keep those hamstrings intact, Gutz.

Stephanie Storm’s blog on the Aeros continues to entertain and keep the ABJ relevant in the wake of Pluto’s trek up north.

Finally, a nice piece on everybody’s favorite fan, John Adams, in today’s New York Times.

Tribe’s on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball tonight.
Try not to get too upset at the ignorance of Joe Morgan, his lack of knowledge about the Indians and stubbornness to discuss anything relevant or say anything rational. Actually, when you’ve had enough of him, pause the game and visit the brilliant Fire Joe Morgan website for some laughs (please note, parental discretion advised).

Oh yeah, and there’s something else happening this afternoon on the North Coast that’s going on that will cause me to break out my Chris Spielman jersey…um, William Green jersey…um, generic Browns gear with no mention of any player past or present.

Enjoy a nice, long Lazy Sunday and cheer the Browns and Tribe onto victories!


Ryan said...

They just have to sign him.

Voltaire said...

Don't call it that.


Cy Slapnicka said...

I love that it only took 2 innings to be treated to A-rod clips while the Indians were batting b/c they had nothing intelligent to say.

Paul Cousineau said...

Nice win by the Tribe to split.
But I can't figure out how they won a game between the Angels and Yankees.

t-bone said... Gammons [Print without images]

Saturday, September 8, 2007
Farmhands a factor in races

Look at Cleveland's lead over Detroit, then think about how they got where they are this weekend. Two-fifths of their opening day rotation -- 18-game winner Cliff Lee and Jeremy Sowers, who was second in the American League in ERA in the second half of last season -- ended up in Buffalo. So did Andy Marte. Josh Barfield didn't hit the way everyone thought, Trot Nixon and Dave Dellucci have been hurt and both Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore haven't approached their 2006 levels.

The Indians made one trade, for Kenny Lofton, using Max Ramirez, whom they got out of the Seattle organization last summer for Ben Broussard. Then, at different points of the season, they reached into their farm system for Fausto Carmona, Franklin Gutierrez, Rafael Perez, Ben Francisco, Jensen Lewis, Aaron Laffey and Asdrubal Cabrera. Carmona has been one of the league's premium starters (twice beating Johan Santana), Perez has been one of the best left-handed relievers (his .316 OPS against lefties going into the weekend is the best in the majors), Gutierrez is a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder with power and Cabrera has been an impact second baseman, hitting .300 with John McDonald hands.

Not that the Tigers didn't try to do the same thing, but Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin had too little experience at the Double-A level to impact the race. So, when the Indians had built a five-game lead on Sept. 8, the difference was simply their organization.

While we spent the first four months of the 2007 season talking about the trade deadline, it's been the farm systems that have transformed the American League races. The Angels have used their ever-productive system to rebuild without needing to having to trade assets for veterans, so Jeff Mathis and Howie Kendrick, Kendry Morales and Reggie Willits and Joe Saunders have all taken turns keeping them steered towards the World Series as Garrett Anderson got healthy and they wait to see if Bartolo Colon can make a comeback. If someone had suggested that Colon would miss most of the year, Chone Figgins would be out for two months, Franciso Rodriguez's second-half ERA would be well over 4.00 and that Scot Shields would be throwing simulated games in September and Juan Rivera wouldn't return until there were five weeks left in the season and they'd be in the passing lane, you'd have thought him nuts.

Boston went out and traded for Eric Gagne, who struggled with his command and his shoulder, and yet maintained its lead -- and the best run differential in the game -- because Dustin Pedroia developed into the best rookie in the league, Jacoby Ellsbury rejuvenated them and just when they needed pitching the most, Clay Buchholz shot into prominence and Jon Lester stepped into the rotation; Buchholz and Lester are a combined 7-0. And with Melky Cabrera changing the outfield energy and defense, the Yankees went into the stretch with Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes in prominent roles on the pitching staff, not to mention the power and joy Shelley Duncan infused; Chamberlain has not allowed a run in his first 11 appearances covering 14 1/3 innings, while Kennedy has surrendered just two runs in each of his first two starts.

"Player development has been the story of the American League races," says one GM. "I've felt better about this season at this point than I did in 2004 because of what the players that have come out of the organization have done," says Theo Epstein.

So, too, have the organizational players impacted the National League races. Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo in Milwaukee, Carlos Marmol with the Cubs. As soon as Rick Ankiel arrived in St. Louis, the Cardinals turned around, even with half their team hurt. Where would the Phillies be without Kyle Kendrick, the Braves without Yunel Escobar, then look at the West where the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Rockies have rebuilt on the fly with some of the best young players -- Justin Upton, Chris Young, Matt Kemp, Russ Martin, Troy Tulowitzki and James Loney -- in either league.

"I think that when the Yankees and Red Sox turned to their young players and found they could win with them that it will change this winter's free-agent market," says Brewer GM Doug Melvin, who runs one of the game's best organizations. "I don't think it will be as crazy as in the past because of what New York and Boston have done." As well as the Mets, who said no on the Barry Zito price.

The long-term problem is that because the commissioner's office has so bungled the attempted rigging of draft bonuses, the rich can afford to overrun the smaller makets as well as those owners who pledge allegiance to Bud Selig's strong-arm tactics. Instead of negotiating some type of slotting system, the commissioner's office tried to institute one on its own, this year trying to force a 10 percent rollback in bonuses. Kansas City wanted pitcher Rick Porcello, but he went 27th to a Detroit team that will spend and doesn't care about Selig's phone calls. "Twenty-two teams went along with the marching orders, but eight went above slot and thus the commissioner's office has bungled the purpose of the draft," says one GM. "If Greg Oden and Kevin Durant were in the baseball draft," says another GM, "they'd be with the Yankees and Red Sox. If the NBA ran its draft like baseball, Oden and Durant would be with the Knicks and Lakers, and one of them would be playing with Lebron James in one of those two markets." No wonder Pittsburgh hasn't had a winning record since Barry Bonds left."

t-bone said...

Here's someone calling for a CC Cy Young...

Cy Slapnicka said...

If A-rod did what Grady did in the 4th and 5th inning, he would be anointed as the second coming. That was just ridiculous. After he scored in the 5th I sat there thinking about how happy I am he is signed through 2012.

Baltimoran said...

i can't believe gammons made a mistake in that article (max ramirex in the broussard trade)...still better than anyone else at espn

people making fun of the browns has died down after lunch...they are ruining my life...i don't ever want to see Frye take a snap for the browns in my life

Paul Cousineau said...

Among Joe Morgan's comments last night:
- Jorge Posada is having the best year of any C (regardless of how his numbers stack up with Victor's)
- The Indians should extend C.C.'s contract, and can't figure out why they haven't already (despite Gammons' explanation of Free Agency and mid-to-small market teams)
- A-Rod turns water into wine
- Jered Weaver is probably the best 3rd starter in the AL (while giving up 6 runs over 5 innings)
- A-Rod is capable of multiplying fish and loaves
- The Angels should make their post-season plans (with an 8 game lead) while the Indians better hope to hold on (to a 6 game lead)
- Steroid users should be protected by the union so nobody's rights are compromised
- A-Rod walks on water
- He loves to play tennis

Did I miss anything?
I did pause the game and switch to The Tony Romo Show, specifically so I could watch 3 innings on fast-forward on DVR and wouldn't be exposed to Jon Miller's pronunciation of Az-dru-BALL's first name.

It's laughable that those two "experts" are the ESPN lead team for Sunday Night Baseball.
Just laughable.

t-bone said...

Looks like Paul Byrd has something in common with Terry Pluto...

t-bone said...

For you out of towners, Browns flagship WTAM 1100 reporting Frye traded. Also, Dorsey is back in Berea.

Voltaire said...

Check out this link: AL Cy Young favorites

Check out the TWO Indians they list in the honorable mention section. That's right, TWO Indians. C.C. they list as a favorite, by the way. So honorable mention? Well, Fausto, but then who?

That's right.

I swear, some baseball fans are complete morons. Like Tom Singer.