Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tomahawks Down the Stretch

With an off day (finally) after a 7-3 road trip that I would dub a little more than mildly successful, let’s catch up on some Tomahawks and let ‘em fly:

Is there any doubt left that Jenny Lewis (wasn’t that the girl in the first season of Survivor) is the 4th reliever the Indians were waiting to emerge from the pool of Lewis, Mastny, Fultz, and the Bisons’ reinforcements?

He’s now sitting on a 2.91 ERA with 24 K to only 8 BB in 21 2/3 innings of work, and while his WHIP of 1.43 looks a little too high, he is easing very nicely into the 6th inning (when needed) role with a 1.69 ERA in 4 appearances in September with a much more impressive WHIP of 0.94 in those 4 starts.

If the Indians are content to ride the hot hand in terms of bullpen effectiveness, Lewis has certainly established himself as a viable option in a game when the Indians are holding onto a lead and a reliever above and beyond the Big 3 is needed.

Serial commenter Cy Slapnicka attended Tuesday’s game at The Cell (where he obviously almost got into a few fights with the South Side’s finest) and took some pictures of Tribe players, all while wearing his new “Rally Pie” shirt, which he’ll tell you all about in the captions of the slideshow here.

Is it too early to anoint Asdrubal as the best Middle Infielder on the Indians?
Yes, Jhonny Peralta remains a presence (despite the perpetual moaning about his lack of range and his recurring inability to hit a breaking pitch down and away), and Cabrera has all of 107 career AB, but Cabrera’s performance at the plate (and his approach from both sides of the plate) bode well for the future of the young Venezuelan.

Truthfully, his much-ballyhooed glove hasn’t shown the sparkle that I expected (though it has been tremendously solid at a brand new position and he turns the DP as fast as anyone this side of Jelly Belliard), but if his Modus Operandi in the minors was a great glove with spotty hitting, he’s already surpassed most people’s expectations as he’s riding an 11-game hitting streak.

Oh, and he also has an OPS of 1.078 from the 7th to the 9th inning, with 1 of his 4 HR and 4 of his 16 RBI coming in those three frames, so he certainly doesn’t wilt under the heat of the spotlight.

Answer honestly who you’d rather see up in a clutch run-producing situation with the game in the balance at the end of the game right now – Peralta or Cabrera?
Yeah, me too.

Is anyone else completely thrown off by TBS moving the “Seinfeld” re-runs from 6 PM and 6:30 PM to 5:30 PM? Not sure who, exactly, wants an hour and a half of “Everybody Loves Raymond” everyday, but they don’t live in my house.

TBS’ airing of “The Office” on Tuesday nights from 10 PM to 11 PM is a small consolation, and a must-DVR hour nonetheless, and the just concluded season of “My Boys” was entertaining, but I don’t know what I’m going to do without Jerry and George eating dinner with the DiaTribers.
What do you mean, talk about my day?

OK, the announcement trumpeting the Return of Pronk may have been a little premature as he seems to be back to swinging and missing at pitches that he would have NEVER swung at last year and having a lot of AB’s end with him sticking the bat out to meekly ground out to the 2B or Short Outfielder…I mean SS.

Maybe the shift has gotten inside his head and he’s trying too hard to go the other way instead of smashing laser beams right at it, infield alignment be damned. Whatever the case may be, that “locked-in” Hafner that we saw up in Minnesota appears to have been more of a mirage than an actual oasis in the desert at this point of the season.

Bought my Playoff Tickets yesterday, with the Indians (thankfully) changing their policy of Season Ticket holders having to buy ALL of the possible playoff games (which was the policy in 2005) to allowing them to pick a few games in each series (the new policy).

While the idea of a “refund” remains foreign (you simply get a credit on your account for subsequent years for any games that you have tickets for that don’t happen), at least I don’t have to commit an outrageous sum of money for tickets to ALL of the games.

To illustrate how refreshing this is, in 2005, under the old policy, buying all of the tickets for the playoffs (of which, obviously, none were used) would have given me enough “credit” on my account to pay for THREE years of Season Tix. Thank God I didn’t go for that. Conversely, this year, the amount of tickets that I bought (if NONE of the games happen) doesn’t even equal the total of my 2008 Season Ticket Plan.

Huzzah for the Tribe for realizing the short-sightedness of the old policy and remedying the problem. I’m going to be like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”, excitedly checking the mailbox every day for his decoder ring until those tickets are in my hands.

In case you didn’t notice, The Scarecrow and Senor Slo-Mo now lead all AL relievers (who are not closers) in ERA with Perez at the top of the heap at 1.44 and Betancourt right behind him at 1.57. Considering that the names around them include Putz, Papelbon, Okajima, and Nathan, consider the 7th and 8th inning stalwarts of the Tribe among the best around.

Some tremendously funny Tribe-related PhotoShop pictures, created by Tribe fan Chester Banaszak (who goes by the Carnegie and Ontario handle in the blogosphere) can be seen here.

Finally, in case you’re keeping track at home, the Indians would have to go 6-10 over their last 16 AND the Tigers would have to go 11-4 over their last 15 for the AL Central to come into question.

No lead ever feels big enough and anything can happen, but those are some settling numbers to help you sleep at night.

Get down to the Jake this weekend to support YOUR first place Cleveland Indians and pick me up a Pronk WWE bobblehead (I can’t make it on Saturday) while you’re at it.


Christopher said...

The Tribe box office has really been more accommodating to season ticket holders, not just through the post-season policy, but also through the trade-in dates.

Whereas in seasons past, ticket holders who couldn't go to a game had to wait until the date passed in order to trade them in for one of twenty "trade in games", they seem to have become more liberal in their policies towards the end of the season. I was able to trade in my tickets for an upcoming game that I know I'll miss (the Wednesday day game vs. Tigers, rats) for any of the remaining home games.

Basically, I'm saying that if you or your friends go to many Tribe games and you don't get some sort of season ticket package, you're a sucker.

Voltaire said...

Wonderful piece by Pluto in the Plain Dealer today.

t-bone said...

Ha, at lunch today I just turned in unused tickets for Saturday, Tuesday and next Friday! LET'S DO THIS!!!