Monday, April 14, 2008


Fortunate enough to sit behind home plate for the Indians opener against the Red Sox, my brother and I enjoyed 8 innings of marvelous baseball at Progressive Field (or was it Fenway Park with all of those Boston fans drowning out Cleveland cheers all night)…you notice I said 8 innings.

One of the perks of sitting as close as we were (really, the best seats I’ve ever been in) was being privy to the exchange of banter between the scouts behind home plate, just to the left of us, checking their JUGS guns and charting pitches throughout the game. I mention this because, as the 9th inning dawned and Brodzoski (The Close) began his warm-up pitches to the “Rocky” theme music, both of our eyes were fixed on the scout with the JUGS behind home plate to see if we could get an indication as to where JoeBo’s velocity was.

After he threw his final warm-up pitch, the scout turned to the rest down the aisle and said (obvious to even the amateur lip-reader), “Seventy-Nine”, dropped his head and shook it.

My brother and I exchanged glances and looked to the Progressive Field radar reading for Borowski’s first offering to Julio Lugo – 81 MPH. I immediately said to him (and this is no lie), “at least we’ll have Grady leading off the bottom of the 9th”.

The ball struck Lugo’s bat and you know the rest of this story.

This one’s going to hurt for a while.


Learning to Swim said...

My boyfriend is an old school Red Sox fan, and while things are not always smooth sailing, we generally get through the season with very few mishaps. That's even with the regular play against them. We dealt with last October in the best fashion we could. I cried in the bathroom of a sportsbar (oh yes, I cried and it's not just because I'm a girl, I take this game way too seriously, even my dad is amazed and he raised me), and he felt guilt for a moment.

But tonight, when he said that his favorite Cleveland pitcher was Brodzoski(The Close) during the 8th , I glared. When he said hell yeah when Lugo got on base (after reaming him all night) and then comparing Bro. to Foulke and Manny homered, well, tonight things got ugly.

What is really a shame though out of all of this is that ole Jakey had a pretty good outing.

In lieu of the result, I believe the highlight of the game came from the bitter resentment in Orel Hershiser's voice when discussing Timlin's 4 Rings. Wait. What?

t-bone said...

Wheels in motion for a trip to the DL already...

Borowski has blown two saves in a row, and is so concerned about a loss in velocity that he's going to have his arm examined.

"I'm grasping at straws. I think we're going to get it checked. Maybe it's nothing, maybe it is. It's driving me crazy, too," he said.

Halifax said...

Paging Jeff Stevens . . . will Jeff Stevens please report to the manager's office.

Eric Wedge has to be tiring of this act. It's to the point where anyone is better than . . .

Paul, can you please pull up that wonderful segment from some vast archive. We should reminisce in honor of "the close" of an era. Funny, I'm thinking that the author of that fine piece of literature almost had to be none other than (was it?) Miss Teen North Carolina, founder of the infamous "the Iraq" and the poor people of South Africa who have no maps . . .

Speaking of which, someone might make one available to The Close, he may need it to find his new team.

Anonymous said...

BRODZOSKI is having his arm checked? What in the world will they look for?.... Bright side of this?...I beleive we have seen the last of him...I really do...

Les Savy Ferd said...

the frustrating part has to be the quality of ball the Indians played all game long. sure, they probably could have mustered a few runs along the way, but so could've the Sox and unless my math is abysmal, all you need is a one run lead to win.

Its even more frustrating when you have a guy like Papelbon, theatrics and all, who comes in and even before the first pitch I just knew that nobody was going to be able to touch his stuff. not this night, not after what just happened.

Sure enough, everyone walks up and then sits right back down, i was even surprised when Pronk (and yes, I do believe Pronk is returning) pounded that last offering deep into center-field.

Because I'd rather have a guy with a goofy stare and tons of confidence than a guy just has no stuff. I have this theory that Papelbon's theatrics are used as much to set hitters just slightly off their game (if I were walking up to bat i want to pound the ball right back into his cocky face--a reaction I'm sure lots of hitters have and enough of a change in attitude to effect standard operating performance) as to help him forget what kind of situation he's in. Its easy to forget you're up by just a run when you are concentrating on being something of a imposing jester.

man, we're only 2 games up on the Tigers and they have been TERRIBLE.


James said...

That was a winnable game on a few different levels. The thing that kills me is that Delucci can't move out there in left field. Did anyone else notice him limping after Big Papi's pop-up with two outs? Even Michaels would have caught that thing. Why is Delucci still on this team?!

C.C. Ya Later said...

Thank you for pointing out the make-up of the fans at the Stadium Formally Know As Jacobs Field. I was certain I heard the crowd roaring after Manny's home run.

What a shame we can’t fill our stadium with our fans. I attended a game last year at Yankee Stadium (without traveling to New York!). Unfortunately the start of this season is only going to add to the “here we go again” sentiment that I’m sure is already circulating around Cleveland.

I live two hours from Cleveland and would LOVE to have season tickets, but four hours of travel make it impossible. Sad as it is, I’ve even considered moving to Mentor to solve this problem.

Why can’t we fill our stadium with our fans?

Halifax said...

Assuming he IS injured, and he's terrible whether he is or not, who are the best options?

• Betancourt -- Threw too many innings last year, really only has one pitch (pinpointed fastball) plus his oft-hanging curve.

• Julio -- He's done it before, throws hard, but has JoBo syndrome, often walking too many when it matters most. You just can't do that in the ninth.

• Kobyashi -- He's the unknown. He's got ok stuff, an average fastball with a supposedly good slider. Plus, he's got the knowhow, although he's adjusting to the majors.

• Perez -- Probably the best stuff of the bunch with that nasty slider/curve whatever it is, it bites! Now if he could just harness it. A little unsettling what he's done in his most recent body of work, but has mixed results in pressure situations.

• Lewis -- Medium fastball, some secondary pitches but none seem all that effective. His herky-jerky motion seems to be his best attribute.

• Jeff Stevens -- The closer from down under (not Australia, Buffalo) who closed for the USA a little bit in international competition and closed out the Cubans. What do I know about him? He came as the PTBN in the Phillips deal and was at the Tribe stop I saw. Seems like a nice enough guy . . .

Fact is, none of these guys is better than the rest as an option to close. I never liked Betancourt in the ninth, Perez has been spotty at best, Lewis should not be an option, Masa and Julio maybe. Stevens is a complete unknown quantity in the majors but he is over 25. If JoBo does go on the DL I'm bringing up Stevens to at least get his feet wet in the majors and hope you strike gold. Go bullpen by committee until someone stands out. Play the best matchups and see where it goes. What this does is screw up the rotation from back to front, which is realistically the only thing JoBo brought to the table. At least everyone else was where they needed to be. But it wasn't really working anyway, so let's have at it. This has some ugly undertones of the bully from 2006, but let's hope for the best.

csusi said...

i read this article this morning about how borowski's fastball is barely hitting 81.
wedge's comment, "ill probably have a talk with him, and we'll go from there".
what are you talking about dipshit. pull him out of the closer role. good freaking grief.
i know he gave up that homer to chump change youkilis, but watching bettancourt mow down ortiz and manny in the 7th was domination. GET HIM IN THERE WEDGIIIIEEEEE!!!!! what are we waiting on.

Paul Cousineau said...

It was an extremely dissapointing night as the Indians did have mulitple chances to win it, Dellucci (and Blake) seemed drastically out of position in the 9th, and the Red Sox fans were EVERYWHERE.

Watching Papelbon mow (and Good God, did he) down the Tribe to audible roars with each out had me absolutely stewing, if I wasn't already.
It was a pretty sad display from Tribe "fans".

On JoeBo:
I think we all knew this was coming at some point this season with him being replaced. It happening in mid-April, though, is a mild surprise.
I think that Halifax's synopsis is dead-on. I suppose I'd like to see Senor Slo-Mo get the first shot at it (though I have the same reservations as you about him closing).

I'd LIKE to see it shake out like this to begin with:
Betancourt slides into the 9th.
Perez and Lewis take the 8th, depending upon who's coming up (LH or RH).
Kobayashi and Julio take the 6th and 7th.
Breslow remains the LOOGY.
Mastny takes over the long role after his promotion.

What I think WILL happen is about that, with Lewis and Kobayashi being flip-flopped by Wedge as he goes with "experience" over "potential", whether that be right or wrong.

I think it's still a little early for Stevens, particularly because we're basically going to be slotting everyone back and whomever gets called up (because JoeBo is DL-bound whether something shows up on an MRI or not) is just really filling the role of the long man and won't get regular work...hopefully.

By the way, the Brodzoski (The Close) thing can be found by doing a quick search for Yo, was from mid-March of this year.

Steve said...

From reading Wedge's comments in their entirety, ("entirety" being defined as what was printed in the AP article), I think a decision has already been made. Look for Borowski to go on the DL in the next day or two, most likely to never return.

Steve said...

Sorry, Paul. My post was being written as yours was posted. I didn't mean to sound like "Mr. Sir Echo". :D

csusi said...

ill be waiting for it. cause im retired from baseball until he's gone. i just cant take anymore of him.

csusi said...

in response to james' comment up top a bit about delucci. i said this early on when we, myself included, were denying the possibility of losing cc. that we needed to use cc as bait to get a big bat in left field. those days could be gone if cc doesnt turn things around.

Halifax said...

The trade avenue is always a possibility, just not usually in mid-April. Then again, who's out there?

Do you make an overwhelming run at age 33 Joe Nathan? But at this stage are the Twins thinking they can compete, do they want to send him to Cleveland, and at what cost in prospects to obtain his services for about $30 million over the next four years? All answers lead to high improbabilities on that one.

It would be hard to send some combination of talent to the division rival Twins, who pretty much announced rebuilding by jettisoning Santana, because you'd hate to see them come back to bite you later.

The truth is, any combination of Laffey, Sowers, Brown, Francisco, Miller, Marte, Crowe and even Cabrera and Barfield will not actually be "missed" by the Indians because they don't use their talent anyway. The sheer numbers point to some of those prospects panning out but it's doubtful any will be of significant impact. Cabrera is a great shortstop, but Tribe brass is in love with Peralta so why not move Cabrera if it helps better the team?

The Indians are at a crossroads here, because CC is gone after this year and some important players have contracts that are up in the next two or three. While the window isn't necessarily closing, the opening is getting smaller. The fact is the Tribe has no conceivable closer in their system that will magically materialize over that time frame, so something needs to be addressed.

I'd push to get Nathan, giving the Twins a nice package of talent while trying to hold on to our meaningful arms. That probably says goodbye to Cabrera, but he's being wasted at second anyway. My preference would be to move something like Francisco (or Gutz), Crowe (or Brown) and Marte and toss in Stevens and/or Mastny.

It's a lot to give but Nathan has the track record and is currently 4 for 4 in saves with a 0.00 ERA. What does that do for our bullpen?

Sorry for the length.

Paul Cousineau said...

As per ESPN:
CLEVELAND -- Indians closer Joe Borowski has been placed on the 15-day disabled list after blowing a save and giving up a two-run homer in the ninth inning to Boston's Manny Ramirez in a 6-4 loss to the Red Sox.

The club said Tuesday that Borowski, who led the AL with 45 saves last season, has a strained triceps. He had been puzzled and frustrated by a significant loss in his velocity.

The club recalled right-hander Tom Mastny from Triple-A Buffalo.

With Borowski out, Indians manager Eric Wedge will likely turn to Rafael Betancourt as his new closer. Betancourt was one of baseball's top set-up men last season. He had three saves last season and has 12 career saves.

Will he ever return?
Only if his velocity can beat the guy throwing the ball at the Speed Pitch for Shell Gasoline in the 7th inning.

I can't see that a trade is in the offing yet.
The Twins aren't going to trade Joe Nathan (though he would solve the problem) so soon after giving him a deal, and teams aren't exactly throwing in the towel and trading established closers (or LF for that matter) with less than 15 games played.

Cy Slapnicka said...

i want to understand how someone that jacked can lose that much velocity. strained triceps is obviously a fake injury.

halifax, you are insane. trading asdrubal?

the red sox hat has turned into the new yankee hat. whenever i see someone wearing it, i immediately think they are an ass and want to ask them where they are from to prove my point. i predict it will be this summer's flipped up collar, based how frequently i see it and the levels of my early spring hatred for it.

Steve said...

I'm not a big "Fantasy Ball" guy, but this analysis looks pretty solid:

csusi said...

cy, its funny you mention that about the red sox hat. i went to the airport this morning and saw a guy wearing a sox hat and without a pause had the urge to punch him. punch him hard to. the borowski blown save had alot to do with it. but, still.

later j-bo.

Halifax said...

Paul & Cy,

Some might say I am insane, and for sure am Trader Lane's long-lost offspring somehow, but I certainly realize that no trade is forthcoming in the near future, just wishful thinking.

As far as Asdrubal is concerned, until management gets over their love affair with J-Honny, Asdrubal has far more value to the Indians as someone else's shortstop. His value to the Tribe at second is merely biding his time waiting to play short. Quite honestly, I feel that there's very little difference between Cabrera and Barfield at second. If we are all going to look at Cabrera's LAST season and ignore the start to this one, can we go back and compare Barfield's first major league season to Asdrubal's?

Do I think Cabrera will be a good major leaguer? Yes. Great shortstop? Maybe. But I also think Barfield will be a good major leaguer as well, especially after the adjustments he's been working on. But until the powers that be put these two in tandem up the middle I feel we're wasting Cabrera's value.

Just a thought in ways to maximize value vs. club need.

Paul Cousineau said...

The kids (probably college-aged) in front of us in Red Sox gear (head to toe) were cheering in the 8th inning because their cell phone told them that the "Cubs were winning too!"
Fans of the Red Sox AND Cubs living in, will they be excited when Kobe wins MVP, too?

I think, with the way Marte's being handled, that Peralta will slide over to 3B next year and Asdrubal will be the SS. Assuming that Barfield finds himself in Buffalo, there's 3/4 of your 2009 infield.

Halifax said...

It'll be an improvement at two spots, too. Barfield is currently hitting .295 at Buffalo after 11 games.

Do you think they can just trail Marte along and he'll eventually blossom? or someone will want him in a trade? The best thing that could happen there is for him to get an opportunity via injury (nope, not wishing), but in all actuality, Blake probably won't perform a whole lot better than he would. Then he could at least get comfortable and you KNOW he's no good (or maybe he is?).

Cy Slapnicka said...

you mean cubs "fans", proper punctuation must be used when discussing cubs fans. based on my experience, most of them exist b/c they moved to chicago in their early 20's and decided to start rooting for the cubs b/c it is the thing to do when you've moved from somewhere in the midwest to the near north side of chicago. maybe they abandoned their real baseball team from their upbringing or maybe they don't even like baseball...either way, i have no respect for most of them and fear the day the cubs win the world series and i live in boston east.

Rockdawg said...

RIDDLE: What do you get when you combine Manny Ramirez with an 83 MPH pitch up in the zone with almost no movement?

ANSWER: The end of a career (or at least, let's freaking hope so)

Rockdawg said...

A couple other notes from the game....Hershiser is awesome...he mentioned everone that wore an Indians jersey from 1995-2000 twice.

I'll also be comforted knowing that, for at least the next 15 days, I won't to watch The Close french kiss his palm any more...What is that move? I understand licking the fingers a little bit, but he licks that palm as if he had just been given his first ice cream cone.. SSSLLLLLLLLPPPPP. Man I hate that guy.

john patsy said...

As an expatriated Tribe fan stuck in the Washington/Baltimore area, I have two observations. First, Red Sox fans dominate Camden Yards when their team visits the Orioles, and have supplanted Yankees fans as the group of fans most hated by the few dozen remaining Orioles fans. I never imagined such a thing could happen, but I attribute it to a combination of arrogance and being still in denial over the fact that the team ends up spending about as much money on players as NY. Thus, Sox fans suffer from some misplaced sense of moral superiority which ignores the reality that when their team sees a weakness, it simply "buys" a player or players to remedy it. My second observation comes from watching Jorge Julio try for several years to close games for the Orioles: YOU DO NOT WANT JULIO IN THE CLOSER'S ROLE FOR THE TRIBE. If Sloppy Joe has broken our hearts too often, his misdeeds will pale in comparison with the damage that Julio can do. He has a great arm but not the head to close games. Leave him in a non-pressured situation for an inning, and resist the temptation to give him more responsibility.

Cy Slapnicka said...

what amazes me about red sox fans, is i never, ever meet people from boston. i understand that due to the fact that i know many people that lived in the NY/NJ area and they are "america's team", i will come to know and see many yankees fans...and many of them even are real fans. however, i can't think of anyone i know from boston, hell from new england even. i've lived in many places and with many people displaced from other parts of the country. i never come across real fans from new england. and i think thats why when lieutenant commander joanne galloway asks my why i hate them so much, i channel the rage of my inner lieutenant weinberg.

peter said...

As another Tribe fan in the Balto-Washington area, I second the no Julio notion. He's terrible, and was run out of Baltimore for it. I'm not sold on Rafi Right as closer either--remember, they tried that 2 years ago and it was horrid, and they moved him back to the 8th inning and he was fine. Granted, that was a while ago, and he's probably earned another chance, but....

Really, what I liked about Joe Blow was that he wasn't the best pitcher on the team, allowing Wedge to more closely follow the oft-derided Bill James theory of have your best pitcher come in when the game is actually on the line, which, more often that not, is the 7th or 8th inning. Worked very well last year when the Rafi's could come in, face the heart of the opposing team's order, and, quite literally, set up Joe Blow for a save.

Of course, watching tonight's game, no one is laying claim to the closer's role....