Sunday, May 15, 2005

Little by Little

Tough loss today for the Crooked Cap and the Tribe as they ran into a buzzsaw in Roy Halladay. Though it would be nice to rip off 10-12 in a row and get right into the thick of things in the Central, let's be a little more realistic. A VERY good sign is that the Indians have won 3 of their last 4 series, most against playoff caliber teams (MIN, LAA) while the team seems to be hitting its stride.

Interesting that the players getting hot and carrying this team recently are Coco, Sizemore, Jhonny, and Broussard. With the exception of Broussard (who has 2 years 33 days in the majors), all have less than 2 years ML experience. With the young guns seemingly adjusted to pitching, all we need is for The Stick and Pronk to find their strokes and we'll be rolling. The interesting thing is that these young guys seem to have said, "well, the veterans haven't exactly shown us the way, let's figure it out for ourselves."

The lineup is still in flux and the White Sox are still steamrolling through the AL, but my confidence is much higher than it was after the KC series.

With a work trip to Chicago this week in the works (where I will catch a White Sox game at the Cell on Tuesday, accompanied by a work associate from Minneapolis, who happened to coach Joe Mauer in Little League - so I should be up on our Central rivals), I thought that I should do a little comparison of players signed by the Tribe in the off-season, compared to players on their radar, who signed elsewhere. I've narrowed it down to a starter (Millwood), a closer (Wickman), and an outfield bat (should be Gonzalez, but I'll compare Sizemore and Ludwick to the FA crop, as they're the ones who have benefited from the Hamstring from Hell). Also, I'll take a look at Vizquel vs. Peralta. I won't get into your boy A. Boone.

Millwood 1-3 3.54 1.30 .313
Clement 4-0 3.06 1.40 .338
Lieber 5-2 3.31 1.18 .291

So, what does this tell us? Other than that the Tribe brass targeted the right FA pitchers, Millwood and his salary represent the best bargain. While both Clement and Lieber would be nice in the rotation, not a bad call by Shapiro.

Wickman 11 3.77 1.26 .310
Benitez 4 5.79 1.61 .366
Percival 3 3.65 1.14 .308
Hermanson 8 0.00 0.76 .222

Given that Benitez and Percival are both on the DL, not a bad call to take the Sticky One. Even though the appearances are wet and wild, hyperventilating seems to help him with the last 3 outs of the game.

Sizemore .269 3 14 .724
Ludwick 200 3 4 .774
Alou .271 3 12 .865
Burnitz .287 6 21 .848

This is a tough one to call, though who really expected Juan Gone to play this year. Keep in mind that Grady is 22 and plays center field like he's covering a kick-off. Giving Sizemore at-bats is a plus for the maturation of this club. I could take or leave Ludwick.

Player BA HR RBI OPS Fielding
Peralta .268 5 10 .886 .950
Omar .283 0 14 .748 .983

Keep the Thome Rule in mind here (broken down early with a long-term contract) and I like the way that Jhonny has settled into the lineup. Omar was and is a great player, but Peralta still is only 22 years old, so I'll take the Honey P.

Call me the Eternal Optimist, but I think that the Tribe made some good choices. Sure there are better ones out there, or else they wouldn't be 10 games back in mid-May, but we have to be patient. Victor and Pronk haven't yet hit their strides and Boone HAS to start hitting (doesn't he?)

I'll see you in Comiskey on Tuesday night. I'll be the one encouraging the shirtless drunk onto the field.


Cy Slapnicka said...

am i the only one that is amazed by wickman's WHIP? it seems every time i see the brown bagger pitching, the bases are juiced.

as for your comparisons, i think it helps clarify that the team we have is decent and better than their record.

at the end of the day, everyone was fired up about this team. all the talking heads across the country liked them. cold bats and the losing has cooled all that off. i still have faith that these players will win. its not very often you see an entire lineup not hit. we've lost 12 games by 2 runs or less and a total of 14 runs. if we win half of those we are in second place and 4 games back. overall, there have been 21 games deciced by 2 runs or less (a total of 27 runs). we've won 9 of them. hopefully the bats come around for the duration and Elarton challenges Boone to a game of 33 (we need to come up with a fake charity to organize this and hope for the expected results).

i for one am still optomistic. maybe we don't contend this season, but i think happy thoughts when i think about what the future holds for the tribe and browns. i think about Pronk and The Stick setting off that siren to warm cold nights in october. i think aboue Bono Brousard and Coco coming up with a song to rival "Bernie, Bernie" in Cleveland lore. i think about Frye tossing TDs to Edwards and KWII and them having a high five that is cooler than Slaughter's and Langhorne's was...about our new DB's from Oklahoma earning nicknames like Mighty Mini and Top Dog.

While everyone can take comfort in their whoa is me attitude about KWII and cold bats and "Butch the Draft Butcher" (copyright pending), I am just glad things appear to be back on track. I'll still be disappointed with sub .500 baseball and the beating the browns will take this year. I'm disappointed in the recent performance of my 401k too, but I keep contributing. I will enjoy Hamilton shortening our collective life expectancy. I will enjoy the hell out of "Run Braylon! RUN!" as Jimbo Donovan has me leaping from the couch. And I will wait patiently.

Fuck you Bill Simmons, fuck you I say!

Anonymous said...

Good analysis PC, i don't think there is anyone who can fault shapiro with his cash constaints.

If we can hold on to this win tonight with your boy earlton pitching...we should be within 5 games by early June

have fun in the cinder block, don't get shot if you ride the swyt and i almost did

Cy Slapnicka said...

god bless hot bats and hot pants.