Thursday, September 08, 2005

HRD (Home Run Derby)

With the Tribe taking 4 in a row from the Tigers, it's amazing that the last 15 runs scored by the Tribe have all come on home runs. All of that with Jhon and Pronk in extended slumps. To show how prevalent the HR has become recently, Casey Blake knocked his 20th HR today!

Before Wednesday's game, The Architect (Shapiro) was on the radio with some interesting insight. The thing about Shapiro's comments is that you often have to read between the lines for his true meaning. The high points and some thoughts:

  • Shapiro said that SuperSizemore projected to eventually become a 25 to 30 HR guy, "once his power comes around". He also said that Grady will become the "prototypical #3 hitter". Let's think about this, Grady is having one of the most exciting seasons in recent Indians history, particularly for a 23 year old. Adding 25-30 HR power to what he's already shown may make Gammons sound prophetic when he said earlier in the season that the American League should write Grady's name in for CF in the All-Star Game for the next 10 years! Shapiro's other comment that Grady was the prototypical #3 hitter blew me away. Not in that it was a surprise, but let's do some math. How many current Indians are legitimate #3 or #4 hitters? I count 4 (SuperSizemore, Jhon, Pronk, and Tthe Stick) with another solid young hitter in Coco. I think that makes up 5 of the 9 batters in the lineup. With that kind of talent in the lineup for the next few years, other players (like Boone and Belliard) don't have to be spectacular, only solid. If they do, however, add one more big bat, we're on our way to watching an offensive juggernaut.

  • When asked about Sticky's future, Shapiro said that he'll first find out if Wickman wants to come back. If he does, the Indians will determine if Wickman fits into their plans. When asked about moving a young arm to the closer role, Shapiro firmly stated that the closer role is not one that he would entrust to a youngster. He went on to say that if Wickman did not return, there were some solid options already in the Tribe pen. Translation: Wickman is unlikely to return (either by his choice or the Tribe's choice) and Shapiro will keep someone that he's comfortable with (saw pitch this year) to close games effectively (Howry/Rhodes). He also said that the bullpen's success will be difficult to duplicate. But you have to think that there's only three guys eligible for FA (Wickman, Howry, Sauerbeck). If they bring back Howry and sign a situational lefty, there's Cabrera, Brown, Miller, Tadano, and possibly Davis battling for one spot.

  • Shapiro said that Peralta is going through an adjustment period as pitchers have now seen him and know what he's been successful against. It's now up to Peralta to adjust (as he has at every level to become a consistent presence in the lineup). Coincidentally, it was mentioned in today's PD that Peralta has been to the postseason for the past 5 years in the minors. Did someone say something about an environment of winning?

Enough of Shapiro-speak and analysis.

Today's PD also mentioned that with the Tribe likely to pick up Jelly Belliard's option, the only spot for Brandon Phillips next year (when he's out of options) is as a utility IF. Is anyone upset about this? I realize that B-Phil was the big name in the Colon deal, but if he doesn't work out (and it doesn't look like he's going to), are we upset? We only got an All Star LH starter and Stud CF in the deal. I have no problem cutting ties with Phillips this offseason and seeing if we can get something for him, while his stock may still be relatively high.

There's a good analysis of off-season questions, as well as how perceptions and realities change quickly in the analysis of players in Mistake by the Lake Sporting Times.

After a long weekend in Chicago (where I'll miss the Tribe, Buckeyes, and Browns - but will see a baptism), I'll analyze the holes for the 2006 season and the best way to fill them, pitting building from within against adding Free Agents.

On another Cleveland sports-related note, as if the Browns weren't up enough this season, here's more bad news.

Tampa Bay's up 2-0 in the 5th. If the D-Rays hold on, the Tribe moves into first place, all alone, for the Wild Card, with 22 left to play. The Tribe stands at 79-61 with a legitimate shot at 92-95 wins.


Baltimoran said...

if the yankees win in the ninth, i will curse myself to sleep tonight.

if anyone saw the mnf preview, the pats had ozzy ozbourne sing their intro of crazy train shortly after unveiling their 3rd banner in 4 years. great t.v., but it makes me want to punch all new england fans in the face out of jealousy...but the tribe and cavs give me hope

Cy Slapnicka said...

So my morning walk from the parking lot turned into disgust. I started thinking about going to a Tribe playoff game and how fun that would be to do (never got to go to one during the 90's). Not trying to jinx things here... Anyway, then I thought about having to sit there with 20,ooo real fans and 20,000 jerks that have made excuses all season on why they cannot/do not go. How mixed would my emotions be? Half of me would want to strangle all the fair weather fans and the other have would high five and chest bump anything with a pulse and a C cup...uhh...ignore that. Anyway, for those of you that kept up with Pluto's articles, the results amazed me. I just don't get it. One of the few times in my life I am at a loss for words.

Check that, another thing I've been thinking about is, do we really want to spend a lot of jack to fill what we all agree are our biggest offensive holes. 1B and RF? I have a hard time supporting Benny even though when he gets hot, he's dangerous. Overall his season has been too streaky for me. We all know Blake has been streaky as well, but Tom Hamilton put it perfectly yesterday. How nice is it to have your #9 hitter with 20 HRs. And really, we do not need an All Star at every position. Since June 1st he's batting .275 with 14 HRs and 32 RBI. Thats not too shabby. To put it in perspective, his counterpart Trot Nixon, the weakest Red Sox OF is hitting .266 5/24 in the same period. I know he was injured during that stretch, but the stats for the season are comparable to Blake's. And also, Casey appears to be proving his stats from 04 were not an aberition, but maybe close to the norm. We have a very solid lineup that got off to a slow start. With the maturing that has happened this year, I just don't see the same thing happening next year. Look at other lineups, I don't see many that strike me as that much better than ours. Yes, there are some better players, but 1 thru 9, we have a solid lineup. And just imagine the insanity if Garko plays 1B next year and lives up to expectations.

Given the choice between signing a power hitting OF or a stud pitcher (Millwood or someone else), I take the pitcher any day of the week. As much abuse as we've laid on Casey this year and as many times as I curse him, he is adequate. And I think the pitcher is more important to our success. **Note, this is all assuming Elarton and Howry sign.

Man, thinking about all this stuff is just making me giddy. I mean, seriously, how can Cleveland not be excited about this team. We are on the verge of something special here people. I just hope I have the opporunity to make a few trips up 71 this October. I have purposely avoided scheduling anything during the month just in case.

Cy Slapnicka said...

Absolutely amazing!!! Read this today in the Beacon Journal: "The third inning added to this incredible statistic: When Millwood loads the bases, opposing hitters are 0-for-16. When he puts runners on second and third, they are 2-for-15, and with a runner on third, rival batters are 3-for-20."

Baltimoran said...

i think you have to credit wedgie for the play of belliard and blake...blake even mentioned that wedge's faith in him has been the difference, and i don't think belly has ever been more vital to any of the teams he's played for before.

i agree with the monster, if possible, break the bank on millwood then let this lineup go to town

Rockdawg said...

This weekend is like one big sports orgy...I haven't had this much anticipation for a sports weekend in a LONG time...Think about it, US Open tennis (Agassi is still a god), OSU-Texas, Browns, Fantasy Football, and the Tribe is on the Duece on Sunday. It sets up for one HORRIBLE Monday morning if things don't turn out right. So far, however, we're on track, with the Yankees losing 9-3 in the ninth and Michigan losing to ND already.

At Tara Luskin's wedding last weekend, which was FULL of chowderheads, I was amazed at the lack of knowledge people had about the Tribe. Most of the Chowds had NO idea that the Indians were a half game back of the Yanks, and most could not name more than three players on the Tribe.

Baltimoran said...

those chowderheads can go pound salt

i can't wait to watch the tribe on t.v. tomorrow

elarton is the best #5 starter in the league...hands down

Cy Slapnicka said...

Is it just me or was it ridiculous how Morgan and Miller were acting like the Indians just started playing good a month ago? Hoefully this attention gets some fans going. Even though I don't consider them real fans, at least they'll get some butts in the seats.

on SI's website on the MLB page the headline was "Tribe Called Quest"! Gotta love that. Can I kick it?

Tailgating at OSU Saturday was unreal. It makes Browns games seem tame. At one point I was watering a fence and a girl was popping a squat right next to me and peeing. No shame whatsoever. I'd feel for her father but he was standing next to me taking a leak.

Cy Slapnicka said...

From Roger Brown's article today:
"In an interview in the latest Sports Business Journal, Browns President John Collins, a former NFL executive in New York, is asked which city has the tougher media - New York or Cleveland. Collins' response: "Philadelphia." Frankly, Collins' answer should embarrass Cleveland's sports media - though we suspect it won't one bit. It's a telling (if unintentional) indictment of how tame Cleveland's sports media tends to be."

t-bone said...

You havent been tailgating for Browns games with us then, Cy.

I missed the Ohio Sports Orgy as well, as i was in Carson City, Nevada from Thursday night on. My buddy Keith and I though bet on the Tribe in the sports book Friday and Saturday and bought a round for everyone with our $10 bet (won $24.50).