Friday, May 12, 2006

Here's the Problem...

According the published reports and Mark Shapiro’s press conference, changes are coming – in the bullpen, at least. Apparently, Shapiro has read Terry Pluto’s article and maybe something somewhere else (yeah, right), but changes will be made when Rocky Betancourt comes off of the DL.

Shapiro singled out C.C. (who has made essentially 2 starts), Cliff Lee, and Wickman as the only people really pitching well (no arument here). He said that rotation changes are not imminent, but the bullpen will see some new faces and new roles. So, what does that mean?

Let’s read between the lines:
Wedge has said the Mota would move to middle relief to get more consistent work (though I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up on the DL with all of the control problems he’s had). So let’s figure that he’s moving to the 6th, and maybe the 7th inning.

Wedge has said that “we feel strong about the young arms in our bullpen”, presumably referring to F-Cab, Jason Dangerously and, to a lesser degree, Jeremy Guthrie.

So, who’s missing here? Graves and Sauerbeck! It’s about time. The Indians are going to make changes to the obvious problems in the bullpen.

I knew that there was a reason that Shapiro got the big bucks.

On the Graves front, he’ll probably be designated for assignment and replaced by Steve Karsay, who has pitched well in Buffalo recently. Karsay would slot into the 7th inning role with Cabrera and Davis, while Betancourt would move into the 8th inning role upon his return. Let’s all hope that Rocky’s success in prior years had nothing to do with something that others mistook for simple “flaxseed oil”.

The Tribe’s signing of Felix Heredia and, more rececntly Vic Darensbourg, show that Sauerbeck may not be long for the Jake. While Rafael Perez (who’s on the 40-man roster, opposed to the 2 veterans who are not) may be the first option if Sauerbeck is moved out. Again, no arguments here as this year has shown that experience doesn’t mean anything if you simpy CANNOT GET AN OUT.

My guess would be that Shapiro will try a number of arms (all from within the organization) to figure out how the 2006 bullpen will be constructed. Pitchers on the 40 man roster will all get the first look, whether it be Fausto Carmona coming out of the bullpen while auditioning for the rotation, Brian Slocum or Andrew Brown coming up from Buffalo, or Edward Mujica or Tony Sipp making the trip up I-77.

Let's hope it doesn't take another 40 games to come up with a solution, like it did to diagnose the problem.

Honestly, though, it really doesn’t matter who’s in the bullpen (I know that there’s no confidence in any of the guys) if Wedge doesn’t know when to pull them out.

I think that’s what they call the old Catch-22. Don’t want to take the obviously gassed starters out (before they get shelled) for an incompetent reliever (who is guaranteed to get shelled).

Another loss tonight to make it 4 straight. When I wrote that it was nice to have C.C. back, I didn’t mean I wanted to win ONLY when he started games.

C.C. is facing Bonderman, who the Tribe got 8 runs off of in 3+ innings earlier in the year, so it’s time for the aCCe to to put a stop to a losing streak.

Finally, prized Philadelphia Phillies’ pitching prospect Cole Hamels made his much ballyhooed debut tonight (he went 5 scoreless innings with 7 K’s), but it inspired a list of Cole Hamels’ accomplishments, strangely reminiscient of what Chuck Norris is capable of.

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