Sunday, June 03, 2007

Boobie Sunday

Please allow me to get something off of my chest:

Behind the young man who may be Robin to LeBron’s Batman, the Cavs rode the hot hand of a man called Boobie to set up this moment that was only a dream on that night when the ping pong balls bounced the Cavs’ way.
On to San Antoine to see if the Cavs can continue their roll through the playoffs on the substantial shoulders of our King.

Meanwhile, across the plaza (which looked like this), the Indians fell victim to the law of averages (and another effort by Cliff Lee to head to Buffalo) and finally lost to the Tigers.

This despite Grady Sizemore not only going retro in his uniform, but in his stirrups as he took that next step to look like a baseball player in 1977.
I hope this becomes a new look for SuperSizemore, but it’s unlikely.

Without dwelling on the only negative thing that happened last night, let’s take a Lazy Sunday:

No sooner had the word “negative” appeared in the intro, does Sheldon Ocker throw some cold water on everybody who’s feeling pretty good about the Indians these days. Let’s see, according to the Bitterman, the Indians have given up on Marte and are unlikely to have Casey Blake on the roster next year.

Does anyone ever wonder if Ocker actually goes to these games or really “talks to scouts”? His write-up of the heart pounding victory on Friday is laughable in that it focused ONLY on the negatives. I was at the game, and sure there were negatives, but if the ABJ ever wonders why their circulation is down, they need to go no further than this dreadful “recap” of what my brother described as “the most exciting game at the Jake in 10 years”.

It is almost a weekly desire stated here, but please…PLEASE, ABJ – take Ocker off of the Tribe beat and promote Stephanie Storm, who covers the Akron Aeros so well.

Here’s the weekly Brad Lidge trade talk, as well as the weekly Rangers’ fire sale talk.

Jim Ingraham finally addresses the elephant in the room regarding Cliff Lee in print. While it’s been discussed here (and dissected very well in the comments section by new serial poster Halifax), Ingraham is the first newspaperman to put it in print that Cliff Lee has just as much of a chance to vacate the rotation as Jeremy Sowers does when Jake Westbrook returns from his rehab stint.

While Westbrook certainly didn’t impress in his first rehab start (1 1/3 IP, 4 ER 7 H, 1 BB), Lee is making it a two-horse race to be sent to Buffalo as he still retains two options.

Consider the numbers in their last 3 starts:
18 2/3 IP, 12 ER, 5.78 ERA, 1.28 WHIP

13 2/3, 16 ER, 13.66 ERA, 2.16 WHIP

While Sowers certainly hasn’t evoked those comparisons to a young Tom Glavine recently, Cliff Lee has performed significantly worse. Sowers at least has moments of being in control and has been victimized by poor relief pitching after him (CaBBrera), while Lee continually walks the tightrope and taxes the Tribe bullpen because of his short starts.

Each will probably get one more start (not counting Sowers this afternoon), but it will be interesting to see which direction the Indians decide to go and if, by chance, Lee becomes trade bait to shore up a beleaguered bullpen (which I promise to dissect at some point this week).

Not to just throw something against the wall (OK, maybe just to throw something against the wall), but would San Diego be willing to part with a piece (or pieces)of their magnificent bullpen (Scott Linebrink or Heath Bell perhaps) to see if Lee’s fly ball tendencies play out well in Petco?

Or maybe the Dodgers (with Jonathon Broxton or Joe Biemel) to get Mark Hendrickson or Brett Tomko out of their rotation and see if Chavez Ravine is kind to Five and (F)Lee?

The Indians will have to part with a valuable piece to shore up their bullpen at some point this season. And Brian Slocum and Ben Francisco aren’t bringing Akinori Otsuka, so the question needs to be thrown out there – is Cliff Lee that piece?

He has a track record of winning (ugly, yes…but still winning), with a fairly reasonable contract ($2.75M in 2007, $3.75M in 2008, $5.75M in 2009, club option for $8M in 2010) that runs for quite a while. So, he is an attractive commodity to other teams. But, are the Indians confident in their current stable of pitchers and their arms just below the surface (Atom Miller, Chas Lofgren, etc.) to trade Lee to shore up the back end of their bullpen?

It can certainly be argued (and has been, by me) that solid starting pitching is a commodity too valuable to trade, particularly for a team in contention. But, if Lee no longer falls under that “solid” category, and is on a downward spiral that will result in him either eventually being moved to the bullpen or falling out of favor in the organization altogether, isn’t it time to at least explore those options, when a 28-year-old pitcher with 51 career wins has some trade value?

Today’s start by Sowers and the next starts by the two LHP will go a long way to determine how this all plays out, but don’t be too surprised if that arm that we all assumed at the beginning of the season to be Paul Byrd to shore up the bullpen becomes Cliff Lee.

Still a great chance for the Tribe to take 3 of 4 from the Motor City Kitties today, as Bonderman has struggled since coming off of the DL.
It’s time to go all LeBron and put that foot on the Tigers’ throat and announce the Central as Indian Territory once more.

Finally, the most poignant moment of the night – LeBron searches out Z, the only player remaining from LBJ’s 1st practice with the Cavs who has endured some hard times in a Cavs uni, to give him this bear hug at center court.Cleveland is rising, enjoy the ascent.


Anonymous said...

Is there any beat writer in America besides Jim Ingraham who would refer to Roberto Hernandez's trademark earned run per appearance as "obligatory?" I love you, Jim.

There's little question in my mind that we have two, possibly three, starters in Buffalo that could outpitch Lee and Sowers right now. The question is, can they do it all season? If yes...welcome back to Cleveland, Jason Stanford and Brian "The Barber" Slocum. Before we get up in arms about that, let's remember that they're both guys who the Yankees would publicly defame Derek Jeter to get.

Sowers looks mechanically off. Mental approach, whatever...he's THROWING THE BALL TOO HIGH. That seems fixable, which merits a trip to Buffalo. Lee, on the other hand, looks like a reliever making spot starts. Hint, hint.

t-bone said...

Rizzo just ended his show today (Monday) with this email I sent in. Didnt read it verbatim, but got all the necessary key parts in, down to and including the "weeeeeeeee" and "woooooooooo"...

Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2007 08:28:27 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Saturday

I watched at the Clevelander, got there around 6pm, tried to get up to you while you were on air but couldn't break through the mass of testosterone that was surrounding you. Reghi coming in, shades on, with said mass of testosterone chanting his name was hilarious.

Fast forward to towards the end of the game. After the final buzzer sounded, my buddy and I immediately bolted to Prospect on the east side of the arena where both the plaza crowd and the arena crowds were spilling out. We were both down at college in Dayton from '95-'99 for the Tribe's runs and were a little too young to know these occasions don't come around often during the Browns' Super Bowl runs, so we were determined to make the most of this.

I believe we set the world record for most high fives in one hour to complete strangers, and I'm hoping my voice recovers by Thursday due to the hybrid Rizzo "weeeeeeeeeee" and Ric Flair "wooooooooooooooo" I was screaming. The scene was amazing, traffic stopped, people everywhere and hanging out of windows and sunroofs, and people being so well behaved that the only thing the mounted police had to do was clear paths for parking garages to get out, as the mass of humanity stopped any chance of "traffic" for large periods of time. It was a night I'll never forget.

Tim in Westlake

t-bone said...

sidebar: oft-mentioned DiaTriber Dozer was my partner in crime for the festivities.

Baltimoran said...

simmons goes after ROGER BROWN in his latest blog entry, that's brown of the news herald...good stuff

t-bone said...

yeah, that was great stuff. a) i didnt know mr. brown found other employement, and b) unfortunately, roger brown has his day as he's mentioned in one of the most-read sports columnists out there.

t-bone said...

This is very refreshing to see. Hope it sends a message to ownership...

Cy Slapnicka said...

gotta love roger brown getting hammered by simmons. i just wish he knew more about roger's stellar work so he could rip him more effectively.