Second Job For Tribe Manager Eric Wedge, Holding Back Horses?
Cleveland Indians Manager Eric Wedge could find work driving harness races. In fact, I thought that was him holding back the second half of my daily double a few seasons back. Sunday, he sat Casey Blake who owns a 12 game hitting streak and does very well against right-handers. Saturday night when lefty Cliff Lee lost control of the game, Wedge replaced him with another left-hander (Perez) with the Tigers hot-hitting righties on an offensive roll. During the critical10 games with Detroit and Boston, he sat his #1 RBI guy and switch hitter Victor Martinez and again, Casey Blake, the day after Casey was named American League Player of the Week. What was a well rested pitching staff has truly gone through hell over the last 20 games/20 days in a row. But the starters had trouble getting past the 5th inning and the bullpen, facing the two best hitting teams in baseball, continued the collapse being saved Friday night by a miracle comeback-comeback-comeback! Playing the best of the best, why not play your top talent? Even though the bullpen was weary, why replace a lefty getting shelled with a another lefty vs. the hottest hitting group of right-handed hitters in baseball Saturday night? What does Casey Blake have to do to stay in the line-up? Do we have another "Marte project" (let's hope not) in Franklin Gutierrez?
Once again, the team was very successful over the last 10 games vs. Detroit and Boston with a 6-4 record. We are 2.5 games in first place on June 4th. 3 out of our 5 starting pitchers go deep into the games and give this potent offense an opportunity to win every game. The bullpen has been successful with the top closer in baseball and some strong performances by the likes of Betancourt and Mastny.
The team is having fun. No one comes into a clutch situation looser than Ryan Garko. This guy is having the time of his life as he continues to bat in the top 10 of the American League and play good defense. The game-winning pies in the face are evidence of these guys playing well together and enjoying it.
I like Eric Wedge and I want him to be very successful. However, spring training is over and so should be the experiments. To win the American League championship will take a "Play To Win" attitude everyday.
Let your horses loose, they are chomping at the bit!