Tuesday, April 29, 2008
C.C. Sabathia was not pitching well since before October 5th, 2007. Just last week, the coaching staff of the Cleveland Indians discovered he had a problem with his windup, delivery, and his release. Since then, C.C. has had two outstanding pitching performances and he has returned to his "Ace" status. That's a long time to figure things out. The Indians are not going to just come out of their slump by themselves just as C.C. was not going to come out of his mechanical problems by himself.
So what are they waiting for with Travis Hafner? Travis, a fan favorite who is a tremendous talent, has been struggling since early last year. Currently, he has struck out 26 times in 96 at bats. That leads the Indians and is tie for 3rd in the American League. In his last two games, "Pronk" has struck out 3 times and 2 of those 3 were called third strikes. If Haf is having mechanical problems, analyze his swing and get him straight already!
But one thing that can be corrected immediately is this team's tendency to look at strike three. That needs to stop ASAP! In their last 2 games, the Indians have struck out 19 times and 8 of those strike outs have been lookers! In those 2 games, they lost by a total of 4 runs. What would a swing put on each strike three have produced? Who knows but the outcome would at least have had an opportunity to improve. ASAP the looking must stop and improvement, no matter how slight would be welcome!
Maybe we need legendary Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown to lay down the law, just like he did in the movie Major League...
"The next time you take a called third strike, you owe me 50 push ups!"
Sunday, April 27, 2008
But if you don't swing, you either walk, get called out on strikes, or get hit by the pitch.
Today the Cleveland Indians failed to score any runs in support of their ace, C.C. Sabathia.
No one wants to give up an easy out. Getting picked off 1st, making the first or last out of an inning going to 3rd, etc. But what about looking at pitches?
The Indians had 13 strikeouts today and almost half, 6 were called strike 3s.
Michaels and Cabrera struck out twice swinging.
Gutierrez was called out on strikes.
Hafner was called out on strikes.
Peralta struck out twice, once called out.
Blake struck out twice, once called out.
Garko struck out three times, twice called out.
The Indians are 5th highest in the American league in strike outs at 167. Of the 4 teams with more strike outs than the Indians, two are leading their division.
The point is, called strike outs are easy outs and should be addressed as an opportunity for this team.
We've one two out of three from the Yankees and both wins were very impressive. But you got to score to win and you got to swing to score.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
The advantages of replay were not available to sort out a couple of calls that went wrong.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Franklin Gutierrez came to the plate with runners on 1st and second and no outs. His mission was obvious, bunt the runners into scoring position. As he squared around to bunt, he made contact with the ball, the ball glanced off of the bat, hit Gutierrez in the left shin, and rolled into fair territory. He was thrown out at 1st and the job was done but in reality the runners should have been returned to 1st and 2nd with Gutierrez receiving a strike call on the play. The 4 umpires met to discuss the play and decided to let it stand. Casey Blake smashes a line drive to 3rd baseman Ensberg who beat Jhonny Peralta back to the bag for an inning-ending double play.
In the 8th inning, Victor Martinez was apparently forced out at second base but the replay showed that he apparently was not out. On a ground ball to shortstop Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano (now playing 2nd base) bobbled the ball from Jeter and failed to have control as Victor slid into the bag. Indians’ manager Eric Wedge was livid over the call, was tossed by umpire Derryl Cousins, and then proceeded to get his money’s worth of the ejection and the blown calls.
After reliever Masa Kobayashi induced a top of the ninth inning-ending double play, the Indians were not to be denied the victory that they earned. After Casey Blake went down swinging, Grady Sizemore singled and David Dellucci advanced Grady to second with a single. As Grady looked to right field to determine if he should try for 3rd base, he jammed his left ankle on 2nd base and a collective crowd gasped as he came up limping. After testing the ankle with coaches and trainer, Grady, favoring the ankle was caught by the camera telling the coaches in no uncertain terms, “I’ll play!”
With lefty Travis Hafner at the plate facing righty Ross Olendorf, Jorge Posada let a ball pass and the runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd. Hafner was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up the double play with one out.
Up to the plate walks Victor Martinez who could be seen shaking his head “yes” repeatedly and telling himself what he needed to do while banging his right fist on the side of his batting helmet. Everyone knew their part; Grady on 3rd would go home on the ground or tag and score on a fly. Dellucci on 2nd had to get to 3rd base safely. Hafner had to take out the pivot man at 2nd base on a ground ball. Victor had to lift the ball or hit safely to score Sizemore. With a 1-1 count, Victor appeared “locked in” as he hit an opposite field line drive to win the game!
So the Indians win a season high 5 games in a row by beating the Yankees 4-3.
I hope you saw the game. If you didn’t, you can join the umpire crew and see the replay to see what everyone missed!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
OK, OK so they don't play today but isn't that good?
Better than that, they cannot lose anymore ground in the Central Division because Chicago is off today as well! The only risk is that Detroit beats Toronto and pulls us within one-half game of last place.
Watch the Cavs slam the Wizards!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Shapiro continues to state that it is too early to react. In defining “react” by Shapiro’s terms, that means changing the 25 man roster by bringing up a pitcher, hitter, or position player for reasons other than to replace an injured player.
Although a couple of the decisions to who made up the 25 man roster breaking training camp were scrutinized, most of the problems the Indians are having probably could not be corrected with new bodies.
Instead, the fans are looking for a reaction with the current team, or better said, they are looking for a reaction FROM the current team.
It appears that the defense has improved recently and so has the pitching, with the exception of C.C. Sabathia. The offense, on the other hand, has failed to improve and that is the root of the problems of the 7 – 11 Cleveland Indians.
What about C.C.?
The speculation has been anything from mechanical, to physical, to contract negotiations weighing heavy on his mind, to this leader trying to carry the team on his shoulders since the playoffs last season. It was reported that Fausto Carmona’s delivery needed a mechanical tune-up. Fausto worked on the adjustments and it appears that this pitcher has returned to form. C.C.’s delivery and follow-through appear to be out of sync since October. I still maintain that because C.C. was not getting the strike calls in the playoffs that he was getting all season long, he is unable to make minor adjustments to his pitch locations and he is over-compensating by leaving the ball to close to the “hot zone” for most batters. C.C. needs two things; he needs to regain his confidence in locating his pitches low and away as well as low and in and he needs to have a road game where he gets run support to allow him to find this confidence. Tuesday against the Royals will do just fine.
What about the offense?
I have not read much of anything about extra batting practice. All we know is that manager Eric Wedge finally became frustrated on Thursday and called a closed-door meeting. The results were an 11 run assault on the Tigers with a fantastic pitching performance by Carmona and a strong relief performance as well. The effects of that meeting carried through the next night as the Indians beat the Twins 4-0. However, the “butt-chewing” might have cooled off unless young pitcher Blackburn was just that over-powering on the offense Saturday. We will see today as the offense faces RHP Scott Baker who is 1-1 vs. the Indians with a 2.80 ERA.
RHP Paul Byrd goes for the Tribe and he has a 6-1 record in the Metrodome with a 2.11 ERA.
After Saturday’s game, we have a record of 7 wins and 11 losses for a .389 winning percentage.
Let’s compare other categories against the 14 team American League:
Batting Average – Stayed at 13th
Runs Scored – Stayed at 9th
Hits – Declined from 12th to 13th
RBIs – Stayed at 9th
Walks – Improved from 10th to 9th
Striking Out – Improved from 4th to 5th
On Base Percentage – Improved from 11th to 10th
Slugging Percentage – Declined from 10th to 13th
ERA – Improved from 13th to 11th
Walks Allowed – Improved from 3rd to 4th
Strike Outs – Improved from 10th to 5th
Home Runs Allowed – Improved from 1st to 2nd
Hits Allowed – Improved from 4th to 6th
Runs Allowed – Improved from 3rd to 5th
Fielding Percentage – Improved from 8th to 4th
Errors – Improved from 6th to 9th
Passed Balls – Stayed at 1st
After seven more games, our winning percentage increased a meager .025 mainly because our pitching and defense improved, but our offense continued to be in peril.
So in a week’s time, there has been some improvement, but not nearly enough.
Perhaps the corrections are in place but they are going to take a little more time to reverse the results. After all, Eric Wedge’s closed door meeting only took place this past Thursday afternoon. We may have to wait a few more games, say 4 more? That brings the Yankees to town for a 4-game series starting Friday night. That puts “A Reaction” a little bit closer to Mark Shapiro’s “plan” to wait to react until 35-45 games into the season.
All I know is it is getting harder to watch the inconsistencies of this team. I’ve been to the old stadium many times and been part of some record setting small crowds. We have had some lean times when we thought the team would be sold or moved and we stuck with them. But this team is so much better than what they are producing.
Beat the Twins today. Put the Royals in their place. Hone your skills for the big series with the Yankees. Start playing baseball instead of looking to justify inconsistent and underachieving play.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
V.P. and General Manager Mark Shapiro, in speaking of the club's dismal start coming off the shellacking last night by the Tigers, still thinks "We're O.K.!" Speaking of the 5 - 10 start and the team's lackluster play, Mark said, "It necessitates concern, but not action."
Mark, I am not convinced that you are in the right career, but I sure am glad you didn't choose E.R. doctor.
"Dr. Shapiro, the patient is in cardiac arrest with internal bleeding!"
"Let's not get emotional nurse, we have a long night ahead of us, his condition may change."
Manager Eric Wedge, on the other hand decided it was time to address the team...Ya think?!
He held a team meeting this afternoon and word is he expressed his displeasure with the team and their play during the first 15 games.
Well, something kicked this team in the butt as they went out and beat up the Tigers in an 11 - 1 rout!
Fausto Carmona was sensational giving up only one run, mostly in part to some retaliation by hitting two players in the 6th inning. At any rate, he raised his record to 2-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.96!
The offense came through with 11 runs and the bullpen kept the Tigers scoreless after relieving Carmona.
There was no love lost between the teams as both benches were warned tonight!
Now on to Minnesota. Cliff Lee, who has been our most stable starter gets the nod tomorrow night. There is absolutely no reason that this team cannot take all three games over the weekend from the Twins.
It may take another ass-chewing to get it done though!
The Tigers wait in the dugout for their feeding last night.
It got so bad, Indians all-star catcher Victor Martinez lost count of how many base runners there were as he failed to tag a runner at home on a no-force play.
(Note to Mark Shapiro: That play alone should send you a message that if you wait for game #40 to make some adjustments, you will be blinded by the glare of the lights coming off of the empty seats. C.C. needs help as does the rest of this team. 15 games is more than enough to realize it's not going to happen by itself.)
To add insult to injury, another Detroit team beat up our Cavs on the same night in the basketball season finale.
OK, today is the 48th anniversary of one of the worst trades in the history of the Cleveland Indians. Hometown hero Rocky Colavito was traded...to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn.
We need a hero to step up and lead this team NOW because apparently there won't be any assistance coming from the coaches or the front office.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Paul Byrd pitches a very impressive 6 innings giving up 1 run on 6 hits with 6 strike outs. He leaves the game with a lead of 2-1. Then it happens...
- Indians manager Eric Wedge brings in Jorge Julio to relieve Byrd. It is rumored that Wedge is injured and will go on the disabled list.
- Jorge Julio relieves in the seventh inning with the Indians ahead 2-1 and walks the only two batter he faces. It is rumored that Julio is injured and will go on the disabled list.
- Rafael Perez relieves with 0 outs in the seventh and two runs score. Perez is credited with the blown save and it is rumored that Perez is injured and will go on the disabled list.
- Jensen Lewis relieves and gets out of the jam. In the top of the ninth, Lewis gives up two runs to ensure a Red Sox victory of 5-3. It is rumored that Lewis is injured and will go on the disabled list.
- In the bottom of the ninth, Hafner, Martinez, and Peralta are unable to ignite a rally, much less show signs of life at the plate. It is rumored that they are injured and will go on the disabled list.
- The Indians lose 5-3 and it is rumored that they are injured and will go on the disable list.
- As the fans leave Progressive Field, they are very upset and calling for immediate action. It is rumored that they are injured and will go on the disabled list.
Well, thanks to the combination of "Blow" vs. "The Bull", we found ourselves on the losing end of a very exciting game by a score of 6-4. Joe Blow's ERA mushroomed to an even 18.00 in the aftermath.
But, it's only game 13, there are 149 more of these to go. Still not to worry is what we are being told.
Actually, there is a ray of sunshine and hope!
The 1997 American League Champion Cleveland Indians were 5-8 after their first 13 games as well...check it out!
So keep those sun glasses, or rose colored glasses on that are being handed out daily!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
4 wins and 7 losses
7 losses out of the last 9 games
13th out of 14 teams in batting average
9th in runs scored
12th in hits
9th in RBIs
10th in walks
4th highest in striking out
11th in on base percentage
10th in slugging percentage
13th in ERA
3rd highest in walks allowed
Tie for 10th in strike outs
1st in home runs allowed
4th highest in hits allowed
3rd highest in runs allowed
8th in fielding percentage
Tie for 6th in errors
1st in passed balls
Our Cy Young winner and 3rd runner up can’t get on track
Our platoon in left field is batting .178
Our right fielder is batting .167
Our 3rd baseman is batting .143
Our DH is batting .244
Our closer’s ERA is 13.50
Last night, during another loss to the A’s, Vice President and General Manager of the Cleveland Indians Mark Shapiro joined telecasters Rick Manning and Matt Underwood in the booth. A very relaxed G.M. was asked some questions about the slow start to the season his team was having. Shapiro responded by saying that after 10 games there is no need to panic. We must keep the emotion out of it. This is a business and this business is all about the long run of a season of 162 games. A reaction would not take place until we reached 40 games and things were still not better.
Sorry to get emotional all over your business but pick me up off of the floor!
By then, the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League will have out-drawn the Indians on fans per game.
Why does Shapiro sound like Hyman Roth of the Godfather II when he speaks of “The Business?”
“And I said to myself, this is the business we've chosen; I didn't ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!”
But come on, 40 games?
Can’t we make some minor adjustments now?
Can’t we try to figure out why C.C. Sabathia cannot locate his pitches since the ALDS last season? All of a sudden, the ALDS starts, and he can’t throw strikes. Is it he can’t throw strikes or is not getting the strike calls he was getting all season? If that is the case, can we work on adjustments with him? Once again on Friday night, C.C. is having trouble getting strike calls. So what does he do? He lays it in the strike zone and BAM, that ball is outta here! Looking at the replays on television, the ball was perfectly centered in the strike zone on many pitches that went out faster than they came in. Can’t pitching Coach Carl Willis get him to move the ball up by inches, not feet? Fausto too!
Maybe by May 13th it will be warmer out…maybe. Then, our bats will wake up. Or can we wake them up now? The temperature is the same for the other team. How much extra batting practice are they taking? Ben Francisco had a great spring training and did not make this team. I don’t care that he is batting .173 in Buffalo, he deserves a shot at left field. Maybe Pedro Cerrano can help us. “Hats for bats, keep bats warm…Gracias!”
We can’t wait for 40 games Mark. We’ve played 11 games now and lost 7. Will we be looking back on September 28th at what could have been if we had only won another game or two?
Let’s hope the rain continues today. We need a rainout to stop the spiral and get to thinking straight. It starts with some kind of reaction but not after 40 games.
Friday, April 11, 2008
OK, let's all sit back and throw down a few LaBatt Blues and decide when it will be time to worry.
- If after 20 games we have won only 8 games, is it time to raise an eyebrow?
- If after 30 games we have won only 12 games, should we uncross our legs in the dugout?
- If after 40 games we have won only 16 games, should we stand on the top step of the dugout and rub our chins?
- What if we get to 80 games and we have won only 32 games?
Don't worry, .400 puts us on pace to win 65 games. There's always next year.
Tonight, we got roughed up by the A's again, a rebuilding but strong hitting team. The Indians showed much character coming from a 9-1 deficit to make a game of it only to lose by a score of 9-7. Our biggest highlight tonight was a spectacular catch by Grady Sizemore that kept the A's from scoring more than 9 runs! How did he hold onto the ball after hitting the wall all out?!
You could argue that the 3 teams we have won 4 games from and lost 6 games to have a combined record of 18 wins and 11 loses for a .621 winning percentage. So things may get better when the 5-6 Red Sox and 2-8 Tigers come to town?
It's time to step up now, not think things will fix themselves over the long run.
Come on, Tribe...it's time to put some lead in your arrows!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
The Yankees come to town on April 25th. It’s a Friday night game…just like game two in the ALDS. Working in the yard over the weekend and a little bit tonight, there were swarms of bugs everywhere. What are the chances that the magnificent midges can return for the Yankees series? John Kruk may do us another favor and bring another egg salad sandwich to Progressive Field anytime now and hide it under a seat in section 150. Or maybe we could get Stadium Services to throw some unsold sushi behind the outfield fence in right field. It’s not that we want an unfair advantage or anything ‘cause the bugs were there for both teams. It just seems as though they were attracted to cheap cologne last October. Go Bugs!
The first time you saw “The Commercial” on STO, did you think it was about you?
You know, the one where the guy is watching the Red Sox beat the Indians in game 7 of the ALCS last year, at the brink of extreme heartbreak. Then he is kinda in a trance pouring milk on his corn flakes and onto the floor. Next he is standing in a trance with shaving cream on his face while the faucet drips. Then he is staring very dishearteningly outside at the snow with his Indians mug in hand. And finally he is trancing again holding the hose but not washing the car when his son asks him to play catch. All of a sudden, the world is right again. Doesn’t this guy look curiously like 3rd base coach Joel Skinner?
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Lee looked like the pitcher he once was, striking out 4 and walking only 1 batter.
The Indians scored twice in the 7th inning on a fielder’s choice (that should have been an inning-ending double play) and a bases loaded walk to Ryan Garko.
The day belongs to Cliff Lee. He stepped up and gave his team every opportunity to win with a great effort. Congratulations Cliff Lee.
Now, who is going to step up and wake up the offense?
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Is it time to push the panic button yet?
Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan say "NO" because it is only game 5 with 157 to go. But listening to manager Eric Wedge in the post game interview, it sounded like everyone had just watched "Old Yeller!"
So what would be wrong with pushing the panic button just a little?
- Let's get Victor back in the lineup. He's taking batting practice and catching bullpen sessions for the last 3 days. His leadership is desperately needed. It is one thing to give encouragement from the bench but there is no substitute for the way Victor leads on the field.
- Get Ben Francisco back to the "bigs" where he belongs
- I hate to suggest this but does Casey need a day off? I love his dedication to the game and the team. I love his unselfishness and his team attitude. But he's had one good game, the opener.
- Peralta probably needs to sit one out as well. He's batting .143, he's showing little energy, and he has the other error on the team.
Detroit is 0-5! We should be putting as much distance between us and them as we can. But Sunday doesn't look to good with Cliff Lee getting the start.
Yeah, it's time to panic a bit. In 157 games from now we could be looking back at these games and saying, "If only we had taken one of those earlier games from Oakland!"
At least show some stern concern.
Come on Wedge, keep a short leash on Lee tomorrow and set a fire under this team.