Friday, May 30, 2008

Royals Eager To Welcome The Tribe

The Cleveland Indians begin an 11 game road trip tonight in Kansas City. The Royals are firmly entrenched in last place in the Central Division of The American League with a record of 21 and 33. They have now lost 11 games in a row. My bet is the Royals are looking to improve their record and stop their skid at the expense of the also struggling Indians. The two teams have met 5 times this season with the Indians winning 3 games. Cleveland has lost 8 of their last 10 games and is mired in much internal controversy.

Look for the Cleveland front office to finally make a trade very soon. Andy (out of options) Marte has been getting some playing time lately and many fans think he is being showcased. If so, he certainly has put on a disappointing display. There is more likelihood that the versatile Casey Blake, who will become a free agent at the end of the season, is the one being showcased, despite his poor batting average. He becomes expendable in this organization because of the need to move Jhonny Peralta to 3rd base, Astrubal Cabrera to SS, and insert the gutsy Jamie Carroll at second base.
As the Indians do a great impression of the their team from the 60’s, trying to “find themselves” (Peace, man), they are compromising the 2008 season. The fact is this team is…
They have wasted a great opportunity to run away with the division. Detroit is failing in so much as they were expected to be the powerhouse team. Minnesota is more of a pretended than a contender, and Chicago is left holding down the lead in the division but certainly could be overtaken. Instead, the Indians are going through the motions of allowing their hitters to work through their funk. When a player having hitting or pitching problems has options, they are relegated to the minors to work their problems out. Aren’t the best people to help them work out these problems at the major league level? Do Carl Willis and Derek Shelton have too much on their plate? You would think they would jump at the chance to correct an identified problem and get a player straight immediately. Eric Wedge and Carl Willis certainly made no secret about what they expected reliever Raphael Betancourt to do to be competitive; throw inside. Wedge stated that Willis has told Betancourt “more than 100 times” to throw inside but he refuses. What a bunch of Crap!

This team lacks the confidence in themselves to contend.
In the 9th inning of Wednesday’s game against the White Sox, the Tribe was down 6-5. Ryan Garko (pinch-hitting for Andy Marte, thank you very much) got on base via an error and Grady Sizemore walked. The first two batters reached base, down one run with no outs, and you got the feeling in the ballpark that the magic was back. Up comes Jamie Carroll with orders to bunt the runners (Cabrera pinch running for Garko) over to 2nd and 3rd. He executed the play with perfection. Ben Francisco comes to the plate knowing that a deep to medium fly ball ties the game and a single more than likely wins it. Francisco popped out on the first pitch. That brought Victor Martinez to the plate with two outs. Knowing he must hit safely or walk, Victor popped out behind third base to end the game.
It has been said that as Grady goes, so go the Indians. He’s having a "just OK" year. Can he get his offense back on track?
Is Travis Hafner too hurt to contribute? Can the team finally be honest about Haf?
Does the pitching staff tell the coach how they will pitch or does the coach tell the pitchers how they will pitch?
Why is Victor Martinez having a power shortage?
Can Cabrera, Peralta, Garko, Gutierrez, Blake, and Dellucci start hitting at least at a respectable level?

Tonight is the 54th game of the season. That represents exactly one third of the season. At 24 and 29, unless these questions are addressed and answered ASAP, this team will struggle to reach .500 the rest of the way.

1 comment:

Deaner said...

I will be in KC for the game tonight... hopefully I'll see the Royals losing streak extended.