Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Our team batting average is dead last in the league at .246.
Our 4.03 ERA is middle of the pack.
We have been riddled with injuries but so has every other team.
The next half of the season begins today with 13 games remaining until the All-Star break. Those 13 games will not make the first half go away. We have one game remaining with Cincinnati today. Then we play three with division leader Chicago in Chicago, three with red hot Minnesota in Minnesota, two with surging Detroit in Detroit, and then we come home for four games to host Tampa Bay who has won 7 of their last 10 games and looking like a playoff team.
Manager Eric Wedge insists that if they keep after it (not sure what they are keeping after), things will turn around. Hmmm, after the All-Star break, we play another 13 games with the Mariners, Angels, Twins, and Tigers to finish out July. As a matter of fact, August and September look almost as tough for the Tribe.
We stand at a crossroad today;
Give up and make moves for next year?
Keep our fingers crossed and hope we get on track?
This team has the reining Cy Young award winner who is dominating.
We have Cliff Lee who is tie for the most wins in the league.
We have the premier center fielder who does it all with bat, glove, arm, and wheels.
Casey Blake leads the team with RBIs and clutch hitting, batting .281.
Ben Francisco is performing well at the plate and in the field.
Kelly Shoppach has filled in very well for Victor Martinez.
Jamie Carroll is on fire.
It is long past time to turn the heat up on the others; Garko, Guttierrez, Peralta, etc.
The crazy thing is that if this team could get hot, as badly as they have played, they could get right back into it. But that would require the coaching staff to stop waiting for things to turn around by themselves. They would have to hold players accountable for their results to beat the Tigers, Sox, Twins, etc.
Better start making the moves for next year, this coaching staff doesn't have it in them.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
"We have one great week and people will be asking different questions."
"Good morning, this is your captain speaking. Welcome aboard our non-stop flight. Every preparation has been made to ensure you reach your final destination. We are experiencing heavy turbulence and we are off schedule as a result. But please remember, this is not about results but how well we prepared. So relax and sit back as I am confident we can get things turned around. It's going to happen soon, I just don't know when."
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Baseball and Football
By George Carlin
Baseball is different from any other sport, very different.
For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs. In most sports the ball, or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he's out; sometimes unintentionally, he's out.
Also: in football,basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball and in baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.
In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager. And only in baseball does the manager or coach wear the same clothing the players do. If you'd ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders uniform, you'd know the reason for this custom.
Now, I've mentioned football. Baseball & football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.
I enjoy comparing baseball and football:
Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game. Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.
Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park!
Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
In football you wear a helmet.
Football is concerned with downs - what down is it?
In football you receive a penalty.
In football the specialist comes in to kick.
Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.
Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - might have extra innings.
In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.
And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:
In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.
In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe!
- I hope I'll be safe at home!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
6/22...37 wins Off the mark by 2 games!
6/15....33 wins Right on target!
C.C. Sabathia showcased himself yesterday and showed why he was the Cy Young award winner for the American League and a leader on this Indians team. Sabathia pitched 7 strong innings giving up 1 run on 5 hits and striking out 10. With his solo home run to deep right field, he represented the only offense for the Indians until the top of the 11th inning. C.C. says he doesn’t care about not getting the win, what he says he cares about is getting the win for the team.
C.C. Sabathia must be signed by the Cleveland Indians now. Whatever it takes, just do it. Take the $56M naming rights for Progressive Field and give it to him, take up a collection from every fan, whatever it takes, just do it.
Sabathia is the heart of this team and although emotional decisions should not weigh into contract negotiation, let’s get emotional and sign him.
Not only is he the leader and spokesman for the team, he is fair minded. Sign him now!
The conversation could go like this;
Shapiro - “C.C., what do you want?”
C.C. (with agent at his side) – “ I want a long term contract, say six years.”
Shapiro – “We want to give you the security you desire and we are prepared to offer you a three year deal now with an option fourth year. Of course the usual performance bonuses and post season incentives will be in effect. Please read the fine print. We are prepared to offer you $XX million for the first year, $XX in year two, $XX in three, and $XX in the option fourth year. Please take your time and consider this and get back to me.”
C.C. – “I am prepared to sign now. This is my team. I want to play my career in Cleveland. This organization has been good to me and your offer is generous. I am IN the Tribe.”
Shapiro – “Sign here.”
X_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Carsten Charles Sabathia
C.C., We love you, man. It’s time to get emotional! A player of your talent, coupled with your character and integrity are rare.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
As the Cleveland Indians struggle through the first part of the 2008 season with injuries and disappointing results, there have been many people questioning the commitment of the players on this team to give it their all.
Outfielder David Dellucci says there is no question that the team is doing everything they can. "Baseball isn't like football or basketball," said Dellucci. "You can tackle harder in football and run faster in basketball, and it really looks like you're playing harder. If you try to swing harder or throw a pitch harder in baseball, it has the opposite effect. From the outside looking in, it might not look like the effort is there. But it is there. We're doing everything we can do, but it's just not happening."
David Dellucci plays hard. I have always loved his enthusiasm and devotion to the game. However, to make a blanket statement that everyone is doing everything they can is truly off the mark. The current edition of the Cleveland Indians is lethargic at best. They are beaten and they have caved in. They phoned in this season long ago. The odds were stacked too highly against them. First, they couldn't hit. Then, they couldn't pitch out of the bullpen. Then, devastating injuries struck. Dellucci's statement, "We're doing everything we can do, but it's just not happening," says it all. It is most apparent when so many players on the team look at a called third strike. If they swung and missed, the effort would certainly be there.
It's a shame. They had their opportunity to run away with the division. Chicago is in first place just nine game over the 500 mark. The Twins are hanging tough and the the Tigers are waking up just in time. Chicago will never hang on to their lead.
The self confidence that the Indians lost in the ALCS last season remains missing in action. With their confidence gone, so too is their drive to play the game. Through all of this, the biggest missing piece to this puzzle is coaching. This team is severely under coached and not held accountable for their actions. The coaching staff apparently is not equipped to bring this team together. What a shame, it was all there for the taking. We can best remember this season as "called strike three."
Friday, June 20, 2008
In this morning’s edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Terry Pluto gives his suggestions as to what the Tribe needs to do to prepare for the 2009 season. Trades, promotions, demotions, etc., all will help the Indians better know what they have to invest in the future.
Unfortunately, the season has been over long before the Rockies completed a sweep of the Indians and climbed out of last place in their division. When you think back to when the “Tribe Slide” started, about the second week of the season, General Manager Mark Shapiro and Manager Eric Wedge would hear nothing of such silliness. Despite not knowing that there were mysterious and hidden injuries to some of the Tribe’s top players, the fans knew it was over before it was over. When pressed in mid-April on what to do to snap the Tribe out of what would become a season-long slump, G.M. Mark Shapiro stated that nothing would be done until after 40 games.
He wasn’t kidding, was he?!
It was obvious that Travis Hafner was suffering long before he set foot in Winter Haven this spring. When Victor Martinez went down with a hamstring injury going into 2nd base in the season opener, it was apparent that that injury and an elbow injury were going to sideline him but he continued to push on and play. Were we protecting gate receipts? Closer Joe Borowski gets shelled and then goes on the DL with a Triceps injury. There have been many nagging injuries to our pitchers over the last few years; Westbrook this year and last year, Sabathia went down two years in a row, Carmona this year, and Cliff Lee went down last year, all with muscle pulls that scream out for a lack of conditioning. Our hitters slump and they fail to make adjustments at the plate. Our pitchers begin to have mechanical problems and they can’t find the right adjustments in their windup and delivery for months. Carmona and Sabathia ruled the American League strike zone last season prior to the playoffs. The playoffs start and all of a sudden they are not getting the calls they were benefiting from all season long and adjustments were not made…into the beginning of this season!
It was apparent that every team in the division, as well as the league was making acquisitions in the off-season to better compete. The Indians, who missed the World Series by 1 game, pretty much stayed pat.
The Executive of the Year and Manager of the Year in the American League obviously knew better. Nothing has been done since last September and it is blatantly apparent.
So what do you do now?
It is conditioning.
It is coaching.
It is motivation.
It is holding players accountable for their performances.
It is executing to a plan.
The Exec of the Year and the Manager of the Year need to get off of cruise control and look in the mirror themselves.
Uh uh, they have 89 games remaining that they owe an effort on and off the field to this town and these fans that exceeds the price of admission.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Hey, Kellen Winslow Jr. is running a youth football camp here in Cleveland. Why not send your kid? Just think what he (or she) can learn…how NOT to honor a signed contract and how to do stunts on a motorcycle! KW2 and end zone celebrations are the main reasons I don't watch the NFL anymore...Winslow, grow up you puke!
After we get swept tonight by the Rockies, the Indians will take their trail of tears to L.A. where Joe Torre's Dodgers are in need of a team to pound, being 4.5 games behind the Diamondbacks. What will Joe have up his sleeve for the Tribe? After blaming the wind and the heat in Texas, and the thin air in Colorado, what excuses will the Indians have in LA; strict California labor laws, the sounds of group tree hugging, or what?
This team can and should be playing better. They are a better team now without injured Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez who were playing with injuries all season. Those two players were probably not even playing at 40% of their abilities and should have been treated medically long before they were finally put on the DL. Every team has injuries and the Carmona and Westbrook injuries truly make a huge difference in our competitive edge. Even at that, the healthy players appear to be going through the motions at this point.
Shame on them, the coaches, the manager, and the Indians organization.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Our boys of summer got off on the wrong foot and have found it difficult to get back in step.
There has been plenty of excitement, mostly supplied by the use of the maple bats.
And often there is something to raise our spirits, so...
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
(The Indians have played one more game to date than the Rockies.)
The Rockies have 611 hits to the Indians 577.
The Indians have hit 67 home runs to the Rockies 58.
The Indians have 308 RBIs to the Rockies 278.
The Indians have walked 235 to the Rockies 236.
The Indians have struck out 478 times to the Rockies 491.
The Rockies have an OBP of .326 to the Indians .324.
The Rockies have a SLG % of .398 to the Indians .391.
The Rockies are .10 percentage points better in batting, .256 to .246.
The Indians have 33 wins to the Rockies 28.
The Indians ERA is 4.07 to the Rockies 4.73.
The Rockies have given up 67 home runs to the Indians 76.
The Indians have walked only 200 batters to the Rockies 262.
The Indians have struck out 436 batters to the Rockies 413.
The Indians have turned 80 double plays to the Rockies 73.
The two teams have an identical fielding percentage of .987.
I like the Indians chances to sweep, or win two of three in this series. We would have won the World Series in 6 games.
For Tuesday night…
Paul Byrd has an ERA of 4.89 with a 3-6 record. Lefties hit .372 vs. him and righties .241. In 13 games, Byrd has walked 9, struck out 26, and given up 17 home runs.
Greg Reynolds has an ERA of 6.69 with a 1-4 record. Lefties hit .312 vs. him and righties .211. In 7 games, Reynolds has walked 21, struck out 9, and given up 9 home runs.
Paul Byrd has been two different pitchers this season, sometimes in the same game. Byrd must keep the ball in the park against this team. I think “good” Paul shows up tomorrow night and pitches a gem as the Tribe wins 9-3!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Who cares, with the hole we dug ourselves early on this season, the only way to make the playoffs is to take our destiny into our own hands.
That is exactly what the Tribe did this afternoon. Ben Francisco grew up watching Greg Maddux dominate hitters. If Francisco was in awe of Maddux, he sure didn’t let on as he hit a three-run home run off of him in the bottom of the third inning today to put the Indians ahead for good. Reigning Cy Young winner C.C. Sabathia also seemed unfazed to face 4-time Cy Young winner Maddux as he pitched 8 strong innings for the win. This was exactly the gutsy type of game the Indians can, and need to play each and every day.
Last night, San Diego’s starting pitcher Cha Sueng Baek got roughed up in the first inning for 3 runs. Then he proceeded to shut the Indians offense down for the next 6 innings, even putting down 16 hitters in a row. In his post game interview, Eric Wedge said that Baek made adjustments, our hitters didn’t. Sorry to bother you during the game but could ya get up and coach a bit? How about getting Derek Shelton involved? Baek threw 110 pitches in 7 innings, 68 of those pitches were for strikes, resulting in only 2 hits/3 runs, all in the first inning. Here’s a novel idea, how about re-implementing the patience at the plate that was so successful for this team last season? How about a conversation about protecting the plate with two strikes? In the fifth inning, Shoppach and Carroll took long looks at called third strikes. With Hafner on the DL, we were beginning to get better at reducing the stares and glares at the umpires after a called third strike that were becoming so common to this season. Where the hell is the in-game coaching?
In the top of the tenth inning, Edward Mujica relieved Joe Borowski. Mujica got Gerut to fly out. Then his troubles began. He gave up a single to Edgar Gonzales. Brian Giles hit a double putting runners at second and third with one out and the score tied 3-3. Adrian Gonzales was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a double play. OK Wedge, are you coming out of the dugout to yank Mujica? No, he pitches to and walks Tony Clark on a 3-2 count. Padres 4, Indians 3. OK Wedge, are you coming out of the dugout to yank Mujica? No, Kevin Kouzmanoff is up next and he bats righty vs. righty Mujica. Does it matter that Mujica, throwing everything belt high and getting murdered now can’t find the strike zone? No, Wedge stubbornly leaves him in. Bam! Grand slam! In the post-game interview, Wedge complains that Mujica couldn’t get the ball down in the strike zone. Then what the #@&%!!! did you leave him in two batters too long for?
Nice loss Wedge, your stubbornness cost us a chance to sweep the Padres. Now the series is in jeopardy.
Bring these guys on! Doesn’t good pitching beat good hitting more than 70% of the time?
It is great to see Jody Gerut playing and hitting so well again. He still offers up his body and future when fielding his position. Gerut tied the game last night with a solo home run in the top of the eighth inning. Does he have an axe to grind? It doesn’t sound like it. In fact, in interviews, you get the feeling that he still wishes to be playing in Cleveland. Do Milton Bradley and Brandon Phillips feel they have something to prove each time they face their old team? You bet but who cares? Forget the good and bad trades and play like winners. Play fearlessly despite your decisions on personnel. Better yet, manage fearlessly and less stubbornly!
Friday, June 13, 2008
The Indians’ starting pitcher tonight has an ERA of 6.91. He is twenty-five year old left-hander Jeremy Sowers. He is 0-1 with 14.1 innings pitched. So far, lefties hit .357 against him and righties hit .311.
Ok, that’s not an ideal match up but let’s dig a little deeper;
(The Padres have played one more game this season than the Indians)
The Indians have outscored the Padres in runs, 301 to 253.
The Padres have out hit the Indians in hits, 575 to 550.
The Indians have more RBIs that the Padres, 289 to 242.
The Padres walk more than the Indians, 238 to 225.
The Padres strike out more than the Indians, 536 to 458.
The Indians steal more bases, 33 to 21.
OBP, Indians .324, Padres .318.
SLG, Indians .388, Padres .372.
And last but not least, The Indians are 1 percentage point ahead of the Padres in batting average, .245 to .244.
Crunching all those numbers, I like the Indians chances against the Padres for the series.
But keep in mind that both teams have had a revolving door with the disabled list most of the season so you can throw the numbers out.
For tonight, the bottom line is, the Tribe hitters must get to Banks early and often with much patience early on in the counts. Sowers must get his groove back and step up to be the pitcher the Indians need him to be.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The Cleveland Indians have two starting pitchers and three starting position players on the disabled list (Fausto Carmona, Jake Westbrook, Travis Hafner, Josh Barfield, and Victor Martinez). So, on top of a lousy first third of the season, you would think that it would be time to fold up and hold a fire sale.
But wait a minute! These guys all of a sudden don’t look like they are ready to give up just yet. As a matter of fact, the injuries (which are unfortunate and certainly never wished on anyone) seem to be rejuvenating this team and given them the spark that has been missing since week 1.
Jamey Carroll absolutely came to play. He is just the pesky little hitter and slick fielder we need. Now that he will surely be afforded a starting role on a daily basis, we shall see what makes Carroll click.
Shin Soo Choo is leading the team in batting.
Ben Francisco is making the best of his opportunity upon being called up.
With Martinez down, Kelly Shoppach has all of a sudden turn up the heat.
Franklin Gutierrez and Ryan Garko have turned their seasons around as of late, so too have David Dellucci, Jhonny Peralta, and Casey Blake.
What needs to happen is that these players continue to play well and make it difficult for the regulars to get back into the line-up when they are healed. Their good play will also allow the injured players to heal and not come back prematurely.
The biggest hole in the team right now is the bullpen but even they are showing signs of putting it all back together.
So where are we at with our rocket to the pennant?
After tonight’s impressive win, we are right where we need to be with 31 wins on June 12!