Thursday, September 29, 2011

Almost Everything We Could Expect on the Last Day of the Regular Season!

2 out of 3 ain't says Meatloaf!


  • The Tribe loses to the Tigers to finish under .500. Although most expectations were met by this rebuilding team, it sure would have been a bonus to finish this season 82-80 instead of the reverse. However, Manny Acta did get thrown out early arguing balls and strikes...that's a light at the end of the tunnel!

  • St. Louis Cards beat Astros handily and advance to the playoffs! they did get some help from the Phillies who took it to the Braves late in the night.

  • Rays beat Yanks with walk off despite the Red Sox balking about the Yanks laying down.

  • Red Sox have no one to blame (except maybe Carl Crawford) for their loss to the Orioles last night and the entire team for their September results.

  • Did the Orioles over-celebrate? Naw! They played hard and earned the celebration.
Every baseball fan is tired this morning!

What about Reyes of the Mets?

Although he is not the 1st to pull out of a game to win a batting crown.

As we wait for next year again in Cleveland, we also look forward to a great second season of baseball 2011!

Who are you pulling for?

Me? Like this;

Tigers over Yanks

Rays over Rangers

Cards over Phillies

Brewers over Diamondbacks

That's not exactly how I see it but how I hope it comes out!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Do You Think?!

  • Did the Indians let up too early?
Manny Acta has been talking for two seasons now about how important each game is to the season. That was a refreshing contrast to previous manager Eric Wedge who believed in wait and see or some nonsense like that. Eric never put any importance in just one game.
But look at some of the games we should have won. Of course no one could foresee the collapse of the Red Sox. As late as September 1st everyone thought Boston had a lock on the wild card if they didn't win the division outright. Could the Indians have been playing tonight for the wild card?

  • Injuries you say?
Yes, Cleveland has been plagued by injuries all season long. Manny Acta has been missing more than half of his regulars for more games than we care to think about.
But why so many injuries?
You have to go back a few years when we still had the likes of CC, Cliffy, and Jake who all suffered oblique muscle pulls on several occasions.

Ankles, knees, forearms, elbows, stomach muscles (obliques), calf muscles, hamstrings...sounds like not enough strengthening and conditioning, huh?
When the assistant head trainer jogs out on the field being heavily overweight, what message does that send to the players? We all could stand to lose a few pounds but when you have constant access to the best exercise and strengthening equipment, is there any excuse?
I maintain that for years the Cleveland Indians do not focus enough on strengthening and conditioning.
Want to disagree?
So what if I am wrong (which I am not)?
Could stronger players in better condition hurt anything?

  • Who are you pulling for tonight for the wild cards?

If it was up to me, Boston loses and Tampa wins...I am just so tired of the Red Sox but not as tired of them as I am of the Yankees.

I am also pulling for the Cards!

Maybe I want the long shots because we could have been there as well.

  • Isn't Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal the top reason to buy a Plain Dealer?

  • Will Fausto be released and become a star somewhere else when he gets his head straight?

  • When will Hafner be Full-ner?

  • Does Grady Sizemore need to take his game down to 99% to stay healthy?

  • Don't you just want Jack Hanahan to bat over .300 and play 3rd everyday?

  • It was great to have Thome back but where will he play next year if he plays 'cause it won't be here.

  • Are you a Manny Acta believer? He converted me but I just want him to protect his players with ferocity!

The Cards are winning 4-0!

Both the Rays and Red Sox are losing...Cool! The regular season may be extended!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Psst!...Watch the Waiver Today!

Could Big Jim be on his way back to Cleveland?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Time To Get Real!

So Manny Acta is determined to get back the games that he lost to Detroit and get back in the race.

I would love to see it but it ain't gonna happen.

Let's do the math...

The Tigers are 68 and 58, playing at a .540 clip. They have 35 games remaining. If they continue to play no worse or no better (which isn't that great anyway) they will finish the season with 87 wins.

The Indians are 62 and 61, playing at a .504 clip. They have 39 games remaining. To over take the Tiger and win the division, they must play at a .666 clip, winning 26 of their remaining 39 games.

Impossible? No.

Improbable? Absolutely!


Because like all other Cleveland teams, they lack the killer instinct. And that starts with their manager.

I am a Manny Acta fan but really Manny, something has to change.

Manny was quoted in the Akron Beacon Journal today in response to the blown call (one of them) yesterday when Lou Marson threw out (but didn't get the call) Austin Jackson stealing second base. The replay clearly showed Jackson was out. Astrubal Cabrera got a severe finger wagging from umpire Tim McClelland who blew the call and then was way out of line reprimanding Cabrera for being upset by the call. Manny hurried out to save his player but missed his opportunity to blast the entire umpire crew for a terrible weekend, from behind the plate to the bases. Manny said, "I guess eventually we're going to have to press that buzzer and use instant replay."

Holy cow, Manny, don't have a stroke over the shitty calls, OK?

Minutes later on a call much less controversial that that, Jim Leyland came back from the dead, and charged out to 3rd base like Teddy Roosevelt going up San Juan Hill! He let the entire umpiring crew as well as the world of baseball know how pissed he was. "You're outta here" was the result and the Tigers felt their manager did what was necessary to keep the playing field level and even.

Want to know why the Red Sox and Yankees games with each other last so long? Because those 2 managers will not stand for any call going against them and argue about everything! In fact, the players on those teams are the best at carping I have ever seen.

So Manny, do I want ya to argue every call? Hell no, just make yourself heard when necessary. Umpires used to say about Ted Williams, "If Ted doesn't swing at it, it's a ball!" The reverse can be said of players with much less talent or experience. A rookie looks at a borderline pitch with 2 strikes and he gets little if any respect, unless he plays for the Red Sox or Yankees.

So what if an umpire gives a warning to the bench because the manager and his coaches are riding him about balls and strikes. That umpire is hot but also aware that every call he is making in being scrutinized. He's a better ump for it.

Manny had the perfect opportunity to get thrown out yesterday defending his catcher and his short stop. That action would have unified the team and possibly changed the outcome of the game yesterday.

OK, OK, enough...what does it matter? They aren't going to win 26 more games, are they?

Not unless Lou Brown comes back and says, "I think we are contenders, we just need something to pull it all together."

Couldn't you just hear Lou say, "The way I figure this thing, we need 26 wins to win it all!"

We're all listening Lou...I mean Manny!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

She's Hoarse and Can't Sing No More!

Pretty good season, huh?
Too bad we couldn't hang on.
Went to Detroit on Saturday to see the Indians give up on the season, from the manager to the ineffective DH. When Travis Hafner jogs to first base (when he doesn't strike out), he is displaying the roll-over attitude that this team appears to have adopted.
Need more?
Manny Acta continues to stay put in the dugout when he should be protecting his players.
Instead his pitcher gets thrown out of the game and then goes back out on to the field to let the umpire know that he should find another line of work.
I love ya Manny but why don't you forget about trying to win the Nice Guy Award, especially with the umpires?
He's not alone though.
The Tigers have a very talented team, much more than they are showing. It appears that they will win the division but I doubt that they will advance past the first playoff series.
Jim Leyland has become ineffective during the game. He has adopted an Eric Wedge type of style that when the game starts, the manager's job is done.
He just got a one year extension from Detroit.
I think he may be El Cid.
I think he died but they have him propped up in the dugout just to make other teams think they still have a manager.
Did anyone ever thing Joe Girardi or Terry Francona stop managing or fighting for their players during a game?
Of course not, that is why if the Yankees or Red Sox don't win their division, the 2nd place team between them wins the Wild Card.

What an embarrassment Saturday night's game was.
Blow out the candles and cut the cake!
Today isn't much better. Throw at our guy so we get penalized and cannot react. Where was Manny during all of that?
How about Cabrera tagging out the runner stealing 2nd and the runner is called safe on a blatantly blown call?
The ump wags his finger in Astrubal Cabrera's face. Manny comes out and did not get thrown out! he failed to take advantage of the opportunity to fire up his team.

Sing if you can. Sing to a season where expectations were exceeded but resulted in underachievement.

The division was there for the taking.

We wait for next year again, hoping to add some inspiration and infuse a "never quit" spirit.

That really is all that was missing.

Teams with less talent have achieved more.

Sing 'cause it's over.

Too bad because the Yankees and Red Sox don't have what it takes this year either.

Other than being fierce competitors and never quiting, neither the Yanks or Sox will win the world series.

Too bad.

Cinderella left the ball early.

Monday, August 8, 2011

No, Not Good Enough!

Plain Dealer writer states the following;

Cleveland Indians need to take at least 2 of 3 games against Detroit Tigers, says Dennis Manoloff

No, the Cleveland Indians must enter this 3-game home stand with the division leaders with a "SWEEP" mindset.

This is the team that surprised nearly everyone in the baseball world with their fabulous start of the season as well as with their ability to stay in contention to this point.

This is the team with their top management putting on a different hat prior to the trading deadline more that a week ago. In the previous 3 seasons, they have been cleaning house of their soon to be free agent stars. Instead, they admitted that their team is a contender by making recent acquisitions to bolster that belief. Good or bad acquisitions? I applaud the front office for going for it instead of sitting pat!

This is a team that has put together a starting rotation that has kept them in not only most ballgames, but in contention for the division. The starting pitching was thought to be the weakest part of this team back when the snow was flying in Cleveland.

Detroit is thinking they need to take 2 out of 3 from us.

That is why they were trailing us most of the season until lately.

We must think 3 out of 3!

If we think 2 out of 3, we may settle for 1 out of 3.

Time is running out. It is time for this team, the team that has already exceeded expectation, to not settle for mediocrity any longer!

Manny must put the best 9 on the field, not the best rested 9 and not the best righty/lefty match-up 9, but the best 9 for this series.

Back in late April, we took 3 of 3 from Detroit at home with swagger, confidence, and yes, some late game heroics.

Take all 3 and get within 1 game at the same time!

Remember, to make the playoffs, we must win the division!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Manny Stays With Fausto!

Manny Acta was asked what he will do with Fausto Carmona since his most recent failed start. Manny's response was, "Fausto will start again in 5 days."

What options does he have?

He can relegate him to the minors to see if he can get his form back. Fausto would have to agree to that but that would not be out of the question if he wants to get back to his winning ways. This seemed to work before in 2009 but the fix didn't stick.

He could "physically disable" him (it has been done before) and assign him to rehab work in Columbus and/or Akron. This could be in Fausto's (and his agent's) best interest.

He could trade him but his value has plummeted with his pitching woes of 2011.

He could stay with him and hope that through coaching he will work out the problems that are plaguing this gifted pitcher.

But if Manny is going to stay with him as he has indicated, he must get into his head. He has to make him pitch his pitches and stop reacting to the home plate umpire. To do that, Manny Acta and pitching coach Tim Belcher must position themselves on the top step of the dugout and fight for the low strike calls every inning that Fausto pitches. Instead, Manny is shown on TV with a look of deep concern on his face when Fausto gets into trouble.

I am a big Manny Acta fan and he is certainly closer to the issue than any of us but would fighting for some pitches really hurt?

The good news is that pitching coach Tim Belcher has made Fausto his focus now through Sunday when Fausto pitches next...Should be very interesting!

Hey Manny, hope to see you on the top step of the dugout Sunday...It could be fun and rewarding!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How Long Do We Stay With Carmona?

Come on Guys, it's over...Fausto Carmona on the big club, that is.
No matter how you figure it, Fausto cannot continue to take up space on this ball club while he tries to figure out what happened to his pitching mojo.
Send him down Now!
Fausto, I love ya man but you are killing the team!
No one will ever forget what you did in 2007...
Wedge relegated you as the closer early in the season and that was a disaster.
You began starting and pitched very well as other were nursing minor injuries.
Then, just as you threw a gem vs. Baltimore, you were going to be assigned to the minors until Jake Westbrook pulled an oblique muscle and went on the DL.
That was all you needed and the rest is history as you almost beat out your teammate C.C. for the 2007 Cy Young Award.
So where is that guy?
We can't wait anymore to find him.
Go down, take all the time you need to get back to your old form.
Go down now.
Manny, Chris, Mark...send him down and stop the madness.
While you are at it, what about Phelps, Buck, and Kearns????
Goodbye, goodbye, and goodbye!
Hurry back Pronk!

Monday, June 13, 2011

What's Wrong With the Wahoos?


  • This is the youngest team in major league baseball.

  • Have they not surpassed all of your expectations until lately?

  • We knew they would make mistakes, those mistakes just all came at the same time against very good teams.

  • They will win again!

How about the fact that they are the youngest team in MLB. They are striking out more than they should, not going deep enough into pitch counts, and certainly not getting many calls at the plate. When a team is very young, it is up to the manager and his staff to fight for them until they earn the respect of not only the other teams, but of the umpires as well. What was the line about Ted Williams? If Ted Williams didn't swing at a pitch, the umpire called it a Ball. It is going to take Manny Acta and Tim Belcher a few ejections before the playing field is completely level. They should be on the top step every time one of our hitters gets two strikes on them. They should be jawing from the dugout from the start of the game to the last pitch. You have to love what Manny Acta has done with these guys. Did you see him go after Girardi? The umpiring in the NY series has been so inconsistent that batters on both teams kept turning back and looking at the umpire as if he left his guide dog in the kennel. But truth be told, the Yankees are expert at "getting" calls. They bellyache so much, they get over on many calls. Case in point; During Sunday's game, Orlando Cabrera hit a 2-hopper sharply to Derek Jeter at Short. The ball took off after the 2nd hop and skipped over Jeter's right shoulder and into left field. Pretty quickly announcer Rick Manning speculated that the play would be ruled a hit and Cabrera would have career hit #2000. Prior to a decision on the play by the scorekeeper, Jeter could be seen mouthing "Wow!" over and over as if it was such a cleanly hit ball. Ruling; Base Hit. I thought Jeter should have fielded the ball but apparently he and the scorer felt differently. I believe that Jeter had much to do with the play being ruled a hit.

When Fausto Carmona pitches, I wouldn't care if he walked every other batter until he starts getting the low strike calls, as long as he induces ground balls to every other batter. Think of it; Fausto is trying to pitch his game. He is most effective when he is keeping the ball at the bottom of the strike zone, inside or outside. He can walk the first batter, get a ground out, walk the second batter, get a ground out, walk the third batter, then induce a 3rd out ground out with no one scoring. what can help him is Belcher and Acta complaining about called balls. Instead, Fausto gets into trouble and changes his location then Wham! He has lost control of the game and gives up 3 to 5 runs. I don't have the confidence in Carmona because he lacks so much in self confidence. Too bad, he is very talented. He needs Acta and Belcher jawing at the ump.

This is the team, minus Hafner, that was the best team in major league baseball until a little over a week ago. They have faced Tampa Bay, Texas, a Minnesota team that they should have beaten more than once, and the Yankees to cause their demise of late. Look at the standings, they are still in first place by .001 point!

Tonight they finish the series with a win over New York if Acta and Belcher fight for the guys instead of letting them fight and get frustrated on the field. They are too young to do what the Yankees do...Situational Bellyaching!

Tomorrow they face the Tigers and they need to beat 'em 2 out of 3.

What if they don't?

These guys have already exceeded our expectations for 2011. However, they will get back on track and make the rest of the season very interesting.

Come on Manny Acta and Tim Belcher...start getting thrown out for standing up for your hitters and pitchers!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Can't Win If You Don't Score...

Justin Masterson pitched very well for the Cleveland Indians last night. Jake Peavy pitched better and got the win.

You can't win if you don't score.

The Tribe is coming off of a 2 game win vs. the Royals where they scored 26 runs.

So why the flat performance last night?

Were they too aggressive as was suggested during the telecast?

Let's give credit to Peavy, he was masterful over Masterson and the rest of the Indians.

But we have game 2 of the series tonight.

Once again, we need our ace, Fausto Carmona to step up!

Sometimes I think manager Manny Acta should pair up Fausto not with the opposing team as much as with the umpire behind the plate!

If Fausto gets the low ball strike call, he generally has self confidence and pitches well.

Come on Fausto, throw low and hard no matter who is at, or behind the plate!

On another note, I was disappointed to see that Austin Kearn's attorney was fighting his DUI case in Kentucky on a technicality. the officer that stopped Austin may have been out of his jurisdiction but that doesn't change the fact that Kearns was weaving and under the influence.
Apparently the arresting officer was within his jurisdiction.

Here is hoping that the case does not get dismissed. Look for the charge to get reduced to Physical Control.

Too bad the story made the paper, I guess.

I will have little respect or use for Austin Kearns if he doesn't take responsibility for his actions.

Man up, Austin!

Friday, May 13, 2011

That's What He's Paid For!

Travis Hafner delivers a 2 out, 2 run homer to win the game tonight 5-4 for the Cleveland Indians in the bottom of the ninth inning!
Did you watch it?

They never quit!

They were down but never out!

What a game!

There is no doubt that this young Cleveland Indians team is the most interesting in major league baseball!

Stay entertained my friends!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wow!...Now How?

As the Cleveland Indians are off to their best start in franchise history, you first have to say "WOW!" and then ask, "How will they continue this great season?" The answer appears to be falling on the shoulders of pitcher Fausto Carmona. Fausto's last start was solid but his season has been anything but solid.

Last year he spent time in the minors trying to work things out. This is the same guy that was runner up to team mate CC Sabathia in 2007 for the Cy Young award. This is the same guy that had such laser focus during the bug game that he tamed those dreaded Yankees as they whined and complained about the midgies during the infamous 2007 playoff Bug Game.

So today, Fausto gets the call against a 1st place, good hitting, good running team in Southern California.

We need that same "Focused Fausto" to toe the rubber and take charge of this wonderful and delirious Indians' season!

Come on Fausto, but you can't do it alone...

You will need run support, at least 3 runs to take the series today in Anaheim.

Forget Jobu! We need hitting with less than 2 outs today.

This has been a wonderful and exciting season that I, for one want desperately to continue!

How bad do you guys want it?

It appears just as bad!

Come on Fausto, be it...bring it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Game That Wasn't May Haunt Us!

Carlos...I love ya, man but ya just can't stand there!
The Indians battled back in the top of the ninth inning only to leave the bases loaded down one run.
Carlos Santana, with "Hero" written all over him, stood and looked at three straight pitches for strikes.
Did somebody super glue the barrel to his shoulder?
So I understand a young team will make mistakes but is there really ever any excuse for not swinging the all?
I do believe that this team will grow and mature this year and win a fair share of games.
They may even make a run for the playoffs just like '05 and '07 when they were picked then to finish in the cellar of the ALCD. (I KNOW they will make a run for it!)
But it is games like last night in Kansas City that will come back and haunt us.
Oh Hell, it will come back and bite us in the behind!
Think back to 2005 when the Indians came up about a game short of making the playoffs.
There were many games that if they went to other way, we would have been in and Boston would have been out.
Think back to the final home stand in Cleveland when Ozzie Guillen swept us.
Remember Ozzie giving the Indians' fans the choke sign?
Or the weekend before when we lost to Lou Pinella and his Devil Rays.
It is one thing to get beat but you just can't stand there with 2 out and the bases loaded and your team is down by 1 run in the ninth. That is movie material!
Just as Manny Acta has his pitchers firing first ball strikes (and that has been the key to their success season to date), he must get these guys to know when they have to swing.
When in doubt, clout it out!
Come on Carlos, a city is waiting to anoint you "Savior!"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Get On Board!

Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer is bracing for the collapse.

Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal is enjoying the ride with guarded optimism.

How about you?

Have you looked into the dugout to see what is going on?

  • FUN!




This isn't Murderers' Row and we don't (yet) have the Fearsome Four but we are winning.

So if we were losing as expected, these sportswriters would be telling us about how hard it is to compete in a small market with little payroll and a lack of fan support.

Instead, we are leading the ALCD with a 10-4 record (as today's game is in progress with the good guys ahead 4-2) and we are being cautioned to look at reality.


How will we ever get a winner in Cleveland if we don't believe?

As Orlando Cabrerra said when asked if this team was a contender, "Not yet, we need about another month and a half into the season but I think we have what it takes."

If anyone has told this team they are not supposed to win, they aren't buying it.

Look in the dugout, watch them grow together on the field, and strap in! We are in for a fun summer ride!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Come On Pluto, Throw Us A Bone!

Things are tough when perennially positive Cleveland Plain Dealer sports writer Terry Pluto warns that the Indians will not continue in their winning ways. Terry wants you and I to enjoy the ride while it lasts. Thanks Terry because that is just NOT what we need or want to hear right now. We have team owners with short arms and long pockets that will trade a free agent if there is even a hint of a collapse. Terry, did you forget 2005 and 2007? Those teams did the unexpected against huge odds against them. The 2005 Tribe made an August & September run and just missed the playoffs. The 2007 Tribe provided us with one of the most exciting and entertaining seasons we have ever had. The odds were stacked against that team from the snowed out opening weekend through the 7 game series vs. the Red Sox. I see many similarities in this 2011 team with the 2007 team.

  • Solid offense

  • Solid defense

  • Solid relief

  • Starting pitching that will require at least 2 of these guys to have career years
Yes, it is way too early to start printing playoff tickets but it is not too early by any stretch of the imagination to put some distance between the Tribe and the rest of the ALC teams. Tonight we go for 9 wins in a row. Fausto goes for his first win with one very good and one very bad outing season to date. He must be one of the guys that has to have a career year (like he did in 2007) for this run to be real. We can all sit back and wait for the collapse to come and say like Terry, "See, I told you so!" Better yet, I will stand and cheer at Progressive Field and when the "unexpected" successful 2011 season is over, I will say, "See, I told you so!"

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Manny Boner #1

What the hell are you thinking, Manny???? 4 right handed hitters sitting on the bench today with lefty John Danks on the mound for the White Sox! Currently the score is only 1-0 Chicago in going to the top of the 6th inning but the rain is falling a getting stronger. Who's on the bench? Austin Kearns while lefty hitter Travis Buck is in! Shelley Duncan sits with Travis Hafner and Michael Brantley playing. Michael Brantley is not Grady Sizemore and has not earned the right to play everyday regardless of a righty or lefty pitcher. With Shin Soo Choo struggling so badly, it might have been a good idea to rest him early in the season as well. As good as Jack Hannahan has been in the early going, why is right handed hitting Adam Everett sitting? Top of the 6th and we have only 4 hits with only one of them by a lefty, Michael Brantley. And what's up with Acta playing his starters almost entirely through the first 2 games? Come on Manny, let's see some strategy. These guys are going to need some help to win, especially with the poor starting pitching in our 1st 2 games. OK, hold it...Orlando Cabrera just put us ahead 2-1 with a 2 run HR! Still, use the bench! How about the Silent 1st Pitch by Anne Feller on Friday? Very classy!

I watched and watched the ball sit on the rubber until Fausto Carmona took the mound. Then I wasn't sure if he used that ball or gave it up for a game ball but he did pick it up. I kept thinking, from Anne Feller's hand to Fausto Carmona's hand...what inspiration that could have been knowing that the man being honored had pitched a no hit opener in Cleveland in 1940. That's Hollywood stuff but Fausto failed to seize the moment.

Anyway, if we lose this game today, I gotta put the blame on the skipper.

We need this win today...Come on Manny, lead the youngest team in the majors to their 1st victory today!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Opening Day, Hooray!

It's finally here, the Home Opener in Cleveland, Ohio!

And we are in first place this morning!

The festivities of the day are always so entertaining and moving at the same time.

I am so looking forward to the tribute to Bob Feller. Remember that the only opening day no hitter was pitched by Rapid Robert in Cleveland in 1940!

Fausto, this is a huge game for you in so many ways! Bigger than the Bug Game in 2007 when you were so dominant against those Skankees!

After the tribute to Bob Feller and the Silent First Pitch by his widow, you take the mound with a lot heaped on your shoulders. A city looks to you to lead us through this very important first game and set the tone for the season. After all, that is what the opener is all about!

It's time for a prediction, at least one for today...

Fausto comes out pumped and focused like he can, like he was in the Bug Game.

This fine fielding team that the Indians have assembled plays error free ball.

Despite the cold weather, we out hit the White Sox.

Final score, Cleveland 5, Chicago 3

A great start, setting the tone for what could be a very interesting and surprising season of Cleveland Indians Baseball!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chris Perez Hurls For The Tribe!

So you think you have heard about all of the Indians' hurlers? Well wait until you digest this little tidbit (if you can)! It seems Indians' closer Chris Perez was about to sail comfortably through the 9th inning yesterday against the Cubs with a 4-1 lead when the ride got a little bumpy. A hit batter, a walk, and a double later with one out and Perez became more than a little upset! After screaming through his mitt at catcher Carlos Santana, Perez apparently called time out, laid down briefly on the grass behind the pitcher's mound, and then sat up and barfed on the field! Perez related the incident to when he played ball in the hot sun as a youth and having similar experiences. After eating lunch a little too early, he became overheated and experienced low blood sugar, thus causing the reaction. Chris, I am glad that you are OK but I gotta tell you, I love your style! Oh don't worry, the Tribe pulled the game out 4-3 but not until after the reliever found his own relief on the field. It kinda takes you back to a couple of scenes in the movie, "Major League." Jake Taylor and Ricky Vaughn are sitting in a bar and a young man asks Wild Thing for his autograph because Vaughn had been elected into the Hall of Shame that day for walking the bases loaded and then giving up a grand slam. Jake looks at Ricky and says words to the effect of, "You don't have to do something well if you do it colorfully." Later in the movie just before the playoff game vs. the dreaded NY Yankees, Willie Mays Hayes stops Jake Taylor to tell him that power hitter Pedro Serrano is looking for extra power and wants to sacrifice a live chicken in the club house. "Hey Jake man, we can't have guys throwing up all over the place!" Oh yes you can, Willie! There were probably a few other guys who got the dry heaves when Perez upchucked yesterday. You know that almost barfing sensation you get when someone else is in peril? This is big! We need to capitalize on this for the season! It is like the bubble gum bubbles that El Presidente (Dennis Martinez) was putting on guys hats in '95 while they were being interviewed. It's as good as the whipped cream pies in the faces of game MVP as they are telling Matt Underwood all about it after the game in '07. Chris Perez has put a new spin on "Hurler" as well as "Pitching in Relief!" Oh, there is money to be made and fortune to find! Can't you just see Alka Seltzer as a new sponsor of the Cleveland Indians? Picture Chris Perez holding up that little blue box of relief and saying, "I don't take the mound without it!" Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, oh what a relief it is! Chris Perez, not only have you become a very good reliever and closer in the American League, but you are doing it very colorfully as well!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Close Are They To Contending?

Is it the thrill of the upcoming season just one week away that changes our outlook to a more positive view?
After going to see my beloved team in Cactus League play, and now seeing them win lately with the regulars getting the majority of the playing time in spring training, I really like what I am seeing!
  • Our hitting was decent last year but is much improved in 2011.
  • Our base running was poor last year but much better right now!
  • Our fielding has improved...
  • Our relief pitching continues to improve since mid season last year...
  • Our starting pitching is keeping us from contending!

Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson, Mitch Talbot, Carlos Carrasco, and Josh Tomlin...Ouch!

But if we could acquire just one more strong starter, this could be a very interesting season!

Two starters having a great season becomes contagious to the rest of the pitching staff!

Chris Antonelli and Mark Shapiro have a big decision to make in the next 7 days...contend or stay put?

I was disappointed in their recent decision to send Lonnie Chisenhall down to AAA. With Jason Donald on the DL for the start of the season, that gives 3rd base to Jack Hannahan, a good fielder who has not done well at the plate but has had a strong hitting spring. At least he is a 3rd baseman! The very last time I remember a AA ballplayer having a great spring and sticking with the team for the season because of injuries, he was the American League Rookie of the Year!

In 2005, the Tribe deep thinkers sent Grady Sizemore to the minors for more seasoning the day before the season started but quickly called him back up after the opener when "Roids Boy" Juan Gonzales wrecked his leg running out a grounder in his at bat of the season. Look at the season Grady had that year!

Come on Mark and Chris...roll the dice on 2011! Put some butts in the seats by contending with one more strong and proven starting pitcher!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Different Year, Same Results?

This is my first time ever at Spring Training. It is a great opportunity to view the Cleveland Indians prior to Opening Day.

What's new? What's the same?

Well, this is their third year in Goodyear, Arizona and the facility that they share with the Cincinnati Reds is fabulous.

When you enter the ballpark, looking around you are immediately reminded of the loss of Bob Feller in the off season.

Gaylord Perry was on hand to sign autographs and tell his wonderful stories.

Mark Shapiro was seen everywhere, from talking to ex-manager Eric Wedge on the field to walking the entire stands greeting fans. In fact, he and Bob DiBiasio were on our plane home on Sunday.

But somethings just don't seem to change.

Before Friday's game, the Indians were 4 and 9 and dwelling in last place in the American League season to date this Spring. Yes, we all know that Spring games mean little in the regular season and that it all starts anew April 1st. Well, try telling that to the world champion San Francisco Giants who dwell at the top of the National League this Spring.

The Indians played to a 5 to 5 tie in 10 innings with the Seattle Mariners on Friday, 3/11/11. Neither Eric Wedge or Manny Acta seemed very intent on winning the game.

The new infield duo of Astrubal Cabrera and Orlando Cabrera looked like they needed some more time to practice their double play exchanges as Astrubal flipped a ball to Orlando. Astrubal should have continued on across 2nd base and completed the double play. Instead, Orlando dropped the flip and was charged with one of the 2 errors made by the Tribe.

Lonnie Chisenhall made a slick running/throwing play on a hot grounder to 3rd base. This is our 3rd baseman of the future...Why not now? Yeah, yeah, yeah...options and all of that...who cares?! This guy has game, he hits, he fields, he is ready! Jason Donald suffered a wrist/hand injury over a week ago and has been delayed in his opportunity to take over 3rd.

Grady Sizemore has yet to get into a game this Spring. Grady more than likely will not be ready for the opener in Cleveland. The question that needs to be asked, will he ever be able to play again at full speed?

On Saturday, 3/12/11, the Tribe beat the Angels by a score of 2-1. The Angels were represented by a crew of guys mostly made up of guys you are not likely to hear about again this year.

Fausto Carmona started the game and was dominant. He pitched 4 scoreless innings giving up 1 hit and 1 walk, striking out 5 and "sinking" 6 ground ball outs.

Michael Brantley led off the game with a crisp hit. He looks very comfortable in center field. We need him to get off to a great start.

I have said this before but the game is beginning to resemble other sports with the constant barrage of entertainment. Between every batter there is a different blaring song and between almost every half inning there is a silly contest. The good thing is that there is no clock in baseball otherwise this sport would be out of hand with distractions like NBA games.

Some fans have no respect for the game getting up mid inning to get food, standing to take a picture just when a pitch is about to be delivered, etc. Other fans still maintain baseball etiquette and speak well of the game and it's lore between innings. It is refreshing to hear fans talk about their fantasy league picks, discuss prospects, and remember great performers and performances from the past.

So how will this team perform?

Starting pitching is the big question. But the lineup in the field is tough. Here is how I see the everyday lineup shaping up;

1. Michael Brantley, CF

2. Astrubal Cabrera, SS

3. Shin Soo Choo, RF

4. Travis Hafner, DH

5. Carlos Santana, C

6. Austin Kearns, LF

7. Matt LaPorta, 1B

8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B

9. Orlando Cabrera, 2B

I like this lineup! They hit and they field well. There is versatility with Shelley Duncan, Trevor Crowe, Luis Valbueno, Jayson Nix, and Jason Donald (when healed). The bullpen continues to improve since the second half of last season and they are quite stable now. It's starting pitching that will hurt this team. Fausto is solid but after him...Carasco got roughed up today...Tomlin needs to have a career year...Masterson must get consistent...same with Talbot, Gomez, and Huff...weak rotation!

If we want to compete, as Shin Soo Choo says we can, we must get another proven starter very quickly.

Let's see if we can change those same results!