Monday, May 26

Burn On Big River, Burn On

I’m not going to do my traditional series reviews - there just doesn’t seem to be a point to go over so many losses. We do have important information to go over here, and the last thing I want to do is bore you.

So Fausto is on the DL for what appears to be a month. The word on the street is that the injury isn’t too serious as the muscle injured is outside, not inside, the joint or something of that nature. With Fausto heading to the DL it appears like this was all planned out ahead of time, with Westbrook ready to return to the rotation. This delays the “what do we do with Laffey?” question for at least another month. With Laffey pitching so well I was a proponent of the “send Laffey to AAA” solution, but again we’ll revisit that near the end of June it looks like.

The Tribe offense, however, is still an enigma. Ben Francisco has done well in the cleanup spot, and who would have guessed he would be this team’s leader in doubles after only playing in 13 games? Of course, one of those doubles should have been a home run, but again this isn’t a series review.

In other Indians action, Jensen Lewis was sent down. This can only be described as somewhat shocking. Lewis, whose velocity has been at least 5 mph lower this year hasn’t been the most awful reliever of late. I can only guess that the Tribe brass think sending him down will do two things. Get him to address this situation, which supposedly is mechanical, and doing so in Buffalo will allow Lewis a better opportunity to focus on his pitching instead of worrying about winning games. Is this really the best time to send him down to call up Edward Mujica? Mujica isn’t even the best reliever of late in Buffalo - Rick “Jack” Bauer is - but, unlike Bauer, Mujica is on the 40-man roster, and so this seems to possibly be only a short-term situation. Another move with Fausto going on the DL is the Indians purchasing the contract of none other than Scott Elarton. Originally, if you remember, Elarton was signed to a minor league contract in the spring to give him an opportunity to be showcased to other teams. However, Elarton’s spring was surprising and now he gets called up. Hey remember Tom Mastny? Maybe Elarton saw him in Buffalo. With the way our bullpen has performed this season and the stellar impression of a long reliever Jorge Julio put on Friday I’m excited to see how Elarton performs.

Finally I wanted to address the Indians' trade situation. What we need is easy - anyone who can hit consistently, and hopefully with power. If they play in the infield, then that is even better. Matt Holliday and Garret Atkins have been named elsewhere and I hear Holliday has a terrible away-from-Coors split and things look shallow in the Indians farm system at third so maybe Atkins isn’t such a bad idea. However, who will the Indians trade? Let’s Go Tribe had a nice post up today about the trade situation regarding the starters. They're all stupid moves in my book, except maybe Byrd. However, any team we’re trading with at this point are probably sellers not buyers and Byrd in the last year of his contract isn’t exactly a great option for the Rockies. So what does that leave us with? Laffey should be untouchable at this point with the loss of C.C. and Byrd next year, but what about Jeremy Sowers? Sowers is a reasonably good pitcher and pitched some really good innings this season except his last start at Cincinnati, where the whole team fell apart. What about Jhonny Peralta? I’m not a good enough baseball analyst to say if Peralta is worth trading at this point. He still hits for power and the SS of the future is mired in an 0-for-season slump and hitting below .200. I don’t like the trade of Peralta right now. So what else do we have? Garko, Aubrey, Gutierrez, Shoppach or a bunch of minor leaguers not yet mentioned? Nothing jumps out at me as being the perfect solution, but this is going to be a hard decision to make. Hopefully the AL Central keeps stumbling along until the Indians' front office and coaches figure this mess out.

Until the other shoe (a trade, a hot streak, the AL Central pulls-away, or some combination of those) drops we’re left with another series with the division leading Chicago White Sox, who own a 27-22 record.

Game 1: Javier Vazquez, RHP (5-3, 3.43) vs. Paul Byrd, RHP (2-4, 4.10)
Game 2: Mark Buehrle, LHP (2-5, 4.82) vs. Aaron Laffey, LHP (2-3, 1.60)
Game 3: Gavin Floyd, RHP (4-3, 2.93) vs. Jake Westbrook, RHP (1-2, 2.73)

Paul Byrd’s last outing was awesome for the first five innings but he went out there and got hammered in the sixth. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back. Based solely off the pitching match-up I like our chances in game 2. Jake’s return from the DL will be a highly anticipated game on Wednesday. Hopefully Jake goes out there like he never left. Being only 4.5 games back of the White Sox is reassuring that the Indians have something to play for. A sweep or at least a series win would do a lot to keep that going.

Go Tribe!

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

1 comment:

JHH said...

Remember when I said I was excited for Elarton's return? Well let's forget I said that.

If this series doesn't go well it might be time to start thinking of this not being the year for this team.

And if Hafner has a sore shoulder that may have been this way since spring training why not have him go on the DL? Its not like we'll miss his bat.