Sunday, August 10

How Sweep It Is

Over the last few road trips for the Tribe, I've often mentioned their miserable road record. A team in last place who sports a home record three games above .500 has obviously been putting on a horrible showing during these away games. While the Indians' sweep of Toronto this weekend goes a ways to helping out that situation, the Indians still have some work to do.

Friday's series opener saw Anthony Reyes take the mound for his Indians debut. Reyes did not disappoint, going 6.1 innings and giving up one run on seven hits and only one walk. Not too shabby if you ask me. Not that Toronto is at its offensive zenith right now, but neither are we. The workhorse Perez pitched 1.2 innings in relief while giving up a run and Jensen Lewis came in for his first ever major league save. In the game that is "guess our closer" it looks like Jensen will be the closer for the time being. I've mentioned before that Lewis appears to be a very emotional pitcher, so maybe the high-stress situation of closing will bring out the best he has to offer. Offensively, the Tribe scored five runs over just two innings of scoring. Those batting in runs include Francisco (2), Choo (2), and Gutierrez (1) the Tribe's five, six, and seven hitters for the night. Tribe win 5-2.

Saturday's matchup between Byrd and Halladay was the one to worry about on paper. Would Byrd continue his remarkable pitching streak? Could the beleaguered offense muster enough runs from perennial Cy Young contender Halladay? Luckily for the Tribe the answer to both was yes. Byrd went the distance, giving up only two runs on six hits while improving his record to 7-10, which I know once stood at 4-10 and may have been 3-10 at one point. This is a remarkable turnaround that makes me wonder what Byrd was doing before the complete collapse of this year. On the other side of the box score Toronto and Halladay himself are only credited with earning one of the Tribe's four runs. Andy has already mentioned how Halladay's stats may have come into play on the scorer's ruling on this situation, but regardless he takes the loss. As for the Indians' offense, Garko, Dellucci, and Marte make up the teams RBI's. Talk about three names which haven't appeared together her on this blog much. One interesting stat is that Toronto as a team left only three on base compared to the Tribe's 12. Tribe win 4-2.

Sunday was never in doubt really. I hate to be complacent, but with Lee on the mound against this Toronto team I would have been shocked for Cliff not to pick up win 16. Lee went eight innings giving up the same number of hits but allowing zero runs. Perez pitched an inning of scoreless relief. With the Tribe up four to nothing I may have pitched someone other than Perez but I'm not the manager. RBI's were provided by Sizemore, Dellucci, Peralta, and Garko. The Indians bats did strike out 10 times and only registered one walk against the Toronto pitchers, which is slightly worrisome. And maybe that extended benching of Garko woke him up a little, but it might be too little and it is definitely too late. Tribe win 4-0.

This sweep of Toronto in Canada improves the Indians' road record to 23-28. With KC's win today it also means the Tribe are still in last place in the division by a game. Reyes's performance was encouraging and I hear Laffey had a good outing in AAA. If Byrd is to be moved, and he did clear waivers, then Laffey is the obvious choice to fill his spot. As a GM I'm not sure I would feel confident in taking Byrd but who knows. As for the bullpen, Perez has already made 53 appearances this year, topping 2007's total of 44. However innings are down so far from 60.2 to 59.1. Wedge's use of the bullpen has always been a hot topic and I don't have any answers for you, just numbers. I'm sure we'll see how Lewis handles his newfound role over the coming series. Speak of which the Indians return home to face the Baltimore Orioles, a team I'm safe in saying the Indians have yet played a game against this season.

Game 1: Dennis Sarfate, RHP (4-2, 4.58) vs. Fausto Carmona, RHP (5-4, 4.46)
Game 2: Garrett Olson, LHP (8-6, 6.06) vs. Jeremy Sowers, LHP (1-6, 5.70)
Game 3: Jeremy Guthrie, RHP (9-8, 3.26) vs. Anthony Reyes, RHP (3-1, 3.86)
Game 4: Daniel Cabrera, RHP (8-7, 4.78) vs. Paul Byrd, RHP (7-10, 4.53)

Jeremy Guthrie, the less-talked-about Brandon Philips of our pitching prospects, makes a return to face the newest Indians pitcher Reyes. I like our chances at home against the Orioles. Let's hope the Indians can keep some of the momentum they picked up in Toronto, even if Dellucci has to contribute.

Go Tribe!

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Harris)

1 comment:

Andy said...

This whole series reminded me of a stat from George Will's so-so baseball book Men At Work, saying that in 70% of MLB victories, the winning team scores more in one inning than the loser. That was the case for all three Tribe wins here. They didn't score a ton, but they did a good job of scoring in bunches when they did.

Reyes looked pretty good from where I was sitting. Byrd's ERA is 1.80 over his last 5 starts.

The Tribe also managed to score their runs with minimal contributions from the guys who had been their two top producers, Sizemore and Shoppach. As JHH pointed out, Choo, Francisco, Gutierrez, Garko, and, yes, Dellucci, picked up the slack, while Peralta stayed hot.

Guthrie-Phillips comparisons are reasonable because both became solid players elsewhere, but the story is different. With Guthrie, the Indians really didn't have much of a choice and had to let him go. Phillips they gave up on too soon. If the two situations happened again, they would do the same thing with Guthrie but not Phillips.