Wednesday, April 15

Tribe wasting no time, breaking hearts of fans early

Economically, what the Indians are doing is commendable from a fan standpoint. With the Indians looking like a team destined to finish in the bottom of the not-exactly-loaded American League Central, their fans can hope to find other outlets for their expendable income this summer. However this doesn't look good financially for the Indians. The front office has pretty much used up all their salary room this year on acquiring former Cubs Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood, so an empty Progressive Field combined with an extended playoff run by the Cavs looks to really hurt the Indians in the pocketbook. Well, enough doom and gloom the Indians took the finale of another series running their total number of wins to: two. Hey did you know the only wins the Rangers have are the three from that opening series sweep? Interesting, no?

Game one saw Fausto Carmona on the mound for his second start. While you can place a lot of blame for this poor start on the Indians' starters, the offense has done an amazing job of not being able to move runners in scoring position. This game saw a lot of that. Carmona did, however, pitch five innings, allowing only five hits. Unfortunately those hits weren't scattered. The Royals jumped on Fausto for three runs in the first. The other run surrendered by Fausto was in the bottom of the fourth, and that's pretty much it. I know what you're thinking. Four runs? That's it? The mighty Tribe offense with a rejuvenated Hafner can top four runs, especially against the lowly Royals. Well, I would have thought that before this season started too. However, Zach Greinke should be given a lot of credit for pitching five innings while striking out nine and holding his ERA at a solid ZERO. Long story short, the Tribe (1-6) leave 12 on base and lose 2-4. Wait actually the Indians scored only two runs on 10 hits, while the Royals mustered four runs off just five hits. Now I'm done.

Game two was the return of the one-inning wonder that is Carl Pavano on the mound for the Tribe. I have to say Pavano pitched better. Of course he had nowhere to go but up from his last performance of nine runs in one inning. However his six innings of work for four runs wasn't good enough for these Indians. The real blame for the Indians' seventh loss (sorry I gave the ending away) is Rafael Perez, who turned in one and two thirds innings and gave up four earned runs. Vinnie Chulk didn't help matters in relief of Perez, but still. So no, this Indians offense can't overcome eight runs allowed. The good news of this game? The Indians only left seven on base, a series low. Tribe (1-7) lose 3-9.

Game three saw Aaron Laffey taking the role of whipping boy. With Scott Lewis on the DL the Tribe responded by calling up Chulk to help out a depleted (and still depleted) bullpen. However Chulk doesn't have any options so once called up he is here for good or needs to be DFA'ed. So calling up Laffey today meant someone was getting a ticket to Columbus. Tony Graffanino was called up to replace Jamey Carroll but it was Josh Barfield sent down for Laffey to make an appearance in Kansas City. While Laffey didn't blow me away with his performance, he did only give up two runs, which is no small feat from this rotation. However, going only five and a third innings continues to give the bullpen a workout. Joe Smith, Jensen Lewis, Betancourt, and Wood make up the relief crew for this, the Indians' second win. Unfortunately for Laffey, Lewis gave up two runs in his one and two thirds innings to get the coveted blown save and win. Otherwise the bullpen did not give up so much as a hit. Offensively the Tribe didn't do anything spectacular but did only strike out six times, a series low. Doubles were the order of the day and the Tribe hit five, two from everyone's favorite DH Travis Hafner. Indians (2-7) win 4-5.

This series Indians hitters struck out 28 times and left 28 on base. With runners in scoring position the were 12 of 39 (.308). Unfortunately this wasn't enough to do much to improve my outlook of this team. You do have to wonder what will become of Laffey. Will he be kept, or sent down with the return of Scott Lewis? I would keep Laffey and let Scott Lewis make a start in AAA to make sure things are cool again. The good news of this continued poor play is that you may get to see the members of the Indians farm system earlier than you thought. However that's not what I want. I want our starting rotation to settle down. I expect the offense to improve - Sizemore won't hit .211 for the season and DeRosa's .171 has nowhere to go but up. For the most part Lee and Carmona are bigger question marks at this point than anything the Indians have yet to deal with. If Lee and Carmona were clicking I would be cool with trotting out Pavano every fifth or sixth day, but struggles at the top of the rotation really put pressure on the rest of the starters to be at the top of their game. I'm not sure that's the kind of environment Pavano can excel at. Not to be overlooked, Kerry Wood picked up his first save as an Indian. Here's to many many more.

The Indians now travel to New York to open The Palace and face former team ace CC Sabathia, in case ESPN hasn't mentioned it a million times yet.

Game 1: Cliff Lee, LHP (0-2, 9.90) vs. CC Sabathia, LHP (1-1, 4.50)
Game 2: Anthony Reyes, RHP (1-0, 6.00) vs. Joba Chamberlain, RHP (0-0, 1.50)
Game 3: Fausto Carmona, RHP (0-2, 9.00) vs. Chien-Ming Wang, RHP (0-2, 28.93)

Realistically I will be shocked if the Indians win game one. However these are still the Yankees and if anything near Cliff Lee 2008 shows up I will be overjoyed. I'll take Reyes over no-decision Joba. Finally we face a starting pitcher with a worse ERA than Pavano. Tribe can take this series, I know they can. But there is a gap between what this team can do and what they have done so far.

Go Tribe!
(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

1 comment:

John said...

First game win equals me shocked. Good to see the Indians offense wake up and Lee have some level of success today. Two in a row!