Sunday, April 12

Tribe win! Well at least one.

This season couldn't have started much worse. The good news? Well we are relatively injury-free, and no, I don't believe in jinxes. With the Tribe getting swept in their first series in Texas against the Rangers, a series at home was hopefully going to end the losing streak. However, the Blue Jays' bats and the Indians' pitching staff had other ideas. With the Home Opener being rain delayed for over three hours and with Cliff Lee looking like Cliff Lee circa 2007, things were not going well. Luckily, today's game ended in spectacular fashion with Kerry Wood striking out the side, in a non-save situation, and Tom Hamilton saying "Ballgame!"

The Indians Home Opener Friday was attended by the FCF crew but unfortunately was accompanied by rain as well. Scott Lewis looked good for the first three innings and so did the Indians offense. At the top of the fourth the Indians were up three-nothing and Lewis appeared to be cruising. Hafner had hit a two-run shot into the Blue Jays' bullpen and I was hoping the rain would hold off to get five innings in while the Indians were still ahead. However, the weather and the Indians pitching had other ideas. The fourth inning saw the rain pick up and Scott Lewis lose his control. Afterward Lewis was placed on the DL and had this to say:

"It kept getting worse, and I think that's why I haven't been finishing pitches," he said. "I had been over-rotating my changeup and putting extra stress on it. It's just not calming down with treatment. Hopefully it's just tendinitis or something and the shutdown will help."

"[Manager Eric] Wedge came out at the right time," Lewis said. "It was gradually getting tighter as the game went on. The last pitch I threw was when I really felt something. I didn't really want to throw another pitch, and I didn't want to call anybody out there, either."
As many other bloggers have wondered aloud: What the hell, Lewis? You are a pitcher who has had Tommy John surgery - at what point do you need to be told to stop throwing? Why not be a grown-up and say "hey, my elbow doesn't feel right"?

In other news, the rain delayed the game for like three and half hours and I was at home asleep by the time the game restarted. I hear the bullpen gave up a bunch of runs. Tribe lose 13-7.

So the home opener was less than fun. Another loss, rain delay, Scott Lewis on the DL, and the Indians open the season 0-4. Saturday's game saw the ace of the staff Cliff Lee take the hill against Roy Halladay. Yeah Cliff Lee isn't on form yet. Cliff recorded five innings of work, giving up four runs, and currently holds an ERA of 9.90. Anthony Castrovince had this classic line:
Lee insisted his fastball location was fine today. And it's times like these when I wonder why we even bother interviewing guys after games.
Remember last year when Lee sounded like a broken record on his success? Well that's OK, but it appears even in defeat Lee insists things are still fine. The thing that worries me is if Lee can't admit something is wrong then it may make it difficult for him to get back on track. Long story short, the Indians posted a mini-rally in the bottom of the ninth keyed by Mark DeRosa's three-run double, but still dropped their fifth straight game to start the season. Tribe lose 4-5.

Sunday's game saw Anthony Reyes making his first start for the Tribe in 2009. Reyes is arguably the third starter on this team, but due to elbow issues he was placed in the fifth starter role, which allowed his first start to be skipped to be cautious with is albow problem. Here's hoping we don't have to skip any more of his starts, because Reyes only allowed four runs in six innings of work. I know, not a great start but it allowed the Indians to get some runs. The real standout of this game was Trevor Crowe, who at two points today was at bat with the bases loaded and two outs. This first time in the third inning saw Crowe strike out and snap his bat over his knee. The second time, two innings later, ended in a two-run double that put the Tribe on top for good. DeRosa and Hafner each had two-run shots, Jensen Lewis pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, and Kerry Wood struck out three straight Blue Jays to end the game. Indians (1-5) win this one 8-4.

Not a great series. The pitching struggles have been frustrating and the Indians' inability to hit with runners in scoring position was also worrisome. Hopefully Sunday is a better example of what this team can do instead of the previous five games. There are a few good signs. Travis Hafner has hit three home runs in five games and twenty at bats. This brings us to Pronk Watch 2009. Indians fan Bucko has proclaimed the return of Pronk contingent on Hafner reaching 15 home runs by the end of July. As of right now Travis has been awarded the first letter P for his work so far. Jensen Lewis did an awesome job today and if you were listening to Tom Hamilton today, you can't help but be excited to see Wood in a save situation.

The Tribe return to the road tomorrow to take on the Kansas City Royals who have a 3-3 record after taking two of three from the White Socks and avoiding being swept by the Yankees by winning today's finale.

Game 1: Fausto Carmona, RHP (0-1, 10.80) vs. Zack Greinke, RHP (1-0, 0.00)
Game 2: Carl Pavano, RHP (0-1, 81.00) vs. Kyle Davies, RHP (0-0, 0.00)
Game 3: Jeremy Sowers, LHP (0-0, -.--) vs. Sidney Ponson, RHP (0-1, 6.00)

Which Fausto will we see? Let's hope the good one. Greinke holding the White Socks scoreless in his first start is impressive. Tuesday's start by Pavano will go a long way to show if he'll still be on this team come May. And with Scott Lewis on the 15-day DL, Sowers gets the start. I can't say I'm very optimistic about this series. Carmona could easily be dominant, Pavano could be somewhat effective and Sowers could be...OK. So yes, a series sweep of the Royals is not out of the question. However I'm working with too small a sample size here to really get a feeling how this will shake out. And just as a heads-up, Wednesday's game is a 2:10 Eastern start.

Go Tribe!
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)


Andy said...

The possible return of Hafner's bat is indeed encouraging, as is the fact that we're getting on base and scoring even without timely hitting.

Wood looked terrific, totally dominated. I mean, the Blue Jays had zero chance of doing anything. As the Emperor once said, yes, he could be a great asset.

The rest of the FCF crew was far from asleep for the end of Friday's game - in fact, we were well on our way to earning a noise complaint and a visit from the police, whom I greeted shirtless.

John said...

Well I really enjoyed that sleep. I'm sure you feel the same about that discussion with the police.

Heck I was in bed by the time the game restarted.

Leaving that game immediately was the best decision I made that day.

Milkey said...

I am so fucking glad we did all of those shots Friday night.

So glad.