Thursday, May 21

A Cleveland Team (not the Cavs) keeps playing too

I will freely admit that nothing the Indians do over the coming weeks will rival the Cavs, but I still have to follow them and I get the opportunity to write about them at least once a series. Remember the last series wrap up, where I mused here's hoping our next series loss is just plain tragic and less Greek tragic? Well that hasn't happened, yet. The good news? The Tribe won two in a row and took a series from the Royals and got to Greinke. The bad news? This is probably more a correction after four straight losses than a beginning of a turnaround. The good news? I don't know what I'm talking about, so it could be the beginning of a winning trend, who knows.

A Cliff Lee start is about as close as this team can get to a guaranteed win right now. Unfortunately Lee can't be asked to pitch a complete game every time out there. So here is everything you need to know about the first game in this series (if you don't already know): The Indians led five to two in the bottom of the ninth, Wedge went to Wood for the save, and the Tribe lose five to six. Yes, we've discovered a new way to lose. Wood was rocked on back to back home runs to Mike Jacobs and Mark Teahen, then surrendered a triple to David DeJesus. Needless to say, I was shocked. Tribe (14-26) lose 5-6.

Fausto Carmona started game two, and he's been anything but a number two starter this year. With this game included, Carmona has 30 walks and 30 strikeouts in 53.1 innings of work, leading to a 83 ERA+. Not the improvement we had hoped for over last year - in fact, it's actually pretty much the same as last year. Only Carmona's age, 25, allows for any real hope of future success. Maybe a failed move to the bullpen will re-re-invigorate his pitching. Yesterday Carmona's contribution was six innings and four runs allowed on six hits, four walks, and three strikeouts. Offensively, the Tribe pitchers were bailed out once again, with the Indians scoring two runs each in the fourth, seventh and eighth. Mark DeRosa had a three hits/two runs scored day that was the standout on the day. Just to make things interesting, Wedge once again went to Wood in the bottom of the ninth with the Indians up by a run. Wood did his best to make it exciting by walking three and then amazingly finding the strike zone and striking out Teahen and DeJesus (those names familiar?) to end the inning. Tribe (15-26) win 6-5.

Today's game was against Zach Geinke, the proud owner of a 0.6 ERA or something against Carl Pavano, the best pitcher in the AL with an ERA over six. However, only Pavano figured into this decision. Greinke only pitched six innings after giving up two runs. Pavano also went six and gave up three; however, he got the win thanks to a two-run top of the seventh which was followed by a four-run eighth. This pattern of the offense bailing out the pitching staff has become an obvious theme. Asdrubal Cabrera had four hits, scored two runs, knocked in two, and stole a base while leading off. Victor Martinez continues to hit exactly .400. To make it exciting, Matt Herges, who pitched a hitless eighth, was called on to pitch the ninth. After pitching to three batters, Herges left with the bases loaded and no outs. Luckily Betancourt came in to record a flyout in foul territory, then got a game ending double play. Tribe (16-26) win 8-3.

The obvious good news here is that the Indians won two in a row, won a series on the road, and snapped a four-game losing streak and continue to play even if they are still ten games under .500. The bad news is the offense has had to rescue the pitching almost every night Lee isn't pitching. On top of that, here are the at-bats with runners in scoring position for the three games; 1 for 6, 4 for 11, and 5 for 17. Not horrible but not impressive either. Another series note was Grady Sizemore batting second and DH-ing all three games. Sizemore went 0 for 4, 0 for 5, and 1 for 1. It was revealed by Wedge that Sizemore has been slowed by a sore elbow in May. Look, if he's hurt and the best he can do is go 1 for 10 in a series, then put him on the DL until he gets better. Batting .213 in the two hole isn't helping. Stop trying to get better while playing poorly. Did Victor or Hafner really help this team last year before hitting the DL? Why not give Sizemore two weeks off to get better? No one is going to accuse Sizemore of being soft or injury prone.

I have to mention Indians prospect Gomez pitching a perfect game for the AA Aeros. Our franchise's first perfect game since Len Barker's 1981 gem. I was pretty moved by the article so I guess I'm really missing good baseball.

The amazing modern baseball invention that is interleague play is back and that can only mean that I once again can be reminded the Brandon Phillips once played for the Indians and now plays for the Cincinnati Reds.

Game 1: Anthony Reyes, RHP (1-1, 6.88) vs. Bronson Arroyo, RHP (5-3, 6.56)
Game 2: David Huff, LHP (0-1, 17.18) vs. Homer Bailey, RHP (0-0, -.--)
Game 3: Cliff Lee, LHP (2-5, 2.90) vs. Johnny Cueto, RHP (4-2, 2.35)

At 21-19 the Reds are four games back of the Brewers. Here's hoping David Huff is over his debut jitters. This is a series we can win, and can just as easily get swept. You can't make predictions with this team, except that whatever happens it will probably be impressive, be it in a bad or good way.

Go Tribe!

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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