Monday, August 10

August and Everything After

August isn't the the best month for sports. The weather tends towards the warm side and the only real game in town is baseball. Those people excited about NFL camp are generally ignored. The fact that our Indians are having one of their worst seasons in fifteen even twenty years doesn't help either.

Last week I mentioned the fact that the Dolans look to lose $16 mil on this 2009 version of the Indians. That, along with the fact that it seems all we can hope for is making the playoffs every four to five years, still is weighing on me. I even thought about making a whole post about it but the last thing this blog needs is more Indians coverage (by me at least). So I decided to just roll it into a series recap. Previously I had thought of the Indians as the only real smart kid on the block (yeah I know that's silly in hindsight). Sure, we were never going to have a big payroll but we would have smart decisions on young guys and make decent decisions on signing grizzled veterans to cheap one-year deals. The more I think about it, though, the Indians can't possibly be that dissimilar to other clubs, right?

The good news is the Al Central will never be as big spenders as the East and West coast teams. Although the White Sox picking up both Jake Peavy and Alex Rios this year may look like big money, their decision to pick up Rios and his remaining $60 million make me actually feel more secure in the Indians' front office decision-making process. As long as the Indians aren't one of those teams that appears to not be trying or just throwing occasional crazy money at the problem (Why did the Cincinnati Reds need Scott Rolen again?) then I should be happy.

Speaking of those White Sox of Chicago the Indians had a weird three-game road trip wrap yesterday and boy have these last few series taught us a lot about the AL Central. Friday was the Jeremy Sowers/Mark Buehrle pitching matchup we had all been looking forward to. And you know what, Sowers probably pitched his best game this year and I will not criticize him for the rest of the season. Sowers went seven innings limiting Chicago to just two runs on six hits. Buehrle, on the other hand, hasn't been the same since his streak of recording outs. Kelly Shoppach pretty much was a one-man offense accounting for three hits, two runs, and four RBI on a two home run night. Tribe (47-62) win 6-2.

Saturday's game was pretty much a spring training game. Having traded Carl Pavano last week the Indians had to find a spot starter. I asked FCF writer and editor Andy who he though would start - Justin Masterson or Tomo Ohka. He later informed me that Masterson was the announced starter. This was a little surprising since I knew Masterson couldn't have gotten enough work in to go very deep, and I was right. What I forgot about was how these games don't really matter as wins or losses. No, this game was more an opportunity to get Masterson some work as a starter. So the good news is Masterson did pretty well. He reached his 60-pitch limit after four innings but only gave up one run on four hits and four strikeouts. Not too shabby. The bad news was that he was replaced in the bottom of the fifth by Ohka. Ohka lasted 0.1 innings and allowed four runs on four hits. This, unfortunately, squandered a decent effort by not only Masterson but the offense as well. The doubles machine that is Jhonny Peralta continued on driving the Indians' success at the plate, but it wasn't enough to overcome asking our bullpen to cover the post-Masterson innings. Indians (47-63) lose 5-8.

Sunday's game was most notable for the offensive outburst (outburst) of Jamey Carroll. If the Indians hold to their usual 2009 script, that can only mean Carroll should be claimed off waivers any day now. Carroll only had two hits but one of those was a home run, just his second of the year, and the other was a double that scored two to give the Tribe a 4-3 lead after trailing 3-0. Pitching-wise, David Huff had one of those ho-hum games. He was tagged for three runs in the second but settled down and ended up going 6.1 and allowing four runs. I guess not imploding is a good thing. White Sox pitcher Jose Contreras, on the other hand, could only muster 4.2 innings. Reportedly manager Ozzie Guillen was quoted as saying that the Cuban-born Contreras didn't pitch well due to the heat. Really? Because doesn't make a lot of sense. They got summer in Cuba right? Tribe (48-63) win 8-4 and take another series.

I don't remember the last time I looked at the Indians in the standings. Wow my preseason prediction of the Royals not finishing in last place isn't looking too good.

Game 1: Dustin Nippert, RHP (3-0, 2.73) vs. Aaron Laffey, LHP (5-3, 3.58)
Game 2: Tommy Hunter, RHP (4-2, 2.63) vs. Fausto Carmona, RHP (2-6, 6.66)
Game 3: Scott Feldman, RHP (11-4, 4.01) vs. Jeremy Sowers, LHP (4-7, 4.75)

Hey you remember the Texas Rangers right? They were that team the Indians faced on the crap-tacular opening series way back in April. Look at those Ranger pitcher records, weird. You know who I like in game 3? That's right, Jeremy Sowers.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

1 comment:

Andy said...

August is in fact, by my reckoning, the worst month of sports in the calendar.

This team has become pretty watchable recently. Nice to beat up on the AL Central teams as well, not because we have any shot at the division, but because I don't like those teams. I guess I don't like AL West or East teams either. Or NL teams.

Nice Wesley Willis reference!