You’ve Got To Swing the Bat…

Words  cannot thoroughly express my furstration at the end of last night’s game.  Bases loaded, 2 Outs, down by one in the ninth….. called out on three straight pitches without so much as a swing.  Now I understand that Carlos Santana was following Shin Soo Choo who was walked to bring in a run, but Choo battled through that at bat.  After the pitcher tosses 2 straight down the middle, and you’re in an 0-2 count, you can NOT be thinking “I’m going to take this pitch.”

 

Another cliffhanger moment came when Hafner PH for Duncan with one on in the 8th, but nothing came on that.

 

Tonights Matchup @ 8:10 @ The K:

Justin Masterson (3-0, 1.33, R) vs Luke Hochevar (2-1, 4.21, R)

Accuscore has KC favorited 56/44, but I have to disagree. Hopefully, we’ll see another stellar outing from Masterson and the return of Sizemore to the lineup.  Although Hochevar’s numbers don’t look great, he got roughed up early in the season and has had strong outings for his last two appearances.  Hopefully the Tribe bats come around and give Masterson some run support.

Another Season, another blog entry

Well, the first 3 weeks of the season have gone by and I haven’t posted a thing.  We’ll briefly cover some updates and discuss tonight’s important matchup against the Royals.

 

The Indian are running red hot through the first 3 weeks of the season.

I was able to attend my first game of the season in Cleveland (Sunday of opening weekend).  I am now 3 for 3, for their first win of the season.

 

Now on to the important stuff:

Tonight @ 8:10 @ The K:

Jeanmar Gomez(First Start, R) vs. Bruce Chen (2-0; 2.37, 3 Starts, L)

 

Hopefully Gomez will contuinue his stellar work from Columbus in this start.  Chen is riding strong on two great outings, following getting roughed up in his first start of the year.  A win here is a big win for the tribe here, putting them 3 games aead in the ALC.  I know it’s still the first month of the season, but every game counts and every win here will pay dividends later in the season.

Look for a continued strong start from Sizemore, who has gone 5-for-9, with a HR and 2 RBI’s in his first two games.  The pitching thus far fromt he Tribe has been great and with a strong solid lineup steppingup to the plate, the Tribe could be a formiddable force in the AL.

 

 

We’re Back!

Well I haven’t been able to post in a while mostly because I have been wallowing in a sea of despair.  I watched (via mlb.tv) all three games over the weekend and it was simply tough to watch.

Yesterday was the first breath of fresh air in a while.  let’s talk about some key events

-A Pretty quality start by Carl Pavano.  He struggled a bit in the ^th and then again in the 7th but luckily we had…
-Another strong relief outing by our new star reliever Aaron Laffey (posting a 0.00 ERA over 2 relief appearances spanning 4 and 2/3′s innings)
-Also to note, another strong close fro Rafael Betancourt who is, as of late, becoming a mirror image of his dominant 07 season self.
-Most importantly, the bats have started to come aroudn following thr drought of this weekend.  The most consistent bat throughout that period has been Shin Soo Choo (on my fantasy team [sweet]).

Next game tonight at 7:05 against divison rival White Sox.

Biggest problems:  Jeremy Sowers (shitters) is on the mound
Biggest things to look forward to:  continueing hot bats, strong releief work

Opening Day 2009

Well, here’s a recap of Opening Day 2009…

     Overall, things did not work out too well for the Indians.  Cliff Lee got manhandled and the team didn’t provide any run support. First let’s focus on the Positive things that happened:
-Hafner and Martinez both got hits
-Kobayashi and Perez gave up 0 runs on 1 hit(Kobayashi)

Unfortunately, that’s about it for the positive side of things.  Now on to the negative:
-Cliff lee got shelled.
-Jensen Lewis gave up 2ER off 4 hits.
-The only run the Indians scored was the result of a wild pitch.
-Hafner and Martinez both grounded into double plays with runners on base.

Time to discuss. Although Hafner and Martinez both missed scoring opportunities, they both were able to put some wood behind some balls which is good for these two coming from poor seasons last year.

Predictions for 2009:
-Cliff Lee will have an “average” year, with a W-L record of right above .500. 
-Fausto Carmona will have a good year, posting somewhere between 15 and 20 wins.
-As the season goes on, we will see more power and consistency from Hafner.  Will he return to his former glory?  Not sure.
-Mark DeRosa will be a great asset this year in his versatility and consistent effort.

Ginter vs. Sowers

     Hey everyone.  There has been a big lapse in writing due to laziness.  I write again now as I write most times, irate.  First, let’s catch up on all we missed.  Stellar performance as usual from Cliff Lee in the All-Star Game pitching a great 2 first innings.

     Since the AllStar break, the Indians have gone 3-1, having gone 2-1 against Seattle and so far 1-0 against the Angels.  Tonight, Matt Ginter takes the mound against the Angels Jered Weaver.  I wrote a week or two ago before Ginter’s last [first] start.  He did pretty well with 5IP, giving up 5 Hits, no earned runs and no walks while striking out 5.  I read today on ESPN that he will be removed from the starting rotation when Fausto Carmona returns from the DL on Friday.  I think that based on tonight’s performance, he should have a shot at staying in the rotation. Whose spot should he take? Jeremy Sowers.

     Jeremy Sowers is 1-5 with a 7.33 ERA so far this season and put up 1-6 with a 6.42 ERA for the 2007 Season.  Since he first came up, Sowers has been sold to Indians fans as the “Wonder Boy” who will someday become a great pitcher. Well here’s a hint, “someday” is certainly not today.  Send him down to the minors for a season or two.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  If someone has 2 wins in 23 appearances, it’s time to let someone else step up to the plate.  I think that if Ginter does well tonight, the Indians should give him a shot at keeping his spot.  What would you take, a probable failure or a possible success?

    Congrats to Cliff Lee for pitching his way to his 13th win with a complete game win giving up only 2 Runs, with 2 Hits, 0 Walks, and 4 K’s.  Just one more step towards the AL Cy Young.

     Hopefully, Hafner and Martinez will follow Fausto’s return Friday.

HR Derby Results and All-Star Game Predictions

     Well, Grady didn’t do as well as I hoped, although he smacked a few long balls.  He hit 6 HR’s in the first round with the longest being 459 feet.  He hooked 3 or 4 balls fall that would have been home runs and would have earned him a spot int he second round.

     Justin Morneau ended up winning, but the real star was Josh Hamilton who hit 28 HR’s in the first round.  I am one of the people that firmly believe that the HR’s should carry over each round, INCLUDING the final round.  The people who make the rules obviously have the rules the way they are so that it could be exciting and the derby isn’t “pretty much won” in the second round.  Although it does make things a little more exciting, it’s a shame to see a person who put on an amazing show and broke the record to not come away with a win, especially since he hit 35 HR’s compared to Morneau’s 22, over 30 Outs each.

     Cliff Lee takes the mound tonight at 8PM on fox for the All-Star Game.  I honestly do not know how Cliff will fare.  If his nerves don’t get the best of him, he should be stellar as usual.

Indians Sweep

     The title ” I was right” can only be used so many times.  My pre-game predictions held true almost to the T.

-”I think we will continue to see the bats coming around from unexpected
places throughout the lineup.  The question is will it be enough to
topple the runs that Sowers is sure to give up.  Lastly, if there is a
lead, will the relief pitching preserve it or blow it?”

     Yesterday it was Garko, today it was Peralta.  As I predicted, Sowers got a bit roughed up, but the offensive explosion scored more runs than he gave up, and more importantly, the relief pitching was able to preserve the lead established during the 5th and 6th innings under Mastny’s pitching. Mastny, who has had a shaky, at best, season pitched 2 innings of lights-out baseball giving up no hits, walks, or runs while fanning two.  Solid performances continued from Mujica, Perez, and Kobayashi, in their respective roles.

     Hopefully this momentum will follow through the all-star break and into the second half of the season.  Best of luck to Grady in the HR Derby.  I predict he finishes in the top 3.

     Concluding thoughts:
-Pull the plug on Jeremy Sowers.  For the past two seasons he has been sold as this future “dream pitcher” but has consistently failed to deliver.  It’s time to try new things and get some solid arms int he rotation.  I know there are serious holes in the lineup due to Carmona and Westbrook being injured, but the team should be looking for reliable arms in the meantime.
-Keep pitching in this order:
1 – SP
2 – Mujica/Perez
3 – Mujica/Perez/Betancourt
4 – Kobayashi

Here’s to the lights-out ball that Cliff Lee is sure to pitch on Tuesday.

3 IN A ROW

     Well, my quote from Major League II yesterday came to fruition, as did my prediction of heavy run support, this time from Ryan Garko.  Of course, it figures that he turned on the offensive production two days after I dropped him from my fantasy team.  The Indians are sitting well with their confidence having been given a nice booster shot [no steroid jokes in baseball? haha].

    Tonight, Shakey Sowers starts against Scott Kazmir at 1:05.  I think we will continue to see the bats coming around from unexpected places throughout the lineup.  The question is will it be enough to topple the runs that Sowers is sure to give up.  Lastly, if there is a lead, will the relief pitching preserve it or blow it?  We have seen strong performances from Rafael Betancourt and Masa Kobayashi.  We saw a pretty terrible outing by Juan Rincon, but that was predicted by his previous outing [1.0IP, 1H, 2BB, 2K's on July 10th].  As predicted, Betancourt gave a strong performance because he cam in an inning before the 9th, where he tends to perform much better than in the closer role. 

     Encouraging news was Matt Ginter’s strong performance, which may help plug some of the hole’s in the starting rotation. Today should be a close game, but the momentum swings in favor of the Indians.

WIN STREAK!!

     An applicable quote from “Major League II”:
Lou Brown – “Ok, guys. We’ve won two games in a row. If we win tonight, its called a winning streak. It HAS HAPPENED before.

     Sure enough to my prediction, the Indians have got a little confidence back.  Cliff Lee earned his 12th win [finally].  Enough great things can’t be said about him. 12-2 with 2.31 ERA.  Now that the Indians have gotten some solid hits, their overall offensive confidence should be up.With the starting pitching still being relatively solid despite C.C’s departure, there should be some wins on the horizon, especially since the relief pitching has gotten it’s act together.

Batting Highlights
- Jhonny Peralta has been an RBI machine as of late, with 8 RBI’s int he past 5 games.

Pitching Highlights
- Cliff Lee earned his 12th win.
- Rafael Perez had another strong outing with 1.2 IP  giving up only 2 Hits and no Walks, while striking out 2.
- Edward Mujica has given up only 2 Hits and  0 Earned Runs in his last three outings.

     Matt Ginter [who? this guy] makes the start tonight against the Ray’s Garza [7-4, 3.51 ERA].  It should be exciting to see how Ginter does.  If he doesn’t get shelled in the first inning, he should get some decent run support.

Indians win one [for once]

      I haven’t written in a little while mostly out of pure disgust with the team’s performance.  Last night offered the first slight glimmer of hope of a non-catastrophic season.  Some objections to my hypothesis will probably be:
“So they won a game finally…  big deal”
“You can only lose for so long”
“Even a blind squirrel eventually finds a nut”
      Although I understand these objections, the win last night was important not solely because it was a win [or even a blowout for that matter], but because of how they got it.  The two main points here are batting and relief pitching.

      For the first time in about two weeks the Indians got some solid contact.  I previously posted that the bats were a huge concern, especially power hitting.  The four homeruns last night tend to lower that fear for me.  The post-Hafner/Martinez era called for some adjustment, but if the team can get the big hits without them, imagine the power when those two come back. Now, the relief pitching….

     Most importantly was Rafael Perez’s performance.  Here, he was performing in his normal 7th inning role, but happened to pitch the 8th as well. He pitched two full innings, earning 2K’s, 0 BB’s and 0 Hits.  Solid performance.  Next, Juan Rincon had a somewhat shaky closing performance, but managed to not give up any runs in the 9th [a rare occurrence so far this year for the Indian's closing staff].  He gave up 2 walks and 1 hit, but also got 2 K’s.

     After shuffling around the bullpen and the roles, there has finally been a solid relief performance.  Perez functions best when he comes in in the 7th or sometimes six, and generally does poorly if he comes in in the later innings.  Betancourt is damn good in the 8th, but usually terrible in the ninth.  The team still needs a solid closer.  Maybe it will be Rincon.  Perhaps Kobayashi.  Time will tell.

      Also, kudos to Sizemore and Cliff Lee on making the all-star team.  It’s a downright disgrace that Sizemore is on the reserve team, but hopefully a strong performance in the HR Derby will bring this young star further into the limelight.  Cliff Lee, should probably be dominant. 

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