This week has been one where I was either working or watching ballgames live at a ballpark or playing the game or trying to catch up on rest. Whatever you may think, it has been a busy time.
Since I last wrote a blog, my thoughts were focused on Pavano pitching like the ace of the staff this year. What happens? He gets shelled. It was a night I wish I would have taken off early when working at the gate. Instead, I stayed and saw the worst game of the year so far performed by the team. The team gave up early and the effort given was inexcusable.
The next night, it was clear on paper that we were going to outdueled by Zack Greinke, a candidate for the AL Cy Young What happened? We got to him late and pulled off an upset thanks to Jhonny Peralta key hit to tie the game up with a shot that almost went off the left field wall. Shin Soo-Choo later hit a bird that was well publicized. It caught the attention of one of co-workers the next day saying they were a good luck charm. Also, he thought, it might be a sign that we need to change the name of the team to the Lake Erie Seagulls instead of the Cleveland Indians. Whatever results from this suggestion, the team more importantly won another series.
Friday was a spectacular night. The sun was shining. The atmosphere was buzzing. In were coming the St. Louis Cardinals. Someone told me without naming the source that nationally, the Cardinals were the third or fourth most followed team in the nation as a whole behind the Yankees and Dodgers at least. Although, I think the Red Sox are above the Cardinals in popularity, nationally. Anyway, scouting the Cardinals as I was, (Mind you, I am an amateur) I found the Cardinals to be a team where Pujols is the only one to worry about on that team. Hey he hit 2 homeruns and drove in a third to help the Cards score 3 runs while our team approach was good enough Friday to score 7. Game 1 of the series belonged to the Tribe.
Saturday I went to the game with my children and my wife. We sat in the upper deck to see Albert Pujols hit another two home runs. Someone please tell Wedge, the manager that it’s okay to walk Pujols. Quit pitching to him. No one else seemed to hit that much. To solve the bird problem, the team kept shooting fireworks to keep the birds off the field and it worked. The effort offensively was not there this day and it resulted in a loss.
After the game, the birds were everywhere on the field as the fans including my family were treated to Major League. For Cleveland Indians fans, this will always be a classic.
Sunday afternoon, my family again attended a minor league game at Classic Park to see a game between the Lake County Captains and the Phillies affiliate from Lakewood, New Jersey. Lakewood is on their way to winning the first half of the South Atlantic League. The Captains fell behind early yet scored 4 in the bottom of the ninth to make it interesting and almost pull off a solid comeback. Wow, what a finish! Unfortunately it was not enough as the Captains fell short losing 9-7. Hey we were down 9-3 and were able to make it interesting at the end.
Sunday night, I needed a break from baseball. Yet I still wanted to watch to scout the Indians hitters since I needed to perhaps pick one to continue my streak from Beat the Streak. Here I was surprised to find how easily our team was getting to Chris Carpenter. On paper, I was thinking again that a loss might be ours. Why? Cliff Lee led the league in hits allowed and Albert Pujols was a hitting machine. Yet, this is not what happened. Instead, Mark DeRosa hit a two-run homerun and Kelly Shoppach hit a solo shot and had a double. This alone was enough to beat the Cards. Pujols and the rest of the Cards were almost no-hit by Cliff Lee. A three hit shutout was thrown by Lee on the second consecutive national television audience. What it meant was a third consecutive series win by the Indians. All I can say is WOW!
One nice thing to see from the Cardinals’ series was the amount of Cubs’ fans with DeRosa on the back of their jerseys amidst all the Cardinal fans that showed up. Way to go Tribe and way to go, fans!
Tonight, the NL Central leading Brewers are in town. Its’ again time for Pavano to erase the poor start he had against KC. He will be going up against Dave Bush who lost his last four starts. Hopefully this series winning mentality will be continued. We shall see. Go Tribe!
When you have a limited amount of time to get your point across, you have have to choose carefully how to summarize a whole lot in short order. Such has been my blog lately especially today.
Half of baseball is 90% mental…Yogi Berra
The mental approach from the Tribe early on and later on by the Royals was terrible, yet when the mental errors are in your favor, it helps. Still early on I was not happy seeing the Indians fall down 4-0 and basically throwing away a golden opportunity to improve the team.
Still seeing the Royals return the favor was a welcome relief. The mental approach returned to the Tribe after their offense was uplifted by the Royals. What I envisioned as a big, big mess was turned into a big blast thanks to Mark DeRosa’s grand slam.
I return to the park today excited that this streak can continue with this year’s best pitcher on the team in Carl Pavano. He has been giving us ace-like outings and I hope this continues.
Keep the mental edge going and work hard to continue what you have started, Tribe! Keep the winning going!
For all my whining, all the sighs, frowns, grunts, curse words, from others and myself, the outlook today for the Cleveland Indians at 24-33 and 6 games out of 1st place gives me great hope. That’s right, GREAT HOPE! The true ace of the staff this year is Carl Pavano, well at least a #2 starter. Why, you may ask? Consistency. We can count on him to go out and give the team a boost. Now if only we could see this same effort from all parties today.
Today Jeremy Sowers will go out and try to give us another boost against Gavin Floyd. Hopefully if everything goes the Tribe’s way, this performance will be repeated.
Chi White Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Floyd (L, 2-3) 5.0 11 8 8 3 3 0 7.32
These were Gavin Floyd’s numbers against the Tribe back on May 11th, 2009. Another thing to make a note against Floyd is his 6.65 ERA in day games. However, Gavin is much better at home than on the road. Today’s game will be at home for him.
Sowers will take a 12.60 ERA for road games into today’s action. I just hope he can give more of what he has shown against Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees today against the White Sox. His numbers however if the past is any indicator have also been shaky against the pale hose.
Cleveland IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Sowers (L, 0-2) 4.0 7 5 5 3 3 3 12.00
This game will be seen on Fox locally today. I am looking to see an offensive shootout with us coming out on top. Let’s do it men in memory of Richard Jacobs!
My thoughts on Pronk:
Glad he finally arrived to take some pressure off Victor. I hope that he understands that he is truly a leader for our team. If consistency prevails for him, we should be that much better offensively. The question is IF! Well, I said in past blog entries that I had no expectations for this team so I should just sit back and enjoy this. I just want good health for him. After all, with Grady, Asdrubal and others either on the D.L. or struggling, seeing him hit that homerun is just what this offense needs. Now what we need from him is consistency. Here’s hoping and praying this is the case.
My thoughts on Carmona:
I’m glad he is where he is as long as he gets straightened out. He was not showing his dominant side. I was hearing rumors about him from some people I work with who are close to him. He was not in a good place so this move was necessary if those stories were true. Rather than assume and speculate about their validity, I will just hope Fausto gets the help he needs to become the pitcher we need him to be.
This news brought welcome relief to my weary soul. With the World Baseball Classic over, I have prepared myself to move forward. Yet, yesterday, I found myself dragging myself down wondering what I should write about. I just wrote about the NL West and what I hope to see in 2009. More previews will be coming. Yet the state of the Indians seemed to be stalled. With all the rain today in the Cleveland area, I felt like this car.
C’mon, move already! My ideas and motivation felt stranded. I just could not get the energy to move out of this mess. Another 2-2 tie. Everything just is not coming to me. Suggestions from friends and family and co-workers ranged from “Write about the recent cuts the Tribe made.” to “Write about the NL Central” to “take the rest of the preseason off.” After taking all these suggestions to heart, the news came across the wire that helped me use the rain to my advantage and get the car, or in this case, “talk about the Tribe” moving again. All of a sudden, I went from feeling hopeless to feeling like Gene Kelly.
The car loaded with ideas was moving and I was rejoicing over the news of the starting rotation being set. My soul exhaled with euphoria over this decision. “Finally” I thought, for better or worse, what a great relief! I was definitely thinking “for the better”, however. I am definitely excited when I see this rotation.
Although Cliff Lee had a career year in 2008, he goes into 2009 with a great attitude and wanting to give the Indians the opportunity to win each and every game he pitches. If he can give us 15 or more wins, I will be satisfied. I am looking forward to seeing what he can give us this 2009 season and how we respond.
Fausto Carmona is looking like the true ace of our staff so far in 2009. However, it has been Spring Training. If you would ask me to decide, I would make Fausto the #1 starter. However, Cliff has the experience of acing the staff last season down the stretch after CC Sabathia was traded. Being the defending 2008 Cy Young Award Winner gets him the ranking. However, one can bet that like in 2007, if Fausto can become the #1A or true #1, Cliff Lee will not be upset and the team will benefit from this decision tremendously. I hope Fausto can stay healthy down the stretch and really make this team great again.
Carl Pavano is the unproven #3 who we are banking on to be like he was with the Marlins. It is my hope that I see solid efforts from Carl keeping us in games and making the games interesting for our team. If we can recapture that “promised” effort seen with the Marlins, look out! We are going to be a team to be reckoned with. The key is HEALTH. With good HEALTH, comes WEALTH!
Anthony Reyes is our best effort at #4. Hopefully, he can gain some momentum to keep us in ballgames and gain us some much needed wins down the stretch. He will be an asset for us down the stretch if he stays healthy.
Finally, Mr. Lewis is one that has shown the maturity that is needed to take the ball when called upon. I really like his emotional makeup and am excited to see how he does as our #5.
Bottom Line: With all these starters, there is a confidence that we are sending our best five starters out there. I pray for health and consistency from these men and really think these men have what it takes to take the Indians where they want to go in 2009. This decision has me dancing. I believe these five can help us match up best against the American League. I am looking forward to April 6th now more than I was this morning! Way to go Tribe!
Its the first day of Spring! Hooray! What does this mean? It depends on who you ask?
For some, it means Spring Cleaning!
For others, its means continued soul searching
For some its time to think about getting the lawn back in shape
Some desire to get thin after the long Winter slumber!
Whatever the reason or motivation, the change from Winter to Spring is great, yet challenging. For the Indians organization, this was no exception. As was reported from various Indians media sources, quite a lot of things happened in the last few days.
First, Adam Miller, one of the Indians top prospects was reported to have to have career threatening surgery unless he can learn to change the way he throws and gain enough command to maintain the ability to compete as a pitcher.
Next, the great trim happened for 15 players on the Spring Training Roster.
Along with Adam Miller, RHPs John Meloan and Juan Salas, LHP Tony Sipp and 2B Luis Valbuena were optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
RHP Hector Rondon and C Carlos Santana were optioned to Double-A Akron.
RHP Jack Cassel, LHP David Huff, C Armando Camacaro, 1B Jordan Brown, 3B Wes Hodges, INF Jesus Merchan, 1B Beau Mills and OF Stephen Head were reassigned to Minor League camp.
Just when I thought the routine was over, the news broke that Fausto Carmona now was bruised in the forearm in an intrasquad game and is now day to day. Quick, someone get these guys healthy for April 6th. I want to think we have a team left not looking like this before the season starts.
Luckily Aaron Laffey came out healthy again. His stats against the Brewers at Maryvale Stadium were 4 innings pitched, 3 runs all earned, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts and no homeruns. There was nothing that told me the fifth starter wasn’t his to have, still.
Today, Carl Pavano is scheduled to faceoff against the A’s in Goodyear. My goals are to stay in good health and just hang on until April 6th. I just hope all the players and coaches can just hang on, stay healthy out of camp and continue healthy throughout the upcoming 2009 season.
After all, in Ohio, its all about hanging on…
By the way, good luck to Ohio State and Cleveland State today. Hopefully both can hang on today also in the 64 team NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. We shall see.
Yesterday I felt good, today I feel even better, especially since watching MLB Network’s 30 clubs in 30 days report last night featuring the Tribe.
Here are some things I observed: Pavano feels more like himself because he can grow out his facial hair and is not as pushed in camp as he has been with other teams in the past. I get this sense that Carl is going to do really well for us in 2009.
In hearing Wood, he understands it is more intense as a closer than as a starter. It seems that he really relishes the role given to him by the Tribe and welcomes it with open arms.
Sizemore is the true leader of the club as a whole. He chooses to lead by example and feels in can constantly improve. He even said this despite being 30/30( 30 H, 30 SB) last year. He still hasn’t hit his peak, he believes.
Hafner, fresh off losing some weight is building up his timing and strength as he prepares for the season. He believes he can and will contribute for the team.
Lee, understanding that he very well will have a setback for 2009, still said something that he plans to give his team a chance to win each and every week. He is still working on locating his fastball.
The panelists seemed to agree that the team’s success all lies in the starting pitching and the rotation. They all picked the tribe to finish first in the AL Central for 2009.
Excellent show! It was great to hear from so many key players, GM Mark Shapiro, and Manager Eric Wedge. If you are an Indians fan like me, everythhing sounded so sweet, you wanted to jump up and say “we are definitely going to the World Series for 2009 afte watching this show.” My wife brought me back to reality by telling me to temper my enthuasiasm and said “All 30 teams feel this way at this time of year.”
I admit I was upset when Grady pulled out of the WBC. I thought there was no point to this over glorified Spring Training. I guess I was too excited in 2006. The USA then was eliminated right off the bat. Now I’m liking what I’m seeing from the USA with DeRosa and South Korea with Choo. I know I am such a homer. I have to admit I’m on the bandwagon with this contest finally.
I’m writing this, hoping the Netherlands pulls out their game with the Dominican Republic. I just see them as a team that needs no superstars or headlines, just a heart that will not quit. I hope I can see them go to another round. It just ended as i was typing. The Netherlands are moving on and the D.R. has been upset.
USA, South Korea, Netherlands, are gaining my cheers so far. Hopefully more teams will gain my support as the tourney continues. I have my choices but I don’t want to ruin their chances of advancing to round 2 so I will have to see what happens.
The Tribe showed me a lot with their offense and Wood did exactly what I expected. Much pressure was talked about today with the rotation and Scott Lewis showed his inexperience. I would have to say that the rotation as it stands on 3/10/09 is as follows:
Lee, Carmona, Pavano, Reyes and Jackson…hey why not? This is how I would run it if I had to make a decision today