Friday, May 25, 2007

Who can it be now? Who can QB now?

The Browns have a ton of holes and a ton of questions heading into the 2007 NFL season but the one in the front of every one's minds is "Who's gonna be QB1?"

Charlie? Brady? DA? It sure as hell ain't gonna be Ken Dorsey. Will they trade for an established veteran? The recently cut Kelly Holcomb need not apply.

I hope to break down the pros and cons of all three in the coming week and give my $0.02 on who it's gonna be. Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday.

No Excuse... The Real Test Awaits

You can't lose 2 of 3 to the Royals. You can't. I don't care that Jeremy Sowers actually pitched well. I don't care that the Indians scored 10 runs. I don't care that Jason Michaels continues to shine in a platoon role and I don't care that Ryan Garko is knocking the crap out of the ball. You can't lose 2 of 3 to the Royals.

Last year the Indians were awful in the Central Division. Losing record. Versus every team. Bad Sox, check. Tigers, check. Twinkies, check. Worst team in baseball, the Kansas City Royals, check. They are 10-4 as of this morning in the Central Division this year. Better. You still can't lose 2 of 3 to the Royals. Unacceptable.

Yet they still remain 1/2 game behind Detroit for first place int he AL Central. The real test begins tonight. Three games at Detroit. Three games at Boston. Followed by four games at The Jake against Detroit. That's ten games against arguably the two best teams in the American League.

Normally a 6-4 record in those 10 games would be great. Not after you lose 2 of 3 to the Royals. I want 7-3. The Tribe needs 7-3. They need to make a statement. They made one early on after getting swept by the Yankees. That was Crossroads #1. Now they need one to redeem themselves after the Kansas City showing. Crossroads #2.

Grady needs to stay hot. Pronk need to heat up. Dellucci needs to actually produce. Cabrera, Mastny and Koplove need to define themselves. The defense needs to remain steady. The starters need to go deep into the games. And the collective bullpen unit needs to get their heads out of their asses.

It's go time.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Eat a fat (bleep), Hargrove!

Thanks again to clutching hitting by Casey Blake and Josh Barfield and an appearance by "Good" Joe Borowski, the Indians took Game #1 of the Snow Make-Up games against the Seattle Mariners, 5-2 at The Jake. C. C. Sabathia pitched five, trouble plagued innings, but managed only to give up one run despite having multiple runners on base in almost every inning. Tom Mastny and Rafael Betancourt combined to contribute 3 innings of scoreless baseball to give the Indians time to take the lead on Blake's solo home run in the 6th and Barfield's two run double and Grady Sizemore's sacrifice fly in the 7th.

A solid effort all around as Trot Nixon and Jhonny Peralta contributed 2 hits each, Victor Maritnez contributed yet another RBI single with a runner in scoring position and aforementioned pitching effort by the staff. Joe Borowski inherited a bases loaded, no out situation created by Roberto Hernandez and held the Mariners to one run on no hits after he came into the game. So as long a the Indians aren't up by 3 or more, Joe is good to go.

The Indians improved to 17-4 at home as next up is the start of a three game series against the Royals in Kansas City.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tribe Takes 2 of 3 From Reds

Another strong outing from Paul Byrd backed up by superb bullpen support from Aaron Fultz, Rafael Betancourt and Joe Borowski keyed a 5-3 win for the Indians as the took yet another series, 2-1, this time against their interleague "rival" Cincinnati Reds.

Jhonny Peratla and Josh Barfield continue to heat up as both delivered clutch hits and it was an overall team effort to secure the series win. Fultz and Betancourt worked out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the eighth inning by giving up only one run.

Peralta, Sizemore and Garko led Friday night's barrage as Sizemore continues to be hot. As Clif Lee was solid yet unspectacular. Hafner seemed to get on track a bit but I do still wonder when he will "explode" this year and go on a tear of 2006 Pronk-like proportions.

The only major causes for concern are young Jeremy Sowers whose ERA swell to 7.13 for the campaign after his 7 run, 6 inning performance on Saturday, and Fernando Carbera who gave up another 3 runs (1 earned) in 1/3 of an inning in the same game. Sowers is going to make the Fausto Carmona decision an easy one in a few weeks when Jake Westbrook is slated to come of the DL. Jeremy Sowers will be headed to Buffalo if he doesn't start to get in gear.

Andy Marte was activated off of the DL and Franklin Gutierrez was optioned to AAA Buffalo. But in a smart move it was announce he will split time at 3B with Casey Blake who has been hot since moving back to third base and into the #2 hole in the batting order. Marte will start against lefties with Blake moving to RF allowing Ryan Garko (with a sprinkling of Pronk and Vic) to man 1B full-time. If it ain't broke don't fix it. And for a change Eric Wedge has decided to follow that philosophy.

Tomorrow: Make up game #1 of the Snow Series from April against the Mariners before heading off to Kansas City for the start of a 9 game road trip against the Royals, Tiger and Red Sox. A true test of just how good the Indians are.