Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Building Blocks

Yes, they lost 2 of 3 to Boston but didn't you get the vibe that the Indians weren't intimidated at all by the Red Sox? The Red Sox are undoubtedly the best team in all of baseball by far after 1/3 of the 2007 season. After sweeping the then 1st Place Tigers in Detroit the Indians came up short in Boston... but not by too much. The Tribe managed to put up a few runs and keep it close in the first two games but ultimately came up with only 1 win (tonight 8-4).

They ran into two dominating pitching performances from Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett. Both guys were totally unhittable. Throw in the fact that Papelbon and Okajima have been lights out coming in from the bullpen and it was a true measuring stick against the best in the game right now.

The pitching staff while not spectacular held the #1 offense in baseball to 5, 4 and 4 runs. Cliff Lee and Jeremy Sowers didn't pitch great but they didn't pitch as bad as they have been throughout the year. Cabrera, Hernandez and Koplove are still struggling to define their roles but Mastny, Fultz and Betancourt continue to be rocks.

Sizemore, Dellucci and Pronk struggled in the first game but slowly started to show signs of life in games 2 and 3. Josh Barfield continues to deliver in the clutch and I learn to respect Kelly Shoppach, the game he calls and how he plays more an more each time he plays. Yes, there still were missed scoring opportunities in each game but consider the opponent.

So what does this all mean right now? On May 30th, 2007 the Cleveland Indians are somewhat better than the Detroit Tigers, not as good as the Boston Red Sox and probably better than everyone else in the American League. That's not too shabby.

The MLB season is a war of attrition and all about how you respond to it. The Indians came out of the gate, despite Snowgate, at 6-3. After getting hammered in 3 games versus the Yankees, they won 11 of the next 13. After a bad West Coast Trip they swept the Twins. After struggling in KC they swept the Tigers. The just lost 2 of 3 to the best team in baseball... let's see what they have in store for the Tigers who visit The Jake for 4 games, where the Tribe is a league best 17-4.

On a side note I owe an apology to the "Rem-Dog" Jerry Remy. I used to dread getting the NESN feed on DirecTV because of the Rem-Dog's Boston accent. But one you get past that wicked accent he's insightful, genuine and very funny. A homer but not to the point that he's making things up or making no sense. That asinine behavior is reserved for the White Sox broadcast crew, who are so blatantly homers that it makes them look totally inept. My apologies, Rem-Dog!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Who can QB? - Derek Anderson

In my first look at the Browns QB situation we look at third year pro Derek Anderson.

Year: 3
Height: 6'-6"
Weight: 230
College: Oregon State
Started 38 consecutive games for the Beavers on his was to becoming the school's all time leader in passing yardage and touchdowns culminating in a 38-21 defeat of Notre Dame in the 2004 Insight Bowl where he was named the game MVP. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 6th Round of the 2005 NFL Draft. The Browns claimed him in Week 3 of the '05 season when the Ravens placed him on waivers in hopes of stashing him on their practice squad.

Prototypical size for NFL quarterback. Above average mobility despite his lanky frame. Quick, accurate release. Strong arm with plenty of zip on the football. Stays in the pocket under pressure and is shifty enough to dodge and shrug off potential tacklers. Intelligent player with a good football senses.

Became too predictable to the opposing defense with each passing start. Defences were able to disguise coverages very effectively causing him him to be confused and throw into coverage more often that not. Sometimes too much of a gunslinger as he seemed prone to the interception when trying to force throws. Unable to make an effective read off the line of scrimmage which leads him to lock onto one receiver.

DA seems to have all the "tools" to be an effective NFL quarterback. Whether or not he can refine those tools into being an effective NFL quarterback is yet to be seen. He seemed to thrive in the back-up QB role by single handedly winning the Kansas City game and being the only man to show up for the Thursday night game in Pittspuke. Needs to work the mental side of quarterbacking to succed long term. I see him being the prototypical back-up QB who can come into the game in relief or make a spot start and thrive but I think his tendancies make him too predictable to be the long term starter.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Now THAT is what I am talking about!

After a piss poor performance against the lowly Royals the Tribe bounced back and swept the Tigers, in Detroit, and you got the vibe in each game that the Indians were not going to be denied winning in any game.

The series was highlighted by clutch home runs and quality starting pitching each night. Josh Barfield provided the blast on Friday with David Dellucci doing the honors Saturday and Ryan Garko providing tonight's heroics. Paul Byrd, C. C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona picked up the wins for the Erie Warriors and Joe Borowski notched a save in all three contests, giving him the MLB lead with 17. And even more stunning he didn't allow a run in any of the games. Wow! Very un-Joe Borowski like.

Great bounce back after the Kansas City joke. Great start to the 19 game Tigers series this year as the Indians went 6-13 against Detroit last year. And a road sweep makes it even sweeter as they only went 3-7 in Detroit in 2006.

The Indians are starting to hit a bit as they averaged 6 runs over the series. It seems that they are starting to come up with the clutch hits they need. These hits tended to avoid the Tribe in mid-May. The starting pitching has been key as it limits the exposure to the very skittish bullpen as, other than Borowski and Rafael Betancourt, the members have yet to define their roles yet.

The test continues as the Indians head to Boston for a 3 game set against the Red Sox who currently own the best record in the bigs at 34-15. As always we'll get to see Manny "Scum" Ramirez and his infamous tinkles behind the Green Monster. You stay classy ManRam!