Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Indians Need A Leader... and Some Heart

As I write this the Cleveland Indians are getting their ass kicked by the Detroit Tigers, 10-1, after 5 innings. The Tigers have 10 runs on 10 hits. The Indians have 1 run on 1 hit, a solo home run by David Dellucci. David F@#$iING Dellucci. No offense to The Looch but he's not exactly the creme de la creme. After his home run, the next 14 Indians in a row were retired... by Armando Galarraga. Who the F@#$ is Armando Galarraga?!?

2008 has started about as bad as possible for the Wig-Wamers. No semblance of an offense. Defensive gaffes. Scattered starting pitching especially from their so called "ace". A shaky bullpen that has their hierarchy jumbled by their closer going on the DL. No vote of confidence from Joe Borowski here, but the bullpen hierarchy is a delicate balance. Truly the perfect storm for pain and agony for the Cleveland Faithful.

It's not just that they are losing, it's HOW they are losing. It has encompassed all stages of the game. Impatient, hurried at bats. Last year the Indians' propensity to work the count in their favor was fruitful. This year the number of at bats wasted by the Tribe in unfathomable. And it's not like they have faced the upper echelon of starting pitching int he American League. I'm legitimately scared to see them against the proven, veteran pitchers in the league. Oh yeah, and why do we F@#$iING strike out so much!

Bush league fielding that leaves you shaking your head. Casey Blake has butchered an inordinate amount of balls at 3rd base in the first two weeks of the season. The flat out stupidity throughout the season in the field has been ridiculous. Asdrubal Cabrera throwing home instead of taking a sure out at first. As-man is a term of an endearment, my man, not a put down, don't make it become one. Sure-handed Franklin Gutierrez bobbling balls in RF. Tonight, on an easy tag out at home, Victor Martinez thinks it's a force out and doesn't tag the runner. Good Lord, are you guys baseball players or F@#$iING retarded?

The pitching is like a roulette wheel from hell with a new culprit sabotaging victory each game. If the Indians actually get a lead it doesn't matter if it's a starter or a reliever, the Tribe pitching staff is more than happy to give it right back. And it's Christmas for the opposition as the Tribe is handing out home runs and walks like they are baby dolls and bicycles. Joe Borowski has been hurt since Spring Training but the Cleveland brass decided to just F@#$iING ignore it. Awesome! No one else in the bullpen can string together two successive good outings. Sweet! C. C. Sabathia has been pitching like Complete Crap and leads MLB in leads surrendered, home runs, hits allowed, walks, and in WHIP (2.56). That's 23 hits and walks per 9 innings. I want to punch myself in the face!

And no one seems to care. I said it. No one seems to care.

I have never been an Eric Wedge supporter or detractor. I like his philosophy of keeping an even keel. The fact he sticks with veterans a little to long bugs me. I like that he keeps things in house. The Bill Belichick Mr. Roboto press conference do leave something to be desired. I think his emphasis of winning series and the AL Central is the right approach. But this 2008 team seems to have no fire, no drive, no passion and no heart. Grady Sizemore, Jake Westbrook, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez and Jamey F@#$iING Carroll seem to be the only ones on the 25 man roster this doesn't apply to. The rest just seem to be walking through the motions without a care in the world and it makes me sick.

But more of this falls on the players themselves. Despite his declining bat and bad back, perhaps Trot Nixon's leadership, clubhouse presence and rally pies were more valuable that we thought. Maybe the experience and guidance that Kenny Lofton brought in his third stint in Cleveland was worth re-upping him for one more year. That spark, that look, that feeling we got watching the Indians in 2007 in no where to be found in 2008. Unless someone steps up, becomes a leader and rights the ship it's going to be a long, painful year... and it's not even 10% complete.

The Tribe still has the pieces to make a run at the big prize. Whether they want to live up to their potential is up to them. But the longer they wait the longer the odds of that happening become. Until then fans of the Erie Warriors have little to hang their hats on.

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