Monday, April 13, 2009

Series Review: Blue Jays-Indians

Well at least they won one. The Tribe dropped the first two in almost the same fashion they dropped all three to the Rangers to open the season. They got behind early thanks to poor starting pitching and then failed to come through with the clutch hit with runners in scoring position. The ugly numbers:

Game 1 - 1-5 RISP, 11 K, 8 LOB, 1 DP
Game 2 - 1-9 RISP, 9 K, 8 LOB, 2 DP
Game 3 - 2-7 RISP, 11K, 11 LOB, 1 DP
Totals - 4-21 RISP (.190), 31 K, 21 LOB, 4 DP

The strikeouts totals are maddening. The Tribe striking out over 10 times a game is just a killer. Teams are going to make outs but when a third of those outs are completely unproductive it makes it very difficult to win.

Not that advancing runners into scoring position would have mattered with the prestine .190 average with RISP. Add into in that your first two hitters Grady Sizemore (10 K in 25 AB for the season) and Mark DeRosa (11 in 26) are your main culprits it means the table isn't getting set as much as you need either.

Victor Martinez looks to be back to a hitting machine and Travis Hafner is actually showing signs of life despite still look a bit slow on his swing. Shin-soo Choo has started to rake and Rayn Garko has been an OBP machine. If the Tribe can cut down on the strikeouts and improve in the clutch this team will score a boatload of runs in 2009.

The starting pitching remains horrid. Scott Lewis landed himself on the DL with elbow soreness that he has had the last few starts of spring but never said anything about. Aaron Laffey will start in his place on Wednesday.

Cliff Lee had another poor outing giving up four runs in five innings pitched. He did rebound in the last two innings of the start by working out of jams for the first time in a while but had already worked his pitch count over 100.

Anthony Reyes was the first Tribe starter to last over five innings going six strong on Sunday. He gave up four runs but three came after Shin-soo Choo lost a ball in the sun in right field. Still he put the Indians in position to win and beat out the Washington Nationals for last remaining win less team... phew!

The bullpen was very bipolar as Vinnie Chulk looked decent in his Tribe debut and Jensen Lewis bailed the Tribe out of a mess on Sunday to help secure the victory. And what can you say about Kerry Wood? An Indians closer blowing away the side, all via strikeout, in the 9th inning was a sight for sore eyes.

On the other end of the spectrum Rafael Perez now sports a 14.73 ERA with three walks and no strikeouts. Joe Smith and Masa Kobayashi continue to walk opposing batters at an alarming rate and Rafael Betancourt has been so-so at beast in his appearances.

But hey they finally won one, and even at 1-5, only sit 2.5 games behind the 4-3 Detroit Tigers. A seven game road trip to Kansas City and having the honor of opening up New Yankee Stadium await them this week. Anything less than a 4-3 trip may leave them in an April hole that they are all too familiar with under Eric Wedge.

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