Thursday, April 9, 2009

Series Rewind: Indians-Rangers

The Texas Rangers wiped the floor with the Indians in Arlington, Texas to kick off 2009. Three games, three losses for the Erie Warriors: 9-1, 8-5 and 12-8. Yup, that’s 9.7 runs/game allowed. Easy to do when your starters rattle off the following gems:

Cliff Lee: 5 IP, 10 H, 7 R/ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 5K, 12.60 ERA
Fausto Carmona: 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R/ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 4 K, 10.80 ERA
Carl Pavano: 1 IP, 6 H, 9 R/ER, 2 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 1 K, 81.00 ERA

With 22 earned runs in 11 innings that is a cumulative 18.00 ERA by the starting staff. It’s tough to win when you are behind by 6 or more runs after three innings gentlemen, and I use that term loosely. Scott Lewis the bar has been set low for the home opener, my friend, god speed.

The offense slowly got itself together after looking putrid versus Kevin Millwood on Monday. The actually had a few extra base hits on Wednesday before jacking five homeruns on Thursday. It is difficult, however, to win a game when you are playing catch up after just a few innings.

A few feathers for some caps and some guys who need to be scalped.

· Masa Kobayahi – 2 Scoreless IP, 1 H, 1 BB in 2 appearances. No alternative lifestyle adult movie appearances. I don’t know which was more unlikely.
· Joe Smith – An easy scoreless inning of relief. Nice Tribe debut.
· Zach Jackson – Showing why he won the long relief spot in the pen.
· Victor Martinez – 5-12 with a long HR. Power slowly coming back but still a hitter.
· Travis Hafner – You hit the ball fair over the wall on a fly. It’s a start I guess.
· Trevor Crowe – Looked smooth in RF despite taking an 0-5 collar at the plate.
· Grady Sizemore – Two 2-R HR on Thursday. Three of his four this in the series were XBH.
· Asdrubal Cabrera – 2-2, 2 BB, 2 R, 1 RBUI on Thursday after looking overmatched the first two games.

· Starting pitching – See above. Special recognition for Carl Pavano for getting the Tribe down 5-0 after 14 pitches. FOURTEEN F’N PITCHES!!!
· Hitting with RISP – 1-4 on Monday. 1-16 on Wednesday. 1-5 on Thursday. That’s 3-25 overall. A sparkling .120 clip. Not good.
· Grady Sizemore – He led of each game with a strikeout. Table setting 101 says this is poor form. Six Ks in 14 ABs is also way too high.
· Jensen Lewis, Rafael Perez, Rafael Betancourt – You all pitched pretty well but you all gave up a home run in one of your appearances. Shame!
· Kerry Wood – Struck out the side but looked shaky giving up 2 hits, a walk and a run.
· Mark DeRosa – 0-12 collar for the series with 5 Ks. No a good debut. Hopefully the friendly confines of Progressive Field lead you to many hits.
· Travis Hafner – He still looks over matched to me despite the HR.

The Indians return home to Progressive Field for a 3 game set with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Tribe is 0-3, 2 GB Kansas City in the AL Central. Toronto is 3-1 and leads the AL East by ½ game over Baltimore and Tampa Bay.

A bad start for the Indians but keep this in mind… the last time the Tribe started 0-3 was 1996 and they won the AL Central that season.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Texas Baseball Masacre

Well the only way to go is up. The Tribe got rolled by the Texas Rangers 9-1 getting outplayed in all aspects of the game. Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee came off a brutal spring with an even worse opening day performance: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 R/ER, 1 monster HR to Hank Blaylock.

He got hit in his pitching arm in the 2nd and promptly gave up 4 runs with two outs for a 4-0 Texas lead. He went unscathed in the 3rd and 4th before Blaylock's jack in the 7th. He couldn't spot his fastball and most of his stuff was up in the the zone and against the potent Rangers, that is a recipe for disaster.

Cliff Lee's worst game last year was at Texas where he gave up 6 runs in 5 innings. He had a 6.17 ERA versus Texas last year. He had a 6.42 lifetime ERA versus Texas coming into today's game and it just went up. He historically struggles versus Texas. But let's see how he does on Saturday versus Doc Halladay and the Blue Jays before going ballistic.

I was more disappointed in the Indians managing only 5 hits and a walk versus the Rangers. Kevin Millwood was brilliant but other than a Shin-soo Choo liner in the 7th none of them were hard shots. I expect nothing from Travis Hafner until I see something that looks like Travis Hafner and a slap hit to left is not Travis Hafner.

He got into a number of 0-2 counts and those rarely turn out well. He did battle but produced an easy, inning ending double play with runners on first and third in the 3rd. I will say he actually looks a bit athletic after his weight loss. He scored the only run on a wild pitch that I don't think he scores on at his previous weight. But the Indians need the Pronk version of Travis Hafner not the slap-hitting version.

One game but a crappy one at that. Fausto Carmona looks to rebound from an awful, injuried plagued 2008 on Wednesday. New day, new ballgame. Go Tribe.