Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Eight Men Out

You know what the funny thing is, its probably going to get worse! As each passing day flies by, GM Mark Shapiro's talent evaluations going into 2008 (hello David Dellucci and Jason Michaels in Left!) look worse and worse. Let us for once, not dwell on the pathetic offense we've watched all year (two runs on two hits last night, both in the first-inning). Remember at the beginning of the year when we heard all about the eight-man rotation and the best bullpen in baseball? Lets examine where we are today:

The "Eight -Man" Rotation

CC Sabathia - traded to Milwaukee. Started poorly and then came back into Cy Young form, with an ERA just over 2.00 since April 22. Never to be seen in an Indians uniform again.

Fausto Carmona - A 4-2 start was marred by a control problem (1.59 WHIP) and has been on the DL since May 25th with a hip injury. Should be back after the All-Star break.

Jake Westbrook - The rock of the rotation, beginning the first year of his three-year, $33 million extension, blew out his elbow and is out until next August after having Tommy John Surgery.

Paul Byrd - The master of control and not walking anyone, leads the Majors in Home Runs allowed (23), is 3-10 overall and was horrific in June, going 1-5 with a 7.47 ERA. Would be bounced from the rotation or even released if the Indians had any other options.

Cliff Lee - Who saw this one coming? 11-2, 2.43 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 99 K's to 19 walks? Looks like the All-Star game starter for the AL. Imagine how bad this rotation would be without the man we once referred to as"Stiff Lee."

Aaron Laffey - The 23 year old is a keeper. Looks even better than his solid 2007 finish where he saved the rotation when Lee melted down. Deserves better than his 4-5 record (3.45 ERA). Will be your #3 guy in '09.

Jeremy Sowers - The former #6 overall pick is the only Indians first-round pick in the last 10 years on the roster. Not that he deserves to be. With all of the injuries to the rotation, Sowers got his chance and has failed miserably. In eight starts, he is 0-5 with a 7.81 ERA. He doesn't strike anyone out (18 in 40 innings), gives up jacks (10), and loves putting guys on base (1.86 WHIP). In short, a soft-tosser with no command who looks 4A.

Adam Miller - The Indians top Pitching prospect, dubbed "Atom" Miller by our friends at The DiaTribe, continues to battle the injury bug. This time, it's a finger injury that has him out for the year and has ruined yet another year of development. No doubt he'd have been up by now, either in the bullpen or in the rotation, leading with his trademark 97 MPH heater.


So on July 9th, the rotation has a finished Byrd, a guy who shouldn't be in the majors in Sowers, a re-tread to be figured out at some point in the next day or two (looks like Matt Ginter - yikes), Laffey, and Lee. CC is gone. Fausto is DL'd, Jake is out for over a year, and Miller is out for the year. No team can overcome this, especially when your bullpen is currently ranked dead last in the AL and the offense puts the "P" in putrid.


And what about that bullpen? It currently sports such 4A specials as Edward Mujica, Brian Slocum, and Tom "Nasty" Mastny. It's been a revolving door of such winners as Rick Bauer, Craig Breslow, and Jorge Julio. Joe Borowski, aka Jo-Blow, has been rightfully dumped after showing us his 83 MPH fastball on a regular basis, and they wondered why he couldn't get the job done again this year. They tried Rafael Betancourt as a closer - didn't work. Masa Kobayashi has been given his shot, after his previous stint earlier this year failed (remember the Adam Dunn walkoff jack in Cincinnati that still hasn't landed?).

Jensen Lewis has been on the Buffalo shuttle since losing his velocity from a year ago. Betancourt, the most dominant set-up man in baseball a year ago, has been a shell of himself, posting an ERA of 5.67, walking 12, and allowing seven HR's in 39.2 IP. Last year, he walked just nine and allowed just three HR's in 79.1 IP. Lefty Rafael Perez has been OK, but far from the spectacular work we saw in '07.

The one constant is inconsistency with this group. More good news, its probably only going to get worse. It's going to be one long summer in C-Town.

No comments: