Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Enough With Joe-Blow

Haven't we seen enough of this guy by now? I mean seriously, did the Tribe brass really think a career journeyman who had 45 saves last year where the majority of them were done with smoke and mirrors was going to repeat that? I know I didn't. Yet it seemed OK coming into 2008...or did it?

Joe Borowski is finished. Has been since the day he set foot onto the field in April. Did we not see him topping out at 82-83 MPH? True story - I was at the Red Sox/Indians game on April 14th. The Tribe took a 4-3 lead into the ninth and before the inning started, I said to the person I was with "we are outta here after the bottom of the eighth." He looked startled and asked why we would do something like that. My response was simple: "do you really want to be here when Borowski blows it? I know I don't." Sure enough, Julio Lugo led off with a double, Coco Crisp bunted him to third, Dustin Pedroia sac fly'd Lugo home, David Ortiz singled, and of course Manny Ramirez hit one that still hasn't landed yet for the Sox 6-4 lead. Kevin Youkilis then doubled before Joe-Blow was put out of his misery by Eric Wedge.

What struck me that night was not that he blew the game, as was expected. Rather, it was something Tom Hamilton said as the 9th inning dragged. He mentioned from the first pitch that "something clearly isn't right with Borowski." Then noticed he wasn't hitting more than 82-83 on his fastball. That's just not going to cut it for a long reliever, let alone your supposed closer. Yet, the Indians trotted him out there to close a game, knowing he had nothing, against the team that stole their World Series title from them less than a year ago.

So they put Joe-Blow on the DL a day later with and elbow injury. The thinking from all sides, except for the Indians brass of course, was that Borowski was finally done, at least done closing for that matter. Nah...not our with our Tribe! On May 23rd, he was activated and put right back into the closer's role. Not that it has mattered much.

Last night was a prime example. The Wahoos were desperate for a W, any kind of W. Our boy Casey Fake (who by the way is having a very nice season and should attract a bunch of trade offers) hits a solo pizza in the 10th to break a 1-1 tie (how about those Tribe bats!) and Wedge again turns it over to his closer, who was hitting a whopping 86 on the gun. I bet you can't guess what happened? Yep, with two outs, he gave up a solo shot to Alexei Ramirez (not exactly Jim Thome), a single to pinch-hitting great (ha ha) Dewayne Wise, who then promptly steals second, and "closes" it off by giving up a game-winning RBI single to Orlando Cabrera. Tribe loses 3-2.

Not like Joe-Blow had to face Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome, and Joe Crede! He was handed a one run lead and the bottom of the order and couldn't deliver. What is the friggin point in trotting this old man out there any longer? The season is over. There is no closer in 2009. So lets see if we can invent one over the last three months. As John Hart used to say "closers grow on trees." Bring up Jeff Stevens from AAA and hand him the job. See what he can do. Or why not try it with Jensen Lewis (why is he still in Buffalo while Edward "4A" Mujica and Rick Bauer are still up here?). What about Akron closer Randy Newsom? Dude is 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA 24 saves.

Try anything, but please, Shappy, for the love of your loyal fans like myself, enough with Borowski. And while your at it, same thing goes for David Dellucci, Andy Marte, and Jorge Velandia.

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