Monday, July 14, 2008

Sweeping Into the Break

Just when you think you have figured this team out, they go out and sweep four straight from the team with the best record in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays. And how they did it was just as strange. The Gang that can't hit straight outscored the Rays 31-8. They won games started by Matt Ginter and Jeremy Sowers. Sunday's victory featured five perfect innings by Tribe relievers Tom Mastny, Eddie Mujica, Rafael Perez, and Masa Kobayashi. The Nasty One got the W, his first of the season. We have officially seen it all now - Andy Marte hit a solo pizza over the high wall in Left, his first jack since April of 2007. Marte, who started all four games in the series, claims now he is getting in a groove and "it's nice to get my timing back."

So the boys go into the break on a high note, winners of four in a row directly after losing 10 in a row. That is the good news. The bad news is that Jeremy Sowers and Matt Ginter are still in the rotation. We feel more for Ginter these days than Sowers, who continues to show us nothing. Yesterday he walked SEVEN in four innings. That is not what you want from a so-called "finesse" pitcher. I don't care that he K'd a season high eight, because that brings his season total to 26. He nibbles on the corners and when he does challenge guys, he gets lit up. I've ripped him enough at this point. The bottom line is he is not worthy of a rotation spot.

However, it was nice to see the pen step it up (for once). Mujica has been solid of late. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 7 2/3 innings pitched (seven appearances). Mastny woke up from the dead with two perfect innings which were a much needed bridge to Mujica and Perez. It was Masa time in the ninth. The pen is obviously a work in progress. Who knows what is wrong with Rafael Betancourt these days, Jensen Lewis is up and down, and Juan Rincon is fresh from Buffalo after the Twins dropped him for being so ineffective.

Offensively, you never know what is going on from day to day. After scoring 31 runs in four games, they could easily score five in the next four. Benny Francisco and Jhonny Peralta are scorching hot going into the break. Peralta has taken to the cleanup spot, hitting .353 with five Homers and 23 RBI over the last month. Benny has raised his average .22 points in the last nine days and sits at .294. Casey Blake has been playing himself into prime trading position. Coming off a .366 month of June, Fake is hitting .300 in July, playing both First and Third.

The second half starts in Seattle, the worst team in the American League. Now, I'm not saying they Indians have any shot, but wouldn't it be nice if they continued this little run they are on and showed more life? As King Diesel said, Eric Wedge deserves credit for keeping this team together. One thing you can't complain about as fans is the lack of effort with this bunch. Lack of talent, maybe, but not lack of effort. That is not on Wedge or the players.

That is on the front office.

No comments: