Thursday, September 24, 2009

We are a Joke

This is pathetic. It is one thing to lose a lot of games and have a bad season, it is another to get blasted night in and night out by the opposition. The 2009 Cleveland Indians are not even competitive anymore. We grinded. We "never gave in". We tried. Now, it is a punch line. THEY are a punch line. The first place Tigers have come to town the last two nights and outclassed the RWAB with ease. The Indians actually did not see Edwin Jackson or Rick Porcello at their best.. but it doesn't even matter. Same old same old. Half-hearted at-bats by some veterans. Lousy throws to the plate by the AAAA guys that GM Mark Shapiro has given four to five chances to. It is lame. How bad do you have to be to be in last place in this sorry division? Extremely bad. I don't need to give you all the stats and numbers, my boy Paulie C at http://www.thediatribe.com/ will do that for you. Bottom line, it smells.

This organization has ZERO clue on how to evaluate young pitchers. ZERO. The trades of Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez so far have both graded out as F and F. That is based on thee most important aspect of the game: Pitching. Are we really supposed to believe that Justin Masterson or Carlos Carrasco are going to be big parts of the 2010 rotation? Neither can get anybody out! Ask the Tigers. Detroit's offense is one of the worst in baseball, yet, they rack around Masterson and tonight they likely will do the same for the second time to Carrasco. The CC Sabathia deal looks promising. Why? Because it is position players that are involved coming back from Milwaukee. I like Mike Brantley and the Gator (Matt LaPorta). I think they both can play. Can they pitch? Shapiro claims nobody forced him to move Lee and Martinez. Sure looks like it doesn't it? I hope Masterson pans out because he has some ability, but will it be as a starter? WE NEED STARTERS!!!

I've seen about enough of Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta. Can Pronk one time in his life in a key spot drive in a few runs with a solid shot either in the gap or over a fence? I'm tired of the bases loaded fielders choice and the sac fly. Tired of it. Peralta is in another one of his 0 for 25 slumps. Tired act. At least Jamey Carroll attempts to use all fields consistently.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gross On All Fronts

I do not enjoy going to see the Tribe play at Comerica Park. Not since Casey Blake departed (irony) have the Indians put up a good and consistent effort against the Tiger$ in that venue. Last night was no different, as the RWAB looked like a walking and talking (or in Jhonny Peralta's case NOT-talking) side-show. 5 errors? It was awful. Peralta's performance is to be expected, if you watch every game like I do. Jhonny is a mystery and certainly his bobble-fest last night was the reason the Tribe lost 4-2. You cannot blame Aaron Laffey, who shook it for a solid 6 and a third innings and pitched pretty well. He was out-done by 20 year old Rick Porcello, whom the Tigers (once again) over-paid for, but is well worth the investment. He is a stud. It is just unfortunate that the moronic fans inside that stadium last night don't really understand or appreciate just how good Porcello is and is going to be.

Back to Peralta. He plays sometimes like he is a first-timer out there. The 4 or 5 knowledgeable Tiger fans in the park were really letting him have it and it almost seemed to affect him. The dude has played in over 800 games in the majors!! 800! Yet at times, he plays like it is his 8th game. And we all knew what was coming in the 9th inning when he stepped to the plate against Fernando Rodney. A 3 error night for Jhonny would not be complete without a patented double-play ball to either third or short. Shockingly, Jhonny did not "roll one over" and hit it to the right side, but rather, grounding a ball to the very underrated Placido Polanco for the 4-6-3 to end the game. Lame. I turned to the folks I was with and told them three minutes earlier what was about to happen. I should have left early to beat the traffic. Jhonny left without talking to reporters. Same difference.

In Peralta's defense, he did not "half-ass" those plays, unlike Kelly Shoppach, who lolly-gagged down to first to backup a play in the 8th and allowed Gerald Laird to reach third on a throwing error. Nice hustle SLOPpach. Talk about lazy. Laird might hit 224, but at least he works his butt off and calls a good game. Shoppach cannot catch, throw, or hit and his effort is on par with his performance.

Finally, I have to call out the fans at Comerica Park. Detroit is a football town and a hockey town and I was told many years ago that once the Tigers got good, that it would be a "Baseball town again". WRONG. This team is in first place and is running away with the AL Central. The division is so horrible, and the Tigers really are not as good as they were in 2006, but, the fans act like they are watching the 1992-2005 edition. Spoiled brats. 3 people in my section asked aloud "who is #60"? They did not know who Wilkin Ramirez was. He is on their team. Apparently Jim Leyland cannot manage, according to these fans, and half of the lineup (their words) "SUCKS". Is the Detroit lineup a great 1-9? No. Heck, marcus Thames batted 5th last night. But give me a break! Oh.. and these fools do not ever sit down and stay in their seat at this stadium. Every inning. Up to get food. Up to get beer. Up to use the bathroom. We finally moved to the top of section 138 to an empty area of the seats so we COULD SEE THE GAME!!!

Great times last night.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Shame on Wedge

We are now starting to see what we thought we should have seen back when it counted. Young players making an impact, receiving playing time and confidence, and subsequently, some wins. Nobody is a bigger backer of the Grind more than I am, but fingers must be pointed at Eric Wedge today. The Indians once again won another series, and once again are showing that they are not a pathetic doormat in the AL. Is it too little too late? Absolutely. The club is buried behind weak sisters Detroit, Chicago, and Minnesota, and it is a shame because this division is the worst in baseball history and so winnable for any one of the five teams that reside in it. Eric Wedge has a big hand in this and could have done things differently back when it counted.

The Grindpa of the RWAB could have phoned his boy Mark Shapiro earlier this year and told him to recall Matt LaPorta a lot earlier in the season. Wedge also should have played "Gator4God" every single day when he was recalled in early May. Instead, he played sporadically, got rusty at the plate, and sat behind the likes of Ben Francisco and Dave Dellucci. Unacceptable. The kid can hit, we all see it now (5 for 15 with 4 RBI this week), and in watching him in Columbus last weekend, he clearly has "it". Wedge also should have sent his GM a note and told him to send Kelly Shoppach down. It is clear that Wyatt Toregas has paid his dues, and I'd much rather see him behind the plate and at the plate than "Sloppach". Shop stinks and Shappy should have dumped him this off-season when his stock was as high as it will ever get. Not only is "K"elly a strikeout machine, but did you watch him catch on Friday? He cannot catch the ball, which is paramount for any backstop going back to.. uh.. fourth grade! Shoppach is sort of like Ralph Cirella, all or nothing. His hits are loud and big, just very sporadic and rare. These are small moves, but, manuevers that could have given this team a needed jolt back when it counted.

One other GrindMaster flash note: His handling of the young arms in the bullpen in April and May were atrocious. We are now seeing that he was not handed a lot of material, but, the likes of Tony Sipp and Jensen Lewis were not put in good spots. Lewis needs a defined role and Wedge needed to match Sipp up better his first time up with the big club. He overused him early, knowing full-well he had arm and confidence issues in the past. Now Sipp looks like a definite keeper. In defense of Eric, Kerry Wood barfed all over his carseat and Joe Smith and Raffy Perez also stained the sheets when the big lights were on. That is not on Wedge.


Monday, August 17, 2009

My Trip To Columbus

It was time. Time to make a trek down 71 to see how our Columbus Clippers and also check out the new stadium, Huntington Park. With most of the AAA Wahoos already on the big club, my buddy J and I utilized saturday night to both get away from the grind and also hope to see something out of Matt "Gator4God" Laporta and Michael Brantley. Going in, we picked August 15th as the perfect day to drive down, but didn't realize we would miss both Carlos Carrasco and Hector Rondon. Turned out, we missed a lot more than just those 2 players.

So I get down to C-bus and arrive at the ballpark at 6:30 and for some odd reason (to me at least) it is PACKED! People all over the streets, especially in between Nationwide Arena and Huntington Park. I park the car across the street and on a beautiful, but, humid night, I did not realize that this spot was, as The Maestro would say, is "the place to be". J is running late, so I stroll over to the box office to purchase my seats and I see a sign: "Tonight's game is sold out. Standing Room Only". Huh? Sold out? It is minor league baseball! I was floored. Some dude sees that I am stunned and offers me up a couple of $6 lawn tickets. We chatted for a while and he alerted me that weekend games are always like this and I still could not believe it. I guess Columbus is a hot town right now, but still! Plus, the Clippers are not exactly winning a lot of games. Anyways, it is now 6:45 and the guy ends up giving me the lawn seats for free. I had those in my back pocket as a back-up. But I did not drive three hours to sit on some lawn.

I dialed up J and told him the situation and he had one message for me: Go to work. The last time J and I "had to" scalp for tickets was years ago in New York city and I got snookered into buying fake Knicks/Kings seats by some guy in an alley of a train station. I walked across the street from the ballpark and evidently it is okay over there to purchase seats from a scalper. There were cops everywhere, but none of them were looking in the scapers' direction, so I knew we were good. The first guy I talked to had a bunch of tickets in his hand and tried to sell me a pair of reserved seats for $25 each. Yeah right. Plus, these tickets looked like something my four year old would scribble together on a piece of paper. I walked away. Headed down to the corner where I parked the car outside of the left field gate and got two box seats for $15 each. I waited the guy out a little bit, because he asked for $20 each originally. It was now 6:55 and the guy knew he had to get rid of them soon. We were in!

The ballpark is just beautiful. When we walked in, Matt LaPorta was up to bat in the first and we watched him draw a walk from the left field porch. I glanced at the lineup on the big scoreboard, only to see no Brantley, no Jason Donald, no Lou Marson, no Jordan Brown. Ugh. Not exactly what I wanted to see. Good news, though, we sat third row behind the Indy dugout. I felt like I was on the field. We were on top of the action!

So with the scrubs on the field for the Clippers, Indianapolis torched Mike Gosling and crew to the tune of 7-0. LaPorta is a stud. You can just see it in his at-bats. He drew two walks and ripped a single to right center. Wes Hodges is not a major league baseball player. You can just see it in the way he moves at third, and there is something missing with him at the plate. I did like Frank Herrmann. He throws hard and his defense did not help him much at all on Saturday.

All in all, a quality night at the yard. They had a wide variety of t-shirts in the team shop out in left field, which made yours truly very happy. I really like how they label the food areas and the sight lines are fantastic. The right field wall is cool and the bar stool seats they have to the right of it add some intrigue too. There was even a hot dog race as well. I was impressed. With everything but the team.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Please Stay Quiet

''If every four or five years we can have a shot at the World Series and contend for the playoffs at other times, that's as good as it gets for a team in this type of market.''

Paul Dolan. Today.

Please sir. Please. Stop. Talking publicly. Don't. Just don't.

You are a bright guy. But. Stop. Please.

What more needs to be said? Shut up. Stop. Don't feed your fan base rat poison one week and then spit on their family's mac and cheese at the viewing the next. Please don't.

Friday, July 31, 2009

So Sad.. And a Bad Trade Too

I defended the Cliff Lee deal. I cannot defend the Victor Martinez trade. How do you deal your heart and soul and your leader for a pitcher who could not crack the Red Sox rotation and two prospects? Mark Shapiro can give us the "high-ceiling players" quotes until we are blue in the face, but to not acquire Clay Bucholtz or Daniel Bard or Mike Bowden as a part of this trade is unacceptable. I went to bat for Shapiro earlier this week, but I just cannot back him here. Sure, Victor is probably on the decline a little bit, but this trade smells. Shapiro said today that he woke up not thinking he would make a trade; I do not buy that. This one looks like it comes from the top, and a chance to dump more salary both now and in the future. I do like Masterson, and he better pan out.
As far as Victor goes, he is all man. A warrior and a true leader, unlike some of the soft tissue-like stars that remain on this team. Sad day.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Boycott and Benny.. DONE!

It looks like I did not have to wait for Ben Francisco to be benched, he was traded instead. PEACE!!!
The Wahoos continue the house-cleaning today and while I know most of the clueless fan base is posting comments on the internet ripping Mark Shapiro, I commend the ballclub for what it is doing. Here is why:

1. Cliff Lee's trade value will never be higher. He is leaving. You know it and I know it.

2. This organization's gross evaluation of pitching talent over the years has come back to haunt them. It is time to stockpile young arms and see which ones get outs and which ones do not.

3. This season is lost. It has been lost. At least they are admitting their failures and blowing it up to get younger, cheaper, and maybe better. Why pay the likes of Ryan Garko and Kelly Shoppach? Pointless. Get younger, swallow your pride, and also add some fresh blood. 2007 turned out to be a bit fraudulent.. fine.. good.. ok. Move on.

4. Mark Shagrindo is not done. I hope Victor Martinez stays, but isn't obvious that he will not be here after 2010? If Lou Marson and Carlos Santana both pan out, it gives us options.

5. The best players the Indians have? They have been acquired VIA TRADE. AC, Pronk, Choo, Grady, and even Valbuena all were brought in from other organizations. This is an indictment on the team's drafting, but at least they are now admitting to their mistakes and not overpaying for lousy free agents (Berea) and trying to spin it to fans to "be patient" (Berea).

6. The AL Central is god awful. The Tribe can win it next year. Why Not? The first place team right now has lost 7 straight road series with a monster payroll.

GRIND.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

ULTIMATUM


I am DEAD SERIOUS. This blog is temporarily shutting down. There will be no more entries or articles regarding the Indians UNTIL BEN FRANCISCO IS BENCHED! We here at "Bench Ben Francisco" have had ENOUGH. He sits for at least two straight games and then we will return with more scribbles. Until that time, we boycott! We stand outside of H and H bagels and we protest!

Francisco cannot hit. He is 1 for his last 21 and tonight, with a pair of runners on and two out in the eighth against the M's, he grounded weakly to short. That was the last straw. Your starting left fielder cannot just have a single home run since May 27th. Ours does. Bench Ben Francisco!

Hopefully this website will be up and running with updated columns soon. Until Benny's benching is made official, we say BYE FOR NOW.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stick with the Stick Ownership

It has been a long time since a Cleveland Indian hitter was so feared in an All Star Game that the opposing manager intentionally walked him. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit, but I laughed a bit when Vic "The Stick" Martinez was given a free pass in the 8th inning of last night's 4-3 AL win over the NL. How can you not love "The Stick"? I watched him handle both Joe Nathan and Mo Rivera with perfection last night and it really made me think: We CANNOT lose this guy.

Martinez is a true Clevelander. He's not pretty, he's sort of a truck when he runs, he is a hard worker, and he loves where he is. Last night, he even had his son in his arms as he was introduced at the mid-summer classic. I loved it. The guy is our leader, and while he may not be very vocal, he is the heart and soul of that clubhouse. Even with his recent struggles, V-Mart is hitting .294 with 14 homers and 59 runs batted in. We saw what happened to this club last season when Martinez got hurt, the RWAB needs him. And Victor says he wants to stay, telling Castro at www.indians.com ""I would like to stay [with Cleveland]," he said, "and hopefully retire as an Indian."

Keep "The Stick". Do whatever it takes. It is pretty obvious that he is the team's most valuable position player and he wants to be here. While Cliff Lee is also a must keep, CP seems to chuck his teammates under the bus and sulks on occasion. I hope he stays too, but you just get a feeling that he doesn't want to be here. With the lack of run support he has received, how can you blame him? I'm just saying that while the crowds are sparse and the organization is about to undergo some major changes, I am asking that someone step forward and commit to Victor.

One more thing. I agree with Terry Pluto of the PD who says that Matt LaPorta needs to be up here and playing left field every day. If they make him a first baseman exclusively, and the brass feels like Carlos "Juelz" Santana is the future behind the plate, what kind of message does that send to Victor? LaPorta should be in left and there should be a spot at first for Martinez down the road. The Indians need to be better in their decision making about placement of players, because the last two seasons have been careless messes with all of these lineups and players playing out of position. This aint "Hot Rod" magazine pal.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Huffin and Puffin'

Seriously. Why couldn't we have just had a nice and easy blowout victory today in Chicago? The Tribe actually jumps all over a White Sock pitcher (a rarity lately) and looks like they are ready to cruise at US Cellular, only to have to squeak out just its 34th win of this putrid season. The Wahoos did a nice job at the plate, taking pitches and working counts against former Coach Carr backup Clayton Richard, and the "Pressure is Off Posse" of Ryan Garko, Kelly Shoppach and Jhon Peralta all swung the bats in the 10-8 win. But, we once again had to watch a former first round pick labor through five innings on the mound. It is getting old.

I've been underwhelmed so far by Dave Huff. The team's first round pick in 2006 is just 24 years of age, I get that, but I just trying to figure out if he will be anything more than a 4th starter. Today, Huff was handed a 9-2 lead, and could not make it out of the fifth. He was charged with 7 earned runs and only struck out two. Other than his dominant performance a few weeks ago in Pittsburgh, Huff has just been okay. His ERA fits in with the rest of the team (6.71) and his velocity also is nothing special. I thought today was a perfect day for him to give the Wahoos some length and battle thru it and he just didn't. I'm gonna be patient with David, but I'm definitely a bit let down by his performance so far. This is par for the course for the team's scouting staff at the college level. Props to the bullpen today. Kerry Wood actually showed some guys and Eric "Grindapalooza" Wedge going to Wood in the 8th for a 2 inning save was a good move. Also great to have the Realtor back. Loves me some Betancourt. He's an Indian, always will be.
I may go for a live grind tomorrow night inside of Comerica Park. We'll see.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Mark Shagrindo

"Nothing has changed".

That was the quote yesterday from Tribe GM Mark Shapiro. The red-head kingpin has decided to sink or swim with his man "The Grinder". Eric Wedge and his staff are safe for the remainder of 2009. Ridiculous. Here is my take:

Why would you come out and secure the jobs of an entire coaching staff on July 5? The team actually strings two wins together against a punch and judy A's club and all of the sudden this is the move? I am a supporter of the "Grind" and I like Shapiro, but, this is a huge risk and also a lousy message to the fan base. If you want to guarantee Wedge is safe, fine. But the entire staff? Carl Willis and Derek Shelton both deserve F's on their mid-season report cards for 2009 and newly hired bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez also has flunked his mid-term test. Where is the accountability? Why is Mark so married to Eric or at least to the "entire staff". If this team tanks and loses 100 games, then what?

Shapiro says he wants to eliminate the distractions by making this announcement now. He added that he wants "to make sure there is accountability". Accountability? What a joke. Everyone has failed outside of a few guys and nothing gets done about it Mark! Just because you DFA Luis Vizcaino and Matt Herges doesn't show the fan base that there is accountability. 75 percent of Cleveland fans had never heard of those two guys anyways. Ben Francisco and Ryan Garko and Kelly Shoppach all keep trotting out there, where is the accountability for them? Demoting Josh Barfield ten times a season to AAA isn't good enough for me. That message is not loud enough for me.

The fans, errr, WE want to see some sort of action! This is the second worst team in baseball with ONE all-star and he isn't performing the last three weeks either! Yet, everyone is safe until the end of the season? On a holiday weekend, with beautiful weather, the Wahoos drew 19,000 fans on Sunday. This cannot make the Dolans very happy. Yet, they are the ones who could have told Shapiro to pursue a "real" left fielder this winter, and they stayed quiet. Just like the stadium yesterday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Message To The Fans: There Is None

My eyes are wide open. I am starting to see it. No longer am I blinded by that red, white, and blue light. I have taken off the red, white, and blue glasses. My Victor and Choo and AC t-shirts remain in my closet. This is a joke. The angry fans and the ones that I have called out in the past for over-complaining about ownership, Shapiro, and of course.. The Grinder.. I join you today. The Cleveland Browns, errrrrr, Indians have become a league wide laughingstock. 3-14 in their last 17 games and nobody does a thing. Nobody throws a tantrum, nobody says "this is unacceptable", nobody gets fired, and you know what? Nobody, then, will come to the ballpark.

The quotes today are about as disgusting as the at-bats. Check out these doozies from this soft group:


"We're in a rut right now," said Wedge.


"After every game, it's quiet," said right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, "but the next day is always a new day. People are joking and laughing during batting practice. We're having fun."


Said Sowers on the sixth, "Thome hit a good pitch. Konerko hit a ball that was probably half a foot off the plate. It was a good piece of hitting. On the pitch to Castro, sometimes you do the right thing and don't necessarily get the appropriate result."


WHAT????? What is this? Where is the leadership? Is someone going to do anything or say anything? Phony rants that are contrived is not the answer, but, the one thing that Jim Leyland has done in Detroit and Ozzie Guillen has done in Chicago, is that they have delivered a message to the fans that losing is not acceptable and they will not stand for it. Apparently, the Wahoos just show up everyday and as Choo says are "having fun". Bulls__t. Total BS man.

If these types of streaks would have popped up in 2007, C.C. Sabathia and Trot Nixon would have put these fires out. In 2009, GM Mark "Foundation Building" Shapiro has put together a leader-less team and his roster is flawed and his decision-making grades out as an "F". In Mark's defense, injuries have been a killer, but he knew last winter that Jake Westbrook and Travis Hafner were not going to be Jake Westbrook and Travis Hafner. He leaned heavily on oft-injured Carl Pavano, Anthony Reyes, and Scott Lewis, and failed to have proper reinforcements in case they went down. Jeremy Sowers is atrocious.. as a starter. How come I know this cat cannot start in the bigs and actually may fit as a middle reliever? Wedge and Shapiro can finish each other's sentences? Well.. how come (Les Levine TM) they cannot finish this one liner: Jeremy Sowers cannot pitch more than.....? Answer: Four Innings! Shappy's bullpen is also a joke and his signing of Kerry Wood was a colossal mis-calculation.

I feel bad for "The G-Man" Chris Gimenez. He is hitting .276 and went 2 for 3 on Monday. Yet, he is not in the lineup on Tuesday or Wednesday. Instead, we get that light and fluffy meal of 4A soup, otherwise known on the menu, as Ben Francisco. ENOUGH. Benny and Ryan Garko everyday? Why? Is ownership this cheap that they do not want to start Michael Brantley's service time? And by the way, anyone check out Columbus' team ERA? 4.66. Dead LAST in the IL.

Make a move today for the fans Shapiro. If you want to fire Chuck Hernandez or Carl Willis, just do it already. Derek Shelton. Somebody has to be held accountable and the fans need to see some action. They are not seeing any action on the field.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 27, 2009: The Night The Season Died

It's official. RWAB GM Mark Shapiro has seen the light and the incoming train at the end of the tunnel and has surrendered. 2009 is now officially in the books as the Indians have just dealt glue-guy and 3B/LF/RF/2B/DH Mark DeRosa to the St Louis Cardinals for reliever Chris Perez and a player to be named later. DeRo gave the Indians three quality months and while he started slow, he was consistent and professional and I tip my cap to him. The Cubs must be freaking out that their boy is now headed to the Arch City instead of Chicago. You knew something was amiss tonight when DeRosa was held out of the lineup and the automatic out, AKA Ben Francisco, was patrolling left field.

Should Shappy have waited a little longer to drive the price up for DeRo? Maybe. But I like Perez. He turns 24 on Wednesday and can really bring the gas. He is big and has a mullet and a wicked slider. The Cards have tried him a couple of times as the closer and he may not be ready yet for that role, but he is the future ninth inning man for this team and lets be honest, Kerry Wood should also be dealt. Here is some video of "Kid Chris".


It is Saturday night and my kids have tired me out, so this is all you get tonight on this manuever. One more thing-- Michael Brantley was taken out of the Clippers/Durham game after two at bats tonight. You have to guess that he is on his way to the 216. Good. And while "Team Grind" is at it-- bring up Matt LaPorta too and send Ryan Garko to the NL for a PTBNL.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Heart Can't Take Much More

There really isn't a lot to say about last night's win in Pittsburgh. It was basically a microcosm of the entire season and I walked away from the win even more unimpressed with Kerry Wood. Great to see Grady back and it appears, at least for one night, that "The Greatest Player of our Generation" is on track and putting the bat on the ball in a positive way. I know the anti-grind faction is wondering why Dave Huff did not get the ball in the ninth inning? That crew needs to relax. If it was a very meaningful game in September, maybe he is out for the ninth, but Eric Wedge is right, you have to protect young pitchers, especially ones with a history of arm trouble. Huff was fantastic and Wedge went to the one guy in the setup role who had done a nice job in Matt Herges.

I want to address one other issue. Following the game, I was in my car and tuned in to the postgame show on WTAM. The host (I won't give his name because that is what he and his right-wing faction wants) actually said that he started rooting for the Pirates to win in the ninth inning to just complete the deal. Memo to this Rush Limbaugh wanna-be: You are not a real fan, you don't know the game, and you are now where you belong in terms of time-slot. He rooted for the Pirates to win last night? They lost. Just like last November. I guess the host is 0 for 2 now. Palin in 2012! Loser.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lawrence J. May Just Be Anti-Grind

We all know that the ultimate circus in Northeast Ohio runs ten days a year live and direct from the lakefront. That high-wire act, with clowns and animals and a big top is stationed each and every day, though, in beautiful Berea. It doesn't matter who the ringmaster is: Policy, Clark, Savage, Crennel, and now "Man-Kok", it is a barrel of laughs and fun and its followers line the pockets of the absent and silent owner and those lemmings even dress up like clowns (or dawgs) themselves. As a die-hard fan of the Indians, I have never been one to ever even compare the two franchises because I do not believe that they belong in the same category. Then I read this gem from Paul "I'm Out to End The Grind Era" Hoynes in http://www.cleveland.com/:

When asked if he was considering a change, Larry Dolan said, "I'll talk to you later." When asked if that meant a change was being considered, Dolan said, "I just don't want to lie to you."
Sunday evening, Paul Dolan responded in a text message, "I spoke with my father. He refutes that the conversation with you was in any way a statement on Eric's performance."

My reaction?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

What on earth is that Mr. Dolan? Come on brother! As an owner of a big-league franchise, you HAVE to know your cliches! Thank goodness for the young and hipster Paul Dolan for coming to dad's rescue. If anyone has seen Paul D on Les Levine's show, the guy has his act together. Hopefully his conversation with daddy went something like this: "Hey Pop, saw your quotes in Hoynes' piece. Yeah. Uh. I'll do the talking from here on out okay? Last thing we need is you going all Hank Steinbrenner on our manager. Next time, just tell Hoynes that you have no comment or that Mark Shapiro makes those decisions."

I just don't want to lie to you? That is epic. Lying is what sports and media is all about Mr. Dolan! When your counterpart with the Berea Circus says "We are committed to winning", that is a LIE. When Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn says "I have no list yet of coaching candidates", that is a LIE. When the "Lord and Savior" Bernie Kosar's bankruptcy attorney says that his client is a victim, he is LYING! And when your own GM Shapiro says the farm system is "loaded with good-young arms", unfortunately, he is also not telling the whole truth. (If I see Jeremy Sowers make one more start I swear....sorry sorry.. off topic).

Just had to get that off my chest. Still grinding, and supporting our ownership.



Saturday, June 20, 2009

Don't Blame The Grinder

Look. Here is the thing. We all know that unless the Indians make some sort of miracle push to an AL Central Title that skipper Eric "Grind Master Flash" Wedge is going to get fired. I think he is a good manager and have defended him time and time again in this space. The Wahoos 29-40 record is disgusting and the performance of the bullpen has smelled even worse. Take Friday's 8-7 loss at Wrigley as your latest example; but somebody please tell me how that game's blood is on Wedge's hands?

Fans do not like Wedge's delivery. Fans always clamor for change when a coach or manager has been around seven years. Fans want a guy who will throw his hat in the dugout or run around the diamond chasing umpires. That is not Wedge. I really don't care what the fans want, because I believe most tribe fans never even knew baseball existed before 1994. I hate to sound like a snob, but where were all of you guys at the old stadium when I was a kid? My dad, brother, and I used to sit in the upper level, section 18, and on most Saturdays at the ballpark, we had the row and half of the section to ourselves. I am now off the tracks here, I apologize. My point is that fans want to replace Wedge, yet none of them have an alternative.

In Detroit, the Tigers just handed Jim Leyland a two year extension. This comes off of a last place season in 2008 and a 5-6 road trip this season with his team just two games ahead of Minnesota for first place in the worst division of all-time. Leyland is still managing this club because they respond to him and he has kept the ship afloat. Sound familiar?

If the Tribe players have quit, I don't see it. If they stopped listening to Wedge or "tuned him out" as Jim Ingraham suggested in the News-Herald, than how come they scored 12 runs the other night against Milwaukee and 7 in the early stages of yesterday's loss to the Cubs? What is Eric supposed to do up 7-2 in the 8th yesterday? Is he supposed to tell the umpires that HE will pitch the eighth instead of Joe Smith or Rafael Perez? (I would not have used Perez in that spot btw). It wasn't Wedge who went out and traded for Smith. The man has tried everything and now has gone to great lengths to even go public with some of his frustration with certain players. Good! Why not? We all see it. You can only use so much lipstick to try and dress up this pig.

I like the fact that this team plays hard day in and day out. I grew up watching some real dog teams and some real dog managers (John McNamara for one). Wedge makes mistakes, but I am sticking with him. I am not "giving in to the fight". Today he has to send Tomo Ohka to the mound at that bandbox in Chicago. I guess we keep grinding and pray.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Buh Buh Buh Benny and the Slumps

Now that sweet Dave Dellucci is gone, and Casey Blake is knocking out solo homers in LA with the Dodgers, it is about time to rename this blog. For the past weeks, we here at Dump Casey Blake/Dump David Delucci have commented on the lame at-bats and feeble plate attempts by the Wahoos opening day left fielder. Ben Francisco is no longer a rookie. He is no longer a 24 year old wet-behind-the-ears young ball player. He spent parts of seven years in the minors and now we are seeing why. Benny is a decent player, and probably a quality fourth outfielder on a contending team, but he should not be playing every day. At 5 for his last 47 and 8 hits in his last 61 at-bats, we here at the Blog of Grind turn our attention away from the Artie Lange/Joe Buck controversy and focus on a new mission-- to "Bench Ben Francisco".

There is no way that Benny should be playing day in and day out. If Eric "Julian Grindel" Wedge can sit Jhonny Peralta for days at a time, why not Ben Francisco? The caveat here is that Grady Sizemore is hurt, so Francisco is his backup in center. I say "So What"? Francisco has not driven a ball to right-center in weeks. He is hitting .131 in June with 13 strikeouts in 14 games and 3 RBI. Ben has 2 extra base-hits in June. His last home run he struck that was not given up by Andy Sonnanstine of the Rays was back on April 28th against Boston. April 28th!!! For some reason, Francisco carves up Sonnanstine. If only there were more arms like his in the AL Central.

Francisco was a bright light in a dark 2008 season. He was given an opportunity to play a lot after the Dellucci/J-Mike platoon was rightfully blown up and he did very well. Francisco can hit a "get-me-over" fastball and it showed last year when he knocked 15 home runs in 121 games. But at second glance, Benny's numbers were not all that earth shattering. He slumped in September and finished at .266 with 54 RBI for the season. Tribe brass hoped that this year, at age 27, he would be a young and cheap everyday player who can hit, run, and bring energy. He is none of that.

Even clueless ESPN analyst Steve Phillips remarked on Monday night that Francisco is spaghetti in the batter's box. He doesn't draw walks, opens up his front side, and mostly lifts weak pop-ups to left and center. How many rallies did this dude kill last night against the Brewers? Enough is enough.

Our solution here at the now renamed "Bench Ben Francisco" is to bench Ben Francisco. The RWAB is still in this race (as laughable as that is) and they are playing better ball as of late. Francisco needs to play against some lefties and pinch-hit. Period. I don't see him as an every day player and once Grady comes back, Francisco has to be the odd man out. Play Mark DeRosa in left and Peralta at third and call it a day. If DeRosa is traded, I want to see Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley before I see Benny every day. For now, Wedge can play Jamey Carroll in center field some, and Trevor Crowe. We all know that T-Crowe cannot hit either, but at least he battles in his at-bats!

Sorry Benny. We did like your appearance, though, last year on the Jim Rome show.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Disgusting

I am not going to waste the reader's time with a game recap of last night's debacle. What is the point? We all know that the Wahoos decided to become the "Walk-hoos" again and when you give free passes to the likes of Mike Rivera and Craig Counsell, you are going to lose. Period. End of story. The Tribe bats (other than Jhon Peralta and Ben "Spring Training Willie Mays Hayes" Francisco) were great and scored twelve runs. That should be plenty. It was nice to see Travis Hafner really square the ball up in his last two at-bats and his production is going to be needed. But, my god, the walks! Even the usually reliable strike-throwing Matt Herges got into the act. 261 bases on balls for this group! Worst in the bigs.
If someone has an answer on Rafael Perez I'd love to hear it. This dude is a total mess and it really makes no sense. There are some games that he is lights-out and can come in and destroy a left-handed hitter (David Ortiz earlier this season- three pitch K) and others like last night where he just gets torched. For those who want to send Perez down to Columbus, what is the point? He went down there three weeks ago and was Kenny Banya; he killed! An Eric the Actor ERA of "Zero Point Zero". He was lights out. On Monday night, he claims he wanted to throw a first pitch fastball to Prince Fielder low and away. Yeah. Right. That was a meatball. Even Ben "Pop Up Master" Francisco could have hit it out.

"I was trying to throw it down, and it just took off," Perez said. "I'm not frustrated. I've got to be ready to come back [Tuesday]."

You are not frustrated? Uh Raffy, WE ARE!!! To quote a famous manager in town, don't "give in to it".

I'm hoping to not see Palin, errr, Perez in a game the rest of this series, and I'm also asking for Josh Barfield in center tonight. Why not? If I get Trevor Crowe, I guess I'll be satisfied.


Monday, June 15, 2009

An Almost No-No For The Red-Ass

You have to appreciate Cliff Lee. Some guys will always be number 2 or number 3 pitchers in this game, but not Cliff. The "Ultimate Red-Ass" has stepped it up this season, and as the Tribe's "ACE" he has once again delivered. A masterpiece at Dolan Field last night and a near no-hitter in the RWAB's 3-0 shutout win over the Cards. Lee's ERA is now 2.88 and just think if he had some run support! The dude could probably relax a little bit on the mound, but he really never does. He's kind of a jerk. He pitches angry and he snarles at his teammates on the field, yet, he's the true leader of the staff and I find it refreshing. Cliff was seen staring down Shin Soo-Choo in the eighth inning last night after Yady Molina's lead off double broke up the no-hitter. Hey, Lee thought Choo should have made the play and he's intense and wanted that no-no. If Fausto Carmona had that sort of attitude!

Think about where the Wahoos would be without Cliff. His ERA is below three. Do you know how many other Tribe starters have ERA's below five? None. This guy doesn't just eat innings, he owns them, and we just have to hope and pray he stays here. You cannot expect to contend without arms. Pitching is the name of the game and it is one of two reasons why the Tribe is not dead and buried yet. The other reason is this garbage division. Thank goodness the Detroit Tigers gave Dontrelle Willis that ridiculous contract and feel the need to have to prove he deserves it. The D-Train still pitching every fifth day is a travesty, just like these reports of Krispy Kreme possibly going under.

Finally, props have to go to Tribe radio man Tom Hamilton. The best in the biz last night did his job and did it well. Hammy elected to tell the fans throughout the night that Cliff Lee did have a no-hitter going, which is the right move. As the radio play-by-play guy, your job is to tell the listeners what they cannot see. There is some stupid unwritten code now among some baseball announcers that they should NOT jinx the pitcher by saying the words "no-hitter". Hogwash. Tommy did the right thing and his description and excitement is still awesome. I'll take Hammy over anybody in the game not named Vin Scully.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fourth Place Feels So Goood

This team is such a mystery. Playing without its center fielder, shortstop, and starters 3-5, the Tribe continues to grind away and now has escaped out of last place in the worst division MLB has ever seen. The RWAB buck the odds last night and score 8 unanswered to beat the fledgling Royals 8-4. Let us not forget that they really don't have an everyday second baseman, nor do they have a full DH (it is sort of a half of a DH). Its best set-up man is also on the DL. Somehow this club is only seven back and credit must go to the manager and the bullpen, which has really done a nice job the last few weeks. Pitching is still the name of the game and the crew in Chuck Hernandez's 'pen picked up Cliff Lee last night. The "Ultimate Redass" Lee did not get help from the umps last night (Teahan was out on the Choo throw to third.. not even debateable), yet he kept the team in the game long enough for the boys to rally.

A shout-out to Billy Butler of the Royals. Thank you very much for your gifts to us in the 6th inning. Two poor throws allowed the Wahoos to rally for 4 runs and tie the game. KC is now in last place, a half game behind the Tribe, and they have dropped 22 of their last 28.

I don't know what to think of Mark DeRosa. He seems like a very cool dude, who is just a baseball player. Every team needs a DeRosa, a jack-of-all-trades, who is given an assignment by the skipper and usually completes it. He goes granny last night to lift the boys to a win and for the most part, has really been thee most clutch hitter on this squad. "He's had a lot of big hits this year," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do. He's played a lot of different positions and filled different spots in the order. He's a baseball player in every sense of the word." It was truly a "Grind Slam" for DeRo, who has not played well defensively and at times has looked bad at the plate against breaking pitches. But to his credit, he has been pretty consistent and has been a quality addition.

Look, this team has a run differential of just -5. This division is abysmal. I have watched the first three games of Tigers/White Sox this week and it is bad baseball at its finest. Detroit has two stud pitchers in Verlander and Jackson and two huge holes in their rotation. Sound familiar? The Tigers closer walked three batters in a row last night with a three run lead and had to be taken out of the game. This division is still winnable.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fraud-sto

You wanna send Fausto down to the minors? Fine. Who is going to come up then? Uh.. Hello? Bueller? Anyone?

Exactly. Fausto Carmona CANNOT be sent to Columbus to get his act together. If this continues in the coming weeks and Jake Westbrook is ready to roll, then fine. But now is not the time. For god's sakes, Jeremy Sowers pitches tomorrow night at U.S. Cellular Bandbox. Lord have mercy.
Fausto is a mess. Even Rick Manning pointed out today to Al TV that Carmona lacks confidence. He has the stuff and the sink to his fastball is still wicked at times, but he looks like a scared cat on the bump. Today Jason Kubel just mashed two homers off of him and Kubel acted like a bully in third grade taking lunch money. These were two "Crush Grooves". Someone needs to get with Fausto and wake him up. The Indians need him and lets be honest, this divison smells. Bad. For as poorly as the RWAB has played, and for as banged up as they are now, the boys find themselves just 7 back of Detroit! 7 back! What a hilarious notion. Grind.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ban Francisco

Enough already. I know you are supposed to be patient with young players. I know that many teams have given position players multiple opportunities to prove they are legit in this league (Clete Thomas, Adam Lind, Josh Hamilton, and Melky Cabrera are prime examples). I get all of that. How much longer do we wait for Ben Francisco? Corner outfielders are supposed to help carry your offense, they are supposed to have some power, and strike fear into the opposition. I don't see it with Benny. He seems like a good dude and a guy that works hard and can play all three outfield spots, but other than when Tampa's Andy Sonnanstine is on the mound.. when is this kid going to drive a ball over the fence? Francisco is no kid either, he will be 28 in October.



Last night the Indians lost Asdrubal Cabrera (their second best position player) to a dislocated shoulder. AC got the RWAB going in the first inning with a single off of Tribe killer Kevin Slowey. Here comes Ben, now batting second in Eric "Grind Theft Auto" Wedge's lineup, to promptly hit a hard grounder to second base. The Twins got AC out four to six at second base and he got hurt. As I watched the play unfold I said to myself.. lo and behold Francisco lines a ball into the gap and starts a big rally. Benny is seventh on the Indians in at-bats, yet TENTH in on-base percentage. His slugging percentage has gone down in each of the three years he has donned the chief on his hat. With all of the injuries the Tribe has sustained, it would be nice to see a guy like Benny step up, he hasn't done it. You know how many times in a game this season he has had three or more RBI? 3. That is it! And two of those three games were against Sonnanstine. I mentioned the Tigers' Thomas who has 13 rbi in 20 games, Ben has 20 in 46 games. How much longer do we play this guy everyday?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

DD is gone, but DL is Name of the Game

Do the Indians have enough healthy bodies to grind or not? This is ridiculous. Just as the squad is beginning to play a little bit better (not that hard to top April 1- May 20) and with the amazing news of Sweet Dave Dellucci getting the ziggy, the RWAB core all heads to the infirmary. Grady Sizemore to the DL. Vic "The Stick" fouls one off of his kneecap. The Realtor Raffy Betancourt shreds his groin today and is on the DL and it appears (shocking) that Travis Hafner's elbow hurts again. Don't forget that Scott Lewis is also hurt and could be used, same goes for Aaron Laffey. Ugh. After today's win over the John Sterlings, I checked the standings and still am amazed that the Wahoos are only 7 and a half games out!

I didn't watch much of todays game. I needed a break, plus, me and the kids and the love of my life went geocaching (look it up). As I was walking thru the woods and receiving texts from my brother with updates, I thought about the job that Eric "Amway Grind" Wedge is doing. His lineup today was putrid, yet, here his squad was going toe to toe with the high priced hotsters from NY. I was stunned the Wahoos put up a five spot, especially with the way Kelly Shoppach, Trevor Crowe, and others are swinging the bats. (Also a quick thank you to Brett Gardner for missing a steal sign). Wedge has kept this club above water, and while his detractors will say that he changes the lineup everyday, what do you expect? Benny aint no everyday LF. There is no everyday second sacker. Mark DeRosa and Ryan Garko don't have clear cut positions. I think Wedge is doing what he has to do. The problem is there are no young stud position players (other than Asrdubal) that have come up and claimed a spot. I'll give Choo the nod (Chris Berman TM) too. Who is pitching tomorrow for us? UH Boy.


Friday, May 29, 2009

CELEBRATE!!!!!

It is Over!!! The dream has arrived!!! Dave Dellucci is going.. going.. GONE! Thanks to Paul Hoynes from the Plain Dealer for providing us with the news and this gem:

CLEVELAND -- David Dellucci, the man Indians bloggers loved to hate, has been designated for assignment to make room for left-hander Rafael Perez.


More to come later on the three year disaster.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Only This Team

"Never give in to the fight".

"Seperate".

"Work thru it".

"Grind".

Eric Wedge is constantly repeating those phrases, both to his team and to the media, and last night the RWAB responded. Down 10-0 in the 4th inning to the Rays, the Tribe scores 11 unanswered to win 11-10. It was a crazy comeback, but very Tribe-esque because the boys were patient at the plate and got some help. Per usual, Team Grind hit into its share of double plays and stranded its share of runners in scoring position. But, they never quit and finally we saw some things we were supposed to see. Ryan Garko hit a couple of home runs (finally) and former number one pick Jeremy Sowers got some hitters out. Huh? What? Yep, I did see it. Sowers throws five scoreless innings!

Some might say that Garko and Sowers are terrific in that spot... a no pressure blowout game. Ryan should be driving the ball more consistently and Sowers.. well, he should just not be giving up three homers per outing. It is one game, but these guys aren't going anywhere so let us see what they have. I hope Wedge plays Garko tonight and Wednesday. See if he can get hot. Sowers? I'd love to leave him in the bullpen, but this rotation right now is "Pavano and Lee and Pray For the Next Three". It is brutal. Fausto Carmona is just a mess and I don't think he even knows where the ball is gonna go. The Tribe has to stick with him because they do not have anyone else, he has a nice meaty contract, and some innings he is unhittable. Last night in the first against Upton, Crawford, and Longoria he looked filthy.

Pitching is (as Wedge would say) the seperator. We can whine about the offense all we want, but the Tribe has scored the most runs of any team in the division, 244. It does look like Matt "Gator4God" LaPorta is not ready for the bigs just yet, and Benny Francisco and Mark DeRosa are good "bit" players and that is it. But the club has got to find some dudes that can get outs. Pitching is why the Tigers and Royals are on top of the division. I watched KC swing the bats against Justin Verlander yesterday and it wasn't fair. It was like watching Famous Dave's try to match wits with Pigfoot BBQ at the Rib Cook-Off. Mismatch. Who starts Wednesday and Thursday for the Wahoos? No answer yet, so we just keep grinding. It is what we do.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wood Wimps Out, Grady Being K-dy, Another Loss

I texted my brother after the top of the 8th inning last night and said "Cliff better finish the game". He didn't and the Tribe once again found a way to lose in Kansas City. I am resigned to the fact that the season is basically over on May 20, as sad as that sounds, yet I am not going to start throwing the remote. This club is what it is and everyone is to blame. Kerry Wood looked like a defeated man on the mound last night, but when you are making ten million dollars to get three damn outs, I don't want to hear that you only had one pitch. Chuck Hernandez is the team's bullpen coach and many fans believe the team now is cursed by Luis Isaac. Would Isaac have phoned back to the dugout during the top of the ninth to tell them that Wood doesn't seem right in the 'pen and to maybe have Cliff come out for the bottom of the ninth? I don't know. But I do know that Detroit's pitching right now is a lot better off without Hernandez than it was with him. The RWAB bullpen is basically "The Sal and Richard Show" in hats, jerseys, and spikes. Poor Cliff.

Wood failed and sounded like a baby afterwards. If you only have one pitch, then be a man and use it inside and outside and blow people away with it! Instead he just put it on tee for the light-hitting Royals and they knocked it around the yard. Those were not cheap hits against "One Pitch" Wood. Kerry would have had a bigger cushion than 5-2 if not for thee most overrated player in the game Grady "K-dy" Sizemore. K-dy continues to offer nothing at the plate and the fifth inning last night was no exception. Back to back bunt singles by Luis Valbuena and AC Cabrera and Brian Bannister looked rattled. Up steps the Wahoos new number two hitter and instead of dropping down a third bunt to move the runners or at least battle thru an at-bat and take a strike, K-dy fouls off a 1-0 slider and then chops a 1-1 curveball right to the first baseman for a double play (loved Valbuena's smashing of Olivo at the plate btw). First game in the two hole and this Rob Deer wanna-be still thinks he's gonna make it 8-2 with one swing of the bat? You can blame Wood all you want, but Sizemore should have done his job and moved those runners to second and third in that situation. .215? Disgusting.

I don't see the team winning a game the rest of this series. Zack Greinke pitches tomorrow and even if the club won tonight, it would be another two out of three series loser. It is just one of those seasons that happens to teams in baseball. No luck, no karma, and no pitching. In the AL Central, you CANNOT have seasons like this, yet folks, we got one.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Team Meetings, Vic Supports The Grind, and Jon Gosselin Denies Affair

Drama. The Indians are turning into a soap opera, and a bad one at that after being swept by the average-at-best Tigers at Dolan Field. The RWAB managed just three runs all weekend, two of them gifts today courtesy of Fernando Rodney. We saw many truths in today's game when it comes to this team. More lazy at-bats, more weak popouts, more guys missing cut off men, more Sweet Dave Dellucci ground outs to the pitcher, more STO play-by-play men overemphasizing pitch-counts, and more Asdrubal Cabrera coming up big only to see the clean up man fail two batters later. The Tribe handed Detroit golden child and beatwriter boy toy Rick Porcello a five and fly win. It is a broken record and today, for once, we here at DDD take umbrage with "Grind Torino" Eric Wedge. I am a Grind-a-holic, an avid Wedge supporter, but he is failing to get it done.

Why on earth does this man trot out Sweet Dave and Ben Francisco every game of this Detroit series? Here the Tribe is playing meaningful division games, and these two jamokes (TD tm) are in the lineup each day! DD fails to get a bunt down the night before.. Wedge should bench him. Francisco misses the cut-off man today and pulls his usual 1-4 routine, he better be watching tomorrow against Gavin Floyd. That is on Wedge. Haven't we seen enough of Dellucci? What is the point? Poor Matt "Gator4god" LaPorta. I hope the dude didn't read the paper the day Wedge said "He's not up here to sit". Dude sat all weekend! Come on Grinder! How about Josh Barfield giving Mark DeRosa a damn day off? DeRosa is the right handed Grady, just cuttin and struttin back to the bench with his .238 average. He could use a day to rest, and Barfield did perform quite well in Toronto last week, give him a shot. 11-21? Good Gracious.

After today's defeat, Tribe leader and best player Victor Martinez defended his manager. "It's not his fault," Martinez said. "It's not Wedgie's fault. We take all the blame. He's not the one playing. We are the ones playing the game." I give Vic credit, and it is not all Wedge's fault, he's right, but, shake up the deck. This team isn't talented enough to make the mistakes they make and overcome them. The talent issue is on Mark Shapiro. Dellucci, Francisco, Ryan Garko, DeRosa, and Kelly Shoppach.. these are not big time talents. It is still early and this division is absolute puke, but ten under 500 is ridicurous (Donna Chang tm).


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Time To Blow It Up

May 9, 2009. Season is over.
UNLESS. The following changes are made with this baseball team and ASAP.

1. David Dellucci is released. Enough said. He cannot, ahem, CANNOT play. Never could. Can't lay down a sac bunt tonight? Buh and Bye.

2. Ben Francisco to the bench. I've seen enough EVERYDAY of him. Good guy, has some skills, but EVERY DAY? Why?

3. Matt "Gator4God" LaPorta plays EVERY DAY. Eric Wedge (who will be fired if the Wahoos lose tomorrow I can feel it) said we didn't bring the kid up here to sit and all he does is sits. Why? How can you justify calling him up and sitting him behind DD and Benny and Ryan "Singles Deluxe" Garko. Anyone see Matty's home run in Toronto last week? PLAY HIM!

4. Grady Sizemore OUT of the leadoff spot. Dude cannot hack it there anymore. You see how the Tigers move Granderson in and out of that spot and contact guy Josh Anderson led off tonight and reached base twice? The Windmill Sizemore can swing for the fences hitting fifth for me.

I am tired of this garbage. Nobody can lay down a bunt. Guys getting doubled off of the bases. 0-2 pitches down the middle of the plate. ENOUGH.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New Formula: Use Only Starting Pitchers

A fun-filled day for Tribe fans on Wednesday. The team shakes up its pitching staff and then goes out and polaxes ESPN's favorite team 9-2 at the Fens. It is pretty obvious that Mark Shapiro and Eric Wedge are fed up with what they have seen from the bullpen, so they get active. Refreshing. In the fall, the local football team doesn't do that, they just fool the fans into buying tickets and they trot out the same guys week after week. If Braylon Edwards played for Shappy and "Fred Grindy" (Wedge), his butt would have been designated for assignment just like Vinnie Chulk. At least they are trying something, and it was certainly the right move putting Raffy Perez in Columbus. I could hit his fastball right now. I hope the team can keep Chulk, because he is serviceable.

Aaron Laffey was great last night. Three scoreless inning and at 7-2 in the 7th, he came in and got outs. A five run lead is like a two run lead (I'm being nice here) with that RWAB bullpen right now. When I first heard the news of Laffey being sent to the 'pen and Jeremy Sowers recalled from Columbus, I did not like it. Laffey is a better pitcher, period. He seems more confident on the mound and when his sinker is working it is deadly. I can't say the same for Sowers, who has been extremely unimpressive the last three seasons. Remember, this dude threw back to back shutouts in 2006. That seems like decades ago. Jeremy's ERA was 2.25 at AAA so far, so hopefully he has his confidence back. I saw him pitch at Comerica Park last summer and he was being laughed at by the fans; it was like watching batting practice. Sowers will start tonight against the Sox.

We can complain about the lineup. I can complain about Grady Sizemore and another 0-4 night (now hitting .233.. how about a night off?). Bottom line is pitching. If the Tribe can hold people down, I think they can get on a nice roll. Asdrubal Cabrera and Victor Martinez are winning players. They just are. You find out what you have when the road is bumpy. These guys have driven right over it with no problems. Hopefully the arms can follow their lead.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oh Grind-Ada

I am not sure my health can take an entire summer of this. But I am smiling this morning after last night's 9-7 come from behind win over AL beast Toronto. The Tribe showing a ton of toughness and grit in snagging this win, despite more bullpen issues and lousy early game at bats. I really don't know where to start, but tip your cap to Josh Barfield who actually came up with a big hit and also to the Indians most clutch player, Asdrubal Cabrera. AC is a tough as nails kid and when he is at the plate with two outs and a runner in scoring position, I am very at ease. He usually delivers and he did last night to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.

Show of hands, how many of you were ready to throw the remote when ETG, "Eric the Grinder", pinch hit Dave Dellucci for Matt LaPorta to start the ninth? I was none too pleased at the time, but Sweet Dave did his job and got on base. Meantime, LaPorta's first big league hit and home run was a clubbing. High and away and he turned on that slop from Brian Tallet, whom the Tribe made look like Warren Spahn for six innings. Grady Sizemore's at-bats against Tallet were abysmal, and to be honest, the guy needs a day off. I know "The greatest player of our generation" delivered later in the game (finally), but you can tell he is scuffling. Wedge says he thinks Sizemore is trying too hard, one thing we know about the RWAB, they always grind and never give in to the fight (Wedge TM).

"A team can come back once or twice," said Wedge, "but to do it three times at this level ... it's almost unheard of. I don't think you're ever going to see as much fight in a ballclub as you saw in our guys tonight."

Props to Rafael Betancourt, who was locating his fastball beautifully. I am not that angry at Kerry Wood, who got squeezed in the bottom of the ninth. His 2-2 pitch to that Bautista guy was strike three, and the hit by Bautista should have been caught but Barfield made a horrible break on the ball.

Hopefully today Anthony Reyes is getting ahead of hitters and the Wahoos can take a pair in Toronto. I still love this team.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Frustrating Day at Illitchville

I am too tired to write a complete sentence recap of todays events here in Detroit. Yes, the King made his way down to Comerica Park today to see the Wahoos do what they do best: Dig an early hole, grind back, strand runners, and the bullpen implosion. All in all, about what I expected today. A few thoughts.

1. The eighth inning is becoming a running joke. Those comment posters on cleveland.com can write "Fire Wedge" all day and night, but how is it "The Grind Wizard's" fault when Rafael Betancourt throws a meatball right down the plate belt-high to Curtis Granderson? And to make matters worse, I viewed an angry Realtor (Betancourt) yelling at Asdrubal Cabrera not once but twice after AC's throwing error after the fact. I love Betancourt, but his act was lame today. Tribe has been outscored 35-12 in the eighth inning. Pathetic.

2. The middle of the lineup is not getting it done. You saw today the kind of prescence that Miguel Cabrera has in the middle of the Tigers order. It is scary. You sense it in the stadium when he comes to the plate. The Tribe's 4-6 hitters have to be better. Shin Soo-Choo did his part today, but it would be nice to see someone drive a ball over the fence, especially with runners on.

3. I am excited for Matt LaPorta's invasion. Hopefully "Gator4God" can provide the big bat that is sorely needed. But, this team did score 7 runs today. That should be enough, especially in pitcher friendly Comerica Park.


Here's One For You: Pavano and Dellucci Lead Tribe to Victory

I know, I can't believe that headline either. We here at DDD obviously are no fans of the washed-up, one dimensional left-handed stick who we believe is robbing the Dolan's blind at $4 million in the last year of his three year deal (yeah!). But we have to give David Dellucci credit on this day. His 4-5 night straight off the DL was exactly what the moribund Tribe offense needed in their 6-5 win.

While corner outfielders Ben Francisco and Shin-Soo Choo were leaving men on base as if it were their job (13 combined), DD was actually spraying the ball all over the field. We also saw a potential awaking of Jhonny Peralta, who had an RBI single in the first and hit his first pizza of the year (took long enough). The real hero of the night however was "The American Idle" himself, King Carl Pavano. The man who once bedded Samantha Miceli was "the boss" in Kramerica Park last night, taking a three hit shutout into the eighth with no walks and three K's. "They put the ball in play and the guys made great plays behind me," said Pavano. "On both sides of the diamond, we played pretty well."

Of course the RWAB pen did their best to choke the lead away. Raffy Left came in and gave up singles to both of the batters he faced, then Jenny "soon to be in AAA" Lewis gave up a three-run jack to Miguel Cabrera, his seventh allowed in 12.2 IP. That is completely unacceptable. If not for "The Realtor," Raffy Betancourt, the Indians may not get out of the 8th inning with a one run lead. Kerry Wood's slider was $$$$$$ in a 1-2-3 ninth to give the Tribe a 6-5 win. Its nice to have a REAL closer, isn't it? It's also nice when your dog doesn't wake up at 6:15 AM on a Saturday morning.

In other big Tribe news, sources close to DDD say that the crown jewel of the system, Matt Laporta, will be up and with the club before Saturday's game, which is a shocker to me. They lose an extra year of his control if he is added to the 40-man roster before June 4th. Looks like they are desperate enough with Francisco struggling and Hafner on the DL. Lets see if Laporta can do for the Wahoos what Evan Longoria did for the Rays last year.

EDIT: Matt Laporta, Luis Valbuena, and Josh Barfield have been recalled from Columbus. Tony Graffanino was designated for assignment, Joe Smith goes on the DL with a strained rotator cuff, and Trevor Crowe was optioned back down to AAA.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bad Loss, But This is Who They Are

I got upset for a few minutes. I didn't stew over this one like I normally do. My girlfriend didn't even give me her usual rap of "Uh boy.. Not again with you" after last night's crushing loss to the Red Sox 6-5. Wanna know why? Because this Indians team is what it is right now. A jack-of-all-trades master-of-none crew that has the same problems it had a year ago. And in 2006. Too many strikeouts, too many guys hitting in spots that they do not belong in, and players playing out of position. It all adds up to a blown chance of taking two out of three from a very good Red Sox team and taking some momentum to the road.

Even STO asked the fans in its text poll last night what they think the Tribe's record will be on this upcoming seven game trip. The fans said 3-4. Best part of that was Rick Manning just destroying broadcast partner Matt Underwood for trying to spin it positively. Manning, who is the best analyst in town bar none, knows. Changes need to be made for this club to really compete. I think it can happen.

The first change I would make is to take Grady Sizemore out of the leadoff spot for good. Why is he there? He is NOT a lead off man. Once again, K-dy Sizemore is fifth in the AL in strikeouts with 23. Only Chris Davis, Carlos Pena, Jhonny Peralta (who needs an entire weekend off), and Josh Fields have more punchouts than K-dy. None of these guys I mentioned are leadoff hitters or even close. They are power strokers who reside in the middle of lineups. The Tribe desperately needs someone who can put the ball in play at the top of the order, Sizemore cannot do it. He can't. Sorry RWAB slappies, he is what he is. Grady is not an MVP candidate and he is not thee "Greatest player of our generation". I can attempt to get all statistical and break it down from that perspective, but I am not the master at that like Paul at http://www.thediatribe.com/.

The "Grind daddy of them all" Eric Wedge has moved Asdrubal Cabrera to the top of the order because he puts the ball in play. Move him up one more spot. Move Grady to the 4 hole and call it a day. Sizemore is still a terrific player, but he is not a leadoff man.

One other minor move I would make is announce that Victor Martinez is the captain of the team. Put a "C" on his jersey because he is the only leader we have. Victor shows fire, Victor is clearly our best player, so I say reward him. Plus, it sends a message to certain others that they can follow his lead (and you know who I am talking about). Last night, Mark DeRosa showed some stones with this comment: "I put this loss on me," said DeRosa. "Raffie [Betancourt] comes in and gets a double play ball. It's got to be turned." Marky Mark is right. He makes that play, it is a different game. Certain others, though, fail to step up when the mic is in their face and "put the game on them". Maybe with an announced captain like Vic, it will become commonplace in that clubhouse.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Windmill Express

I am tired of a lot of things. I am tired of hearing about how elegant and sweet Beth Ostrosky Stern is. I am tired of the orange barrels all over the roads and it is not even summer yet. I am tired of C.B. Bucknor deciding that fans pay to see his pathetic ass umpire night in and night out. And oh yeah, I am tired of watching Indians hitters fail to make contact when the big lights are on.

The Tribe is now 7-13. 7 and freaking 13? I know, the Red Sox are in town and they are playing good baseball, but still, 7-13?

Ninth inning and Johnny Papelbon is in and obviously doesn't have his best stuff. The Windmills, errrr, Wahoos do scratch across one run. They fight and grind, but only could get one. Tired of it. Both Jhonny Peralta and Kelly Shoppach get down in the count 0-2. As Cosmo Kramer said in Frank Costanza's billiard room ("The place to Be") "You know where its goin". Strike 3. 152 damn times now this season, these guys have struck out. Tops in the AL. Peralta and Shoppach were two guys in 2007 that looked like clutch performers, especially in the post season. Now they, along with others, look like cheap alternatives as the attendance dwindles. But when you score 6 runs the weekend before, what do you expect? Plus, most Cleveland fans are suffering like everybody else in this economy and they have to save their money for those precious ten dates in the fall for the Berea Circus. OOOOOH, can't give up those Circus tickets.. NO NO NO!

The "Grind Wizard" Eric Wedge has seen enough. He called out his players before the game for lack of leadership. He even got tossed for arguing with Bucknor, thee worst man in blue in MLB. It is not even a debate. Good for Eric, but, the way KC pitches and Detroit has added on this off-season, Wedge's club looks clearly to be the least motivated of the five in the AL Central and that is on him. It doesn't help when your left fielders cannot hit either. It took a late rally just to win one series so far, and I still believe it is early and the Tribe can make a run, but it better be soon.



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Short and Sweet

VERY SIMPLE.

HIT THE BALL.

GET RID OF TONY GRAFFANINO AND MASA KOBAYASHI.

6 AND 12 IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Grind Time

Holiday. Celebrate. The Tribe finally gets its first series win in dramatic come from behind fashion over the KC Hillmans 5-2. The Wahoos could not touch Gil Meche for 7 plus innings, yet somehow found a way to get it done. It had the makings of a CTL, classic tribe loss, with bonehead mistakes, lazy fly outs, and strikeouts. Yet, Team Grind perservered and two of the leaders stepped up in Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore. Pronk with a key hit to get Benny Francisco to third in a wacky eighth inning, and then Grady's absolute rocket shot to S-City. The Tribe needed this win badly and now lets hope they can use this momentum to bowl over Minnesota.
Props go out to Anthony Reyes. The right hander battled thru 6 innings and did not receive the defensive support he deserved. I like Tony. The guy seems to know how to pitch and has shown he is tough. In the fourth inning, Francisco dropped a routine fly ball loading the bases with no out. Reyes got out of it and it saved the game. "I want to pick up my teammates," Reyes said. "If they make an error, it's my job to pick them up." Jenny Lewis also picked it up. Finally a reliever who strings together back to back scoreless innings. Lewis got it to Kerry Wood in the ninth and then it was howdy doody time.

One side note. Trevor Crowe is a ball player. he is. But he may not be a major leaguer just yet. At times, Crowe looks overmatched at the plate. I still refuse, though, to call for a return of DD.


Monday, April 20, 2009

First Impressions: The New Yankee Stadium

Here at DDD, we love to share as much of as up close and personal experience as we can. With that said, our good friend Seth, a native New Yorker and a realistic Yankees fan, wanted to share with you his first impressions of the "House That Jeter Built" as he calls it. He was at the opener Thursday.Take it away Seth....

April 16th, 2009 was circled on my calendar ever since MLB released the 2009 schedule. I am an "old school" NY Sports fan. I root for the Yankees, the NY Football Giants, the Rangers, and the NBA team that plays at MSG.(or should I say NIT team that plays at the Garden, but that could be for another post) The excitement that was generated for the opening of this $1.5 BILLION stadium was unreal. But did the Yankees really need a new stadium? Was the cathedral that was known as Yankee Stadium antiquated? The answer is a resounding No and No!! Yes, the old stadium had very few luxury suites; Yes, the parking situation was awful.....But every time you got off the 4 train and saw " The House that Ruth built" you knew you were in for a treat. It really was a cathedral...There was a certain buzz and aura...And the seats behing home plate were at 100 % capacity, something lacking at the new Stadium.

So, I arrived Thursday at the NEW Yankee Stadium(the house that Jeter built) at 1130 for a 1pm game. The Yankees asked everyone to be in their seats at noon sharp, for the pregame festivities. That left me plenty of time to get my hot dog (or 2) and soda and settle into my seat. Well....I waited on line for 35 minutes for 2 Nathans hotdogs, a soda, and a water. Not a bad deal for $21...Wow!! And, the guy in front of me was told they wouldn't have hamburgers ready for another 15 minutes. At 1210, the festivities began. They started by thanking the man responsible for all of this, George Steinbrenner. In my OPINION, Steinbrenner was the greatest owner in all of sports. He spent his own millions, putting it into his baseball club. He also made every other owner rich. Plenty of MLB owners, including Kansas City's, are worth alot more than Steinbrenner. However, they put the $$$ into their pockets, not their pitching staffs. Thank you George!! The Yankees then paraded ex-stars onto the field and John Fogarty gave a nice rendition of Centerfield. Bernie Baseball then got 10 minutes or so to blast out take me out to the ballgame. After both clubs were introduced, it was time to play baseball.

However, things seemed weird, almost anti-climactic. I felt like I was at an amusement park. There was a lavish steakhouse in the ballpark...A Hard Rock Cafe, An Audi Club, and scores of other novelties. If I wanted to go to an amusement park, I can go to Six Flags. The Stadium itself was silent. When CC Sabathia had 2 strikes on a batter, the crowd did not stand in unison, as it usually does. When Mark Teixeira hit his 1st Yankee Stadium HR on Friday, there was no curtain call. During the 5th inning, I texted my buddy and said this is one of the most boring games I have ever witnessed. It seemed baseball was taking a back seat to the billion dollar 7th wonder of the world.

I am also baseball purist. I do not mind the long ball, but watching routine pop-ups sail into the bleachers is a joke. 20 home runs in 4 games...this is not Coors Field. In short, the new Stadium has a ton of issues that need to be rectified. I know nothing can probably happen until next season, but here are a few things to consider:

1) Once they tear down the old Stadium down, the wind currents might change

2) The Yankees may have to consider moving the fences back in right field....I know the dimensions are the same as the old Stadium, but Melky Cabrera should not be hitting tape measure shots

3) They should give away the $2000 lower level seats to charity if they are going to remain empty. It looks ridiculous on TV.

If I were Danny Sheridan, the old Stadium would be a 7 1/2 point favorite over the new Stadium!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Split at Williamsport

Little did the Tribe realize they would be playing four games this past weekend at a little league stadium. The RWAB earning a split of the set at the New Yankee Stadium, which soon will have circus-like nicknames attached to it. The new yard is an absolute farce and a joke and good luck to Yankee pitchers this season who will have to endure pop ups to right leaving the building. The Indians bats were alive on Thursday and Saturday, the bullpen did its usual tanking, and we saw Jeffrey Maier revisited on Sunday. Why even have any sort of 'fan interference' rule in this sport? Oh yeah, it is run by Bud Selig, forget it.

I am not pleased with a split in NY. The Indians had every opportunity to sweep these high priced antiques, and they did not. I do like the speedy Brett Gardner, Tex is a player, and A.J. Burnett also was a fine pickup this winter. Other than that, I see a third place old team wearing pinstripes, with a ballpark that little leaguers would love. Johnny Damon cannot throw my buddy Seth out. Or his son Cooper either and he is in diapers. One of the goats of the weekend, Jenny Lewis, did point out today after he served up the go-ahead homer to Jorge Posada quote "It was a pop fly," Lewis said of Posada's homer. "Again, in any other ballpark in the country, it's an out. When it gets up in that jet stream, it just blows out. I'm definitely ready to leave here."

Lewis served up two pop fly dingers this weekend. 20 total in four games. 20! Give me a break. New Yorkers will say: "Well.. its the same dimensions as the old stadium". Yeah. So. The concourses are so wide that there is a jet stream running out to right. Anyone see AC's grand slam on Saturday? He fisted it to right and it was gone. By the way, Asdrubal is a stud. A 23 year old witch right now, who is aggressive on the base paths and doing it all.

This bullpen, outside of Kerry Wood, is abysmal. I still believe that Joe Smith is gonna contribute and Jenny Lewis will be fine. But the others look brutal and it would be nice to see someone come in and put out a fire for once. Where is that devastating Rafael Perez off-speed pitch?

One more thing. It appears Carl "The American Idle" Pavano is showing a pulse. Dude pitched a whale of a game today. Many will question Eric "Grind over Matter" Wedge and his decision to pull Carl after 89 pitches, but even Pavano says he was just happy Wedge kept him in to face Nick Swisher (slapdick alert) in the 6th with the bases loaded. I'm not gonna go nuts over that one. Bullpen has to do its job.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bronx Grinders

Whatever Grind Master Flash (Eric Wedge) said to his men that don the red, white, and blue before Wednesday's game in KC worked. The Indians have bounced back from a horrid 1-7 start to win back-to-back games and yesterday's certainly was impressive. A 10-2 drubbing of the Yankees spoiled the new stadium party and showed that when the Tribe pitches and plays a solid all-around game that they can compete with anybody.

Cliff Lee did his thing and finally used all of his pitches to get the win. The Yankees are notorious for seeing a lot of pitches, yet Cliff was patient and got a ton of weak ground balls and fly outs. Wedge decided to go with an obscure mostly right handed lineup against CC $abathia and it worked. Sort of. The big man pitched in and out of jams and was gassed after 5 plus innings. Yankee skipper Joe Girardi (who wont be there long) allowed CC to throw 122 pitches. 122! We knew why just 20 minutes after $abathia left the game. Bullpen. It is the great equalizer and one of the reasons why this Tribe slappy is still not jumping for joy over this two game win streak. The Tribe pen still needs a lot of work, starting with the two Raffy's who are allowing way too many base runners.

It was still fun to see the fellas get it done and get some national attention on Sportscenter and the like. Oh, and Matt LaPorta homered again for Columbus.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TD Rates The Wahoos: "We Stink"


It has gotten so rotten with the RWAB, that even noted Tribe shill TD of www.waitingfornextyear.com fame says they stink.

The Indians are 1-6 and last night they strand 12 base runners in a 4-2 loss to the Royals. It is not like the Tribe is playing Boston or Anaheim or Tampa Bay, its Texas, Toronto, and KC folks. Disgusting. Chance after chance going by the boards against Zack Greinke and then in the ninth inning Joakim Soria, the greatest closer in baseball history if you listened to Matt Underwood. Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta left 8 runners on base each, Pronk's at-bats were weak; at least Peralta fouled a few pitches off. Lame.

This team made things happen in 2007 for many reasons. One of them was that when they went on long win streaks and runs, they put the ball in play and made the other team field it. The Indians should move to Kansas City for the simple fact that when you spell the city, you start with a big "K". This is all these guys do is strikeout. 11 more last night, 68 strikeouts in their first 7 games, only lowly Washington is worse in major league baseball. After the game, Eric Wedge said "It's early. We'll get better". What he should have said is "I'm gonna start playing guys that put the damn bat on the ball".

The Tribe is not dead at all. The contrary. This division is so bad, that "Team Grind" is only 3 games back of first place. The pitching has been brutal and if the starters don't get their act together, than it will be over early. I am calling for Josh Barfield to play tonight, why not? try anything and everything.