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

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





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 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.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Now We Need to Go Streakin'

First one is out of the way... finally. Tribe gets back to its winning ways and I am glad the Blue Jays have now left town after they spent the weekend throwing elbows in our groin (Ray Allen trademark). Pitching is still the name of the game and Anthony Reyes delivered in a big way. People forget that this dude is only 27, and pitched Game 1 of the World Series against the Tigers and in that game retired 17 consecutive hitters. The Indians desperately need a solid power arm like Reyes and with help from Jensen Lewis, at least for today, nobody is laughing in our direction.

How about Jenny Lewis? All week we have seen relievers trot in and struggle. Lewis grabbing the bull by the horns and delivers in the clutch in a one run game in the 7th with runners at second and third. His punchout of Marco Scutaro may be the biggest sequence of the young season. Scutaro? This pest wears us out. Always has.

Kerry Wood in the ninth. Bam. Period. End of story.

Now its on to the "home of the technique" Kansas City. The RWAB has to face Zack Greinke, who has been tremendous so far this spring. Defense is gonna be key. Tribe must stop losing balls in the sun or in the lights.

Quick side not, Matt Laporta left Saturdays Columbus finale of a doubleheader with an injured rib cage, but says he is fine. Thank goodness.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What is This? 0-5?

The ultimate blog for all things Tribe is back and it is out of desperation. As the RWAB looks like a team going absolutely nowhere just five games in to the season. 0-5 after a 5-4 loss to the all-of-the-sudden- contending Blue jays. There are NO positives. None. Well, maybe Travis Hafner, but that is it. This club looks over-matched, sloppy, and lame. There is no stopper in the rotation, heck, there is no rotation right now. And now that Scott "The problem Solver" Lewis is hurt, nobody has a clue who the fifth starter will be. Cliff Lee's era is 9.90. Hey Cliff, you wanna mope around about the Tribe tabling contract extension talks? Try bringing the ball down first. Today the team needed him to go toe to toe with Roy Halladay or at least stay in the same building and Lee could not do it. Yes, it is early, but Cliff is going hear the other "F" word thrown at him all spring: Fluke.

The bullpen is not good. Poor Kerry Wood, this guy can't even get into a game with any meaning at all. The best reliever that the Wahoos have right now is Vinnie Chulk. Masatime has run out, Raffy right and left both look exhausted, and so far Joe Smith has been very ordinary. These guys have been asked to step up with the starters struggling and they haven't. It doesn't help that the defense has been weak. I love Jhonny Peralta, but it is time to move him to third and be done with it. We know it. They know it. Why wait? Moronic thinking by this organization. It is about winning, who cares if Jhonny doesn't like it? Cal Ripken, A-Rod, and Michael Young have all been moved to the hot corner-- Peralta should be next.

Offensively this club cannot get a big hit. It has gotten so bad that Matt Underwood is forced to go to his "D" material in the ninth inning to alert us as to how many pitches per at bat Ryan Garko saw today. I know the boys today did make a valient effort against B.J. Ryan, but it should not have come down to that. Choo should have scored on Peralta's double earlier in the game. Asdrubal Cabrera can't hold on to a diving attempt that cost us the fifth Toronto run. It goes on and on and on.

I have been a staunch Eric Wedge defender. I am all about the grind. But, this club (Wedge admitted himself) was dry and stale cornflakes this spring and it now shows when the big lights are on. Unacceptable.