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.

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