4.30.2009

Photoshop Off-Day: 17 Always, Starring Aaron Laffey

When I can't find inspiration for this, I usually resort to the latest movies and try and edit the movie posters into something cool.

That's what happened here.

I'm not proud that this is what we are debuting the 2009 version of Photoshop Off Day with.. But It's better than nothing and my attempts at anything CHULKAMANIA failed miserably.

I like Matthew Perry, I really do. But I'm not sure even him could make me want to see "17 Again" and considering the movie stars Zac Efron and not him, that's even more of a reason to go against it.

I'm not a big Zac Efron fan, mainly because he's too cool to use a K or a H at the end of his name, but the fact that I've lumped him in with the Miley Cyruses of the world doesn't help his cause.

That's enough of that.

I made a joke about Aaron Laffey earlier in spring after Mark DeRosa said he was the last person he thought would have a tattoo. Well I wondered what it would look like for Laffey to have not just tattoos fill his arms (he said that's something he wanted to do) but also give him a goatee.

It does make him look older as you can see. But I don't think we'll be seeing that anytime soon.

No.. Laffey will always be young and I'm pretty sure you can guess where this ridiculous train is turning at this point. Even though trains don't turn.

So without further ridiculous explaination, our first Photoshop Off Day of the year, because it's better than mayonaise and ketchup mixed together.

17Always
(click image for larger poster, and make sure you read the gray text)

I might as well retire at this point..

Morning Update: Could Hafner injury prompt early move for Dellucci?

I was driving home from classes a little late so I tuned in to the Indians pre-game show, something I usually don't do or haven't had the chance to do in the car for one reason or another... day games, no games, I'm only driving home that late on Mondays and Wednesdays, so..

But I had no clue of the news of Hafner.. So I slammed my first on the steering wheel.

I know I really shouldn't listen to Tribe games or things having to do with them while I'm in the car. There was a spider that landed on my arm when I was driving and I almost drove off the road. I don't know what that has to do with anything, but it made sense a few minutes ago.

Anyway.. It sounds like this is just a move to get him rested and hopefully prevent anything that might flare up.
"We don't think it's anything serious," Wedge said. "Hopefully it's just a two-week thing."

"I've been noticing it in his swing," Wedge said. "We just want to try to nip it in the bud and not let it go too far. [Hafner's swing] is not quite the same thing as you normally see when he's healthy, feeling good and snapping it through."

"One thing we all should feel good about is it's still in there," Wedge said. "Unfortunately for him and unfairly to him, there were questions about it [going into the season]. But he's proven it's in there. He hasn't even been locked in, and he still did a pretty good job for us in the short term."

"We knew this was something that might come our way," Wedge said. "It's not uncommon. Sometimes you've got to let [the shoulder] calm down a little bit. We don't think it's anything serious. We're going to have him go see Dr. Andrews just to make sure."

Like I mentioned last night... This opens up the opportunity for Ryan Garko to play everyday. Same with Shoppach I guess, but I'm sorry, I called the Shoppach regression a long time ago. He went deep last night, but he's just not getting it done like Ryan Garko is. Garko should be in there every day at first base, unless Cliff Lee pitches, then we DH him or Victor. Wedge will tinker though.
"With Hafner out now," Wedge said, "it changes the dynamic of our offensive scheme, so to speak, in regard to being able to rotate through that spot and how we want to utilize it. We need to spend some time thinking that through."
Hopefully it's only for two weeks though.

Let's talk about the immediate impact.

Rich Rundles was called up, but that was just in case they needed him last night because of the bullpen smash job that was done on Tuesday. So... Today or Friday, Rundles will get the call down back to Columbus and the Indians will add another bench player, presumably.

There are three options in my mind.

Matt LaPorta

Josh Barfield

David Dellucci

I'm already crossing off Matt LaPorta.. It's not happening guys and gals, give it a rest.

Josh Barfield makes sense because the Indians could use another infielder with Graffanino being the lone guy who is backing up there. We also know he can give us time in the outfield.

David Dellucci... Okay he isn't supposed to be back until next week, but I say, who cares.

Look your going to have to bring him up next week anyway. You'll just end up sending down whoever you call up.

Unless the Indians use this as the opportunity to get Barfield back up and get Crowe down to Columbus.

They can call up Barfield, wait for Dellucci, call him up for Crowe next week, and it pretty much gets two guys the Indians wanted to start the season with back on the team.

I'm not sure what I'd do. I want Crowe getting regular time, and Barfield up here because he's hitting like fire down in Columbus. But not stringing Dellucci along.. When you can just call him up now and get it over with seems to make sense.

And as Castrovince said in both that article linked last and his blog, Dellucci seems to be the choice the Indians are leaning towards. As he mentioned, right-handed pitching heavy starters for the Tigers are coming up, so we could certainly use the extra left-handed bat.

And now last night's game.. Which I've been avoiding.
"We made some mistakes, but our fight and overall persona was better," manager Eric Wedge said. "We're still working to make sure everything gets aligned, but we gave them everything they could handle in all three ballgames."
To me, that isn't good enough. That pen gave away two games and I'm not pleased with that.

Jensen Lewis said if he had gotten the ball down it would have been a ground ball and that he thought he knew the plan for Jonathan Van Every, but Every got him. Give him some credit though, he knew what was up with the man in center field.
"I figured he'd throw a change-up in that sequence," said Van Every, a surprise starter in right field because J.D. Drew had a sore quadriceps muscle. "I knew I caught it pretty good. My only question was 'Would Grady [Sizemore] catch it?'"
Van Every and Jensen Lewis played with each other, yes in the Indians minor league system.

Mark DeRosa took the blame for the loss because of his error though. Jensen wouldn't have had a chance to give up the home run if DeRosa at least maybe gets one out, if not two when Rafael Betancourt came in and got the ground ball.

Hopefully DeRosa's play as of late gets him going though and he can be more of the leader he wants to be. DeRosa said it's "hard" to be a leader when you are hitting .190. He didn't mean it in a verbal way, but he meant by a "lead by example way." Like.. What Kind of Leader hits .190? Still DeRosa realizes you have to take the struggles and let the others know you can lead that way as well.

"I've heard time and time again that Wedgie is looking for a leader to stand up in the clubhouse," said DeRosa. "It's kind of tough when you're hitting .190."

"But at the same time, you don't want to be the guy whose words only carry weight when he's going well. You want to be the guy who can handle struggling and still have the words carry some weight in the clubhouse."

Taking the blame for the latest loss is part of that.

The one positive was Fausto Carmona's performance and Wedge was pleased, mainly because he gave the bullpen a rest after a long night on Tuesday.
"We needed a good effort by Fausto because everyone knew we were light in the bullpen," said manager Eric Wedge. "Fausto gave us that."
Adam Miller's first surgery is done and completed. What I wasn't aware of is that he's going to have to have another one in three months. He's headed to Arizona to rehab until then. All of this is part of the procedure. Best of luck Adam.

Overall this month is officially over and I'm with Jensen.

"We'll take this month," Lewis said, "and throw it out."

Minor Issues: Matt McBride continues to mash in K-Tribe Win

WHAT'S THE NEWS
More Roster Moves and things are starting to become more clear.

Jeanmar Gomez is getting the call to Akron's starting rotation. He'll take the spot of Steven Wright, who isn't getting called up or down, he's moving to the bullpen. Gomez takes the spot of Randy Newsom, who was promoted to Columbus.

Remember Kelvin De La Cruz is still injured, not sure what's going on there, but it sounds like he's going to have whatever is wrong looked at in Cleveland. I've updated all the boards to reflect the latest moves, but I'm sure more are on the way.

COLUMBUS

A day off for the Clippers. They'll begin a series with the Durham Bulls today.

AKRON

Josh Tomlin.. Wow...

It wasn't easy, but Akron pulled out a win and continued Harrisburg's awful streak of losing with a 7-6 nail-bitter.

Offensively it was a double party and the middle of Akron's order were all invited.

Beau Mills had three hits and two runs scored in addition to the two doubles he hit. He was matched by Carlos Santana who not only doubled twice, walked twice, and knocked in three runs.

Niuman Romero also doubled and knocked in a run.

Josh Rodriguez and Mickey Hall both had two hits, and Nick Weglarz knocked in a run. Carlos Rivero and Jose Constanza both had a hit and runs scored.

I said Josh Tomlin... wow... earlier because... wow.

He pitched four and one third of an inning yesterday. But he gave up 12 hits and three walks.. Wow.. Out of that he only gave up five runs, so I guess that's good for the amount of base runners he had.

Steven Wright in his fresh new role of relief pitcher picked up the win, and Vinnie Pestano picked up save number nine despite giving up a run.

KINSTON

Another win for the K-Tribe over Salem, this time an all around strong 7-2 victory.

Matt McBride and Lonnie Chisenhall powered everything. Lonnie hit another home run, a two-run shot, and scored twice.

Matt McBride skipped out on hitting doubles and just hit two home runs. Three hits in total, four runs batted in, three runs scored.. McBride now has 25 RBI and he's hitting .405.

Ryan Morris went six innings, gave up just three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. He did surrender two unearned runs.

CC Lee and Garrison Campfield struck out five in a combined three perfect innings.

LAKE COUNTY

Lake County lost to Hagerstown, but at least the hitting is keeping up. For once they couldn't get the pitching to help them out.

Nate Recknagel and Karexon Sanchez with two hits and a run scored each while Chris Nash went 2-2 with a walk and two runs batted in. Sanchez stole a base.

Adam White knocked in a run and had two hits as well.

Another note.. Abner Abreu tripled, but he did strike out four more times. He's clearly going to strike out a lot, but those are going to be magnified with the lack of power.

T.J. McFarland had a little issue giving up four runs, but he didn't lose the game. Mike McGuire took the loss after giving up two runs, and Kyle Landis blew the save.

4.29.2009

My Spirit Is Broken

I can't take this anymore.

Eric needs to bite someone.

I'm not panicking.. I don't panic.

I'm more distraught and ready to fall into a pool face first.. turn over on my back, and just float.

When you get to a point where you don't want to talk about the game..

I take the belief that your spirit is broken.

And my spirit is broken because I don't even want to talk about this.

Fausto Carmona pitched lights out minus a hiccup in the sixth inning.

And the two friggin relief pitchers that are supposed to be the guys we can count on give it up.

And it wasn't even like hits.. They were these silly grounders right past the infielders.

There was an error in there too when Betancourt was pitching.

Then of course Jonathan Van Every, the former Tribe farm hand hits a monster shot.

Ugh.. Here are my notes.

Happy Birthday to Kelly Shoppach, who celebrated with a home run.

The Indians haven't hit a tripled all year and tonight's triple made them the last to do so. Who would have thought it would be Victor Martinez of all people.

Kelly Shoppach struck out three times, Ben Francisco walked three times... Why are people getting on Francisco and not Shoppach?

The DL visit for Travis Hafner, which really makes me sad by the by, means Ryan Garko gets to start everyday. He's been the most consistent hitter on the team aside from Victor Martinez. On-base machine.

This team is just spiraling in their own heads.. I mean its up and hey okay here we go I think this is the turning point... And then boom, you are disappointed.

Like I said.. My spirit is broken, I'm starting to not enjoy the losing. Not just the losing but the way the losing is happening.

This team beat around Jon Lester, who's pretty freaking good. Fausto Carmona neutralized a very good Boston lineup.

There isn't any possible way that this team should have lost this game OR this series. In fact they should have damn well swept it. Taking it tied into the ninth inning every time, they had every opportunity to win each game.

Ya can't do it.. Ya just can't do it. Step on the throat, press hard, and end it. This business isn't flying and like I've said about seventy times now... My spirit is broken.

Rafael Betancourt Cap Counter: 48

[BOXSCORE]

Afternoon Snack: Walk Off Error

Things got busy this morning and last night, especially with a nine inning game that didn't even end well towards midnight.

In fact last nights game too four hours and 19 minutes.

There was a double header played yesterday between Seattle and Chicago. Combined the two games in total time took four hours and 24 minutes.

Pretty insane, especially after the quick sprint that we had on Monday night.

Anyway excuse me with the links and the game recap. I'm just going to mesh everything together in one big giant thing.

Let's start with... Damn I don't know where there's so much.. But I want to address something I think I kind of just browsed over, especially since it happened again last night.

There was some question as to why Kerry Wood came out in the ninth inning of Monday's game.. Some wanted Lee, some wanted Betancourt, some said Wood coming out was fine.

Throw me in the category that was fine with Wood in that situation.

In fact if I'm calling the shots, I'd probably do it myself, if my closer was reliable and I had bullpen issues going like the Indians do right now.

You will not be presented with a save situation. That game was on the rocks for the Red Sox if you ask me. Like I said I didn't feel like it was a game we were going to lose. The Indians got to Wakefield enough to get him out and all they really needed, as we saw, was one more inning to push across a run.

So why not go to your best relieve to put up a zero.

Now I'm not one of those guys who likes to put his closer in with like a four run lead, unless I have a guy like Joe Nathan, who is just dependable and durable as all get out. Then maybe, Gardenhire does that a lot. I wouldn't do it with Wood, because of durability issues, but other closers I just wouldn't do that for because it could screw up their mental state.

With a tie game though, the ninth inning. It should be the same situation as a one run game really. No margin of error, get the job done, or the game is blown.

Now a night after Wood screwed the pooch, Wedge ran him out there again in the same situation, tied game, top of the ninth, perhaps the Red Sox are on the ropes after all the madness, the Indians scored last. Wood starts to get into some trouble, with Jason Bay again, but he pulls it out.

So really. You can second guess Wedge in that situation if you want.. I wouldn't have cared if he put in Rafael Betancourt.. I would have smacked him if he put out Lee, but I'm all for him putting his closer in that spot. It's a closer situation if you ask me. There are several situations in baseball that I believe it is acceptable for a closer to come into that are not normal save situations, and that would be one of them.

Wedge said Wood really "bowed his neck out" in that one. And really he acted like a closer would in that situation. Previous night he blew it, he came out the next night and didn't. Good job Kerry.

The bullpen last night was actually fantastic.

Anthony Reyes could only go two innings before being rendered uneffective. Vinnie Chulk comes in, limits the damage, pitches 2.1 innings and continues to be useful. Rafael Perez had his second producitve outing in a row with 1.2 innings of work and just one hit and he threw 14 pitches total. Joe Smith gave up the lone run that Anthony Reyes did and then of course..

What can you say about Tony Sipp so far?

Last night he pitched to five hitters, walked one, struck out three and was effective yet again. Tony likes it though and why not? I keep saying it, many regarded him as the future closer for that particular reason. He likes the situation.

The offense, I mean jesus.

First off, they wouldn't have scored all those runs if it weren't for the errors.

But who cares? They took advantage, which is what you need to do when the opportunities are given to you.

Make em pay for mistakes, that's part of being a good team.

On that note.. It was only fitting that the game ended on an error.

It was a freakin' walk off error!

How many times do you remember seeing one of those? They don't happen often, but the look of disbelief on Kevin Youkilis' face was almost better than the fact that the Indians won the game. He couldn't believe Lopez dropped such an easy toss.

And really neither could I, but I'll take it.

Mark DeRosa, errors or not, had a ballgame and you can tell in his post-game interview a little bit of the pressure was off. DeRosa not only getting four hits but scoring four runs was very good, but he had the biggest hits of the night with the tying home run and the lead off hit in the ninth.

Going back to errors real quick. That was Mike Lowell's third of the year.. Really? He's usually pretty sound and he already has three in the first month of the season? Rather shocking.

Early when Victor Martinez let the full-bases one out opportunity go without a run scored and then Hafner couldn't capitalize on a hit, you figured after Garko was able to just get a sac-fly and Choo couldn't either, oh great here we go again. And it almost was like that if the errors didn't extend the innings. But Ben Francisco's home run probably was the switch that needed flipped to make sure everyone knew that they had to capitalize on the opportunity.

Francisco's hit hopefully gives him a little more breathing room as far as his spot on the roster. A lot of people are STILL clamoring for LaPorta, which is fine, I want to see him soon as well, but I'm not saying like tomorrow. I want to see Ben Francisco a little longer in left field, even though I know what he's made of. I may sound like a Wedge apologist with that attitude, mainly because I actually formed this opinion before I even read the following quote. But I trust you, I'm not, that's just may firm belief.
"You're happy to see guys produce at the Triple-A level," Wedge said. "That's important. But one player here or there is not going to make a difference when it comes to us winning or losing ballgames. It's different areas of our club. I think you look at what we broke camp with and how we feel about our guys who are here. There's going to be guys at Triple-A who can definitely help us, but the difference-makers are the core guys up here and what they do over the course of six months."
Look.. LaPorta will be there in a month, two, three. No need to rush him because the offense isn't the issue right now. It's consistency in all facets of the game. LaPorta himself can't bring that aspect by getting called up.

Francisco is probably going to be the fourth outfielder when this season ends, if not, traded. I also want to maintain that sending him to Triple-A Columbus makes no sense. Francisco is what he is, he has no benefit by going down to the minor leagues, you'll only harm him by doing that. If someone were to go down, it would be Trevor Crowe.

But that move may come sooner rather than later, but not for LaPorta. You see David Dellucci is the key to this puzzle and if things keep going this way, he'll be back next week.

However it looks as if there is a greater opportunity that it will be an extra bullpen arm that gets the boot and not Trevor Crowe. I'm fine keeping the extra pitchers, but Dellucci to the bench and Crowe to the minors puts a severe cramp on the defense and late inning flexibility that Wedge thought he would have.

Which makes sense to get rid of a pen arm and keep Crowe around.. But the problem is Crowe and Dellucci just play the outfield. I thought the days of five outfielders were gone when we traded Jason Michaels and disrupted the ugly platoon.

The problem with five outfielders in this situation compared to last year when there was Michaels and then Francisco is this time around, two of them will mostly be on the bench. There won't be as much platooning as there was a year ago with Gutierrez and Choo and Francisco and before that, Michaels and Dellucci.

So really you aren't bettering your bench situation by making it deeper, Graffanino is still the only reserve infielder, and of course you are taken an arm out of the pen.

Whatever.. We'll cross that road when it comes up on the GPS I guess, there is still time.

Speaking of crossing roads.. This link mentioned some possibility that the Indians would make a move for another bullpen arm after last night's game. Given that it's already three in the afternoon, I don't know how likely it is that they will do such a move. We would have heard something by now.

But still, if it were to happen, I have no clue what they'd do at this juncture.

Mentioned the Adam Miller news in the minor league update and now more quotes up. Like it's been brought up before, this is a relatively new proceedure so it's all pretty foreign to everyone involved as to how and when we'll know more about the success of surgery. All we can do is hope Miller is on track and doing what needs to be done.

That's all for now I guess. This was the first time I could sit down and just get my thoughts out about the game. I hate the games that end so late like that. Sorry I was light on the links and quotes for this one.

[BOXSCORE]

Minor Issues: Brawls, Organizational Sweep, and Roster Moves.

WHAT'S THE NEWS
A few roster moves, and more could come depending on the extent of an injury to Zach Putnam.

Randy Newsom is going to Columbus, hopefully never to return to Akron. Andy Cannizaro is being transferred to Mahoning County, one of those paper moves, because Mahoning isn't playing right now.

Now here is where it gets tricky so follow along.. No word on Newsom's replacement at Akron, but the Putnam injury might or might not effect it.

Paolo Espino is going back to Lake County though after he was helping out Akron's tired bullpen. Russell Young is going to Kinston and taking his spot at Lake County is Eddie Burns, who was in extended spring.

Surgery on Adam Miller was completed, but no specs yet.

Here's something you don't see every day from the word of minor league baseball. A brawl on Saturday broke out after Luis Valbuena hit a home run and Indy's 2nd baseman thought he watched it too long and also flipped his bat.

After Valbuena got home, the second baseman charged him when Valbuena shouted back. Andy Marte's quick thinking stopped a brawl because he prevented their second baseman from getting to Valbuena.

People left the dugout and for that, you get fined, except for Marte who stopped things. And here is the part that rocks.

The fines for everyone that left the dugout.... $25 dollars. Yes Not 2,500 or 25,000 or even $250. TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS. Hey these guys don't make much, so I wouldn't fines to be that much.

I'm in class right now, so I don't have time or awareness to read this story on Jose Constanza. But here it is.
COLUMBUS

Another solid outing for Jeremy Sowers led the Clippers to a 5-3 victory over the Mud Hens.

Sowers went seven innings, giving up just one run off five hits and two walks with six strikeouts.

Wes Hodges went 3-5 with a run scored and a double. Matt LaPorta also doubled for his lone-hit and scored a run.

Jordan Brown doubled in a run and walked three times on the day and Wyatt Toregas hit a two-run home run.

Matt Herges picked up save number four.

AKRON

Hector Rondon just keeps pitching and picking up the wins. Harrisburg meanwhile.. They keep losing.

Rondon won game number four last night as the Aeros beat Harrisburg in a close 3-2 game. That was Harrisburg's 10th straight loss. It was a usual day at the office for Rondon who went 6.2 innings, gave up six hits and a walk to lead to one run, but he struck out NINE, yes NINE.

Mickey Hall provided two runs and Josh Rodriguez one offensively. Not many hits all around for Akron as they got out-hit, but they scored enough runs.

Erik Stiller picked up a hold and Vinnie Pestano pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save.

Side Note: Former Aero/Indian minor leaguer Matt Whitney homered for Harrisburg.

KINSTON

Kinston out-hit the Salem Red Sox by a lot, but only scored one more run in their victory.

One more run is all they needed though despite a short outing from the mascot, Zach Putnam. Putnam went two innings, gave up nothing but a walk. No word on the injury Putnam sustained right now.

Jonathan Holt pitched three innings and gave up the two runs, but the rest of the bullpen was nails. Mike Pontius picked up the win, and he combined with Matt Meyer (hold) and Dallas Cawiezell (save) to pitch five scoreless innings with just one hit and four walks.

The main offense came from three select players. Leadoff man Tim Fedroff had three hits, a run scored, and a run batted in. Alex Castillo had two hits, and yes.. Matt McBride doubled again in 2-4 night with two RBI.

LAKE COUNTY

The Indians won, the other three minor league teams won, so it's up to Lake County for a organizational sweep..

And they would get the job done with a 5-3 win over Hagerstown.

The offense seems that they've got themselves going with ten hits.

Ryan Blair had two hits, so did Adam White who had a run batted in and his tenth stolen base of the year.

Karexon Sanchez doubled as did Jeremie Tice who not only doubled but hit his second home run of the year with two RBI.

Nate Recknagel has been a guy I've typed a lot of lately in these recaps and he's getting it done with the bat. He hit his first home run of the year, scored twice, knocked in two and walked once last night.

Alexander Perez was on the mound, he pitched 4.2 innings, gave up a few runs, but he struck out seven and walked four, so you can imagine his pitch count got run up.

So David Roberts who pitched 2.1 innings got the win by giving up a run and striking out five.

Matt Langwell picked up a two inning save with three strikeouts.

4.28.2009

Morning Update: Wedge REALLY should bite someone

And I'm dead serious when I say that.

This computer is still having its fan thing and it's annoying.. It's hot in here and he needs to bite someone.

I've got a lot to do, so I'm kind of scrambling around here without a breakfast, so maybe that's why he should bite someone.

I don't know, but a good tirade right now might spark this team. He's also looking for some leadership, which he knows this team has.

"We'll find out," Wedge said. "If it hasn't, we'll do whatever it takes to make sure it does. We're not a young team anymore. A lot of our guys are right smack dab in the middle of their career. There are some things happening that shouldn't be happening."

"We're still coming together as a team," he said. "You always want leadership within your players. There's no team that doesn't need that."

One might point to DeRosa and some might say, well they have to be vocal. As DeRosa says though, that isn't the case.
"It's playing the game the right way," he said. "It's the little things -- running the bases right, putting up good at-bats, knowing the game situations. When you're not doing those things, that's what frustrates managers. As far as leadership goes, we definitely have leadership guys here. It's just a matter of getting a feel for our identity as a team and having guys stepping up and taking that role."
People, just stick to the course here. This team has showed their good signs. They just need to put it together at once. Stop getting all hissy over everything. I'm frustrated just as many fans are, but rash decisions are not the answer.

But it only makes sense Kerry Wood felt the frustration of this season. Because really he's the only one not to so far.

"Cliff [Lee] throws 110 pitches and holds them scoreless," Wood said. "I'm in for 12 pitches, and it's 3-0."

"It doesn't matter how hard you throw it," Wood said. "If you miss your spot at this level, they're going to hurt you."

Wood said he missed his spot, simple as that and he feels bad for Lee's start being wasted.

Back to Eric Wedge and him getting pissed last night. He explained himself, and I'd have to agree with him on this one, on why he felt Bucknor was wrong.
"It's not [Bucknor's] call right there," Wedge said. "Even if the ball was in front of the bag, the third-base umpire was closer and had a better view of it. It was just a bad call."
The third base ump did call it a fair ball and the inning would have been over. It was Bucknor who then came in and called it a foul ball. He's 100% right, so he wasn't arguing just to blow of steam, he had a legit beef.

Ryan Garko said Wakefield's knuckler was for real last night.
"When you see him striking guys out on balls in the zone, that's when you know he's got a good [knuckleball] going," Garko said. "If his pitches aren't in the dirt, that's when you know he's got the good one."
Yeah I hate those nights. It's a helpless feeling watching guys swing at this 67 MPH pitch and miss or just chop it foul. For what it's worth, they seemed to make him work or at least make contact, so it wasn't a complete foolish night.

Now back to DeRosa, who is totally fine with the move down in the order. He is showing some of that leadership by saying, hey it helps the team by me moving down, I'm not hitting well right this minute.
"There are a ton of pitchers I am seeing for the first time and getting a feel for," DeRosa said. "But to be honest, the pitcher has been inconsequential right now. I'm battling some demons in my own head. I need to stop doing that and start simplifying the game."

"I think it helps the team," he said. "I don't think it helps me. I expected it. It didn't come as a shock. [When the team is struggling], you can't keep running out the same lineup if it's not producing runs."
Meanwhile, Asdrubal Cabrera, the one who took the second spot isn't thinking about the switch. He's just continuing on. Which is great to see. He's really earned the move up.

Oh yeah.. Cliff Lee, I almost forgot. Jason Bay can attest to it, and he probably had the best night against him, he had the Cy Stuff Going.
"That was the Cy Young guy from last year, no question," said Bay. "He had good life on his fastball. The radar gun says it's 92 mph to 93 mph, but it's got some life to it. It plays a little harder than that."
And Aaron Laffey.. Why are the Indians 3-0 in his starts this year?
"I'm recognizing why it feels good this year," said Laffey. "I'm being a little more analytical. Usually you go through your check points in your bullpen [session], but now I'm getting to where I can do it in the game."
That's good.. That's the growth of a pitcher. Hopefully it sticks. I've had Laffey pegged as one of the guys to end this year in the rotation, even after he lost the spot. So it's good to see things coming together for him.

Perhaps I should have found a picture of Jensen Lewis and did the LOLTribe picture I did with Masa.
"I lost my voice watching the NFL Draft," Lewis joked. "I was yelling at the Browns every time they traded down."
Really though, Lewis is just trying to find himself. He knows the lenght of the season and he is just waiting for it to click.
"It's more about adjustments for me," he said. "Guys have seen me now, so they have a better idea of what I'm trying to do. And I think teams are approaching our bullpen differently. They don't want to face Kerry [Wood] in the ninth, so they have to attack us."
If you still don't know why Travis Hafner was out of the lineup for the second straight game, it was because of the Knuckleball. Wedge didn't want Hafner to screw up his swing and all the progress he's made trying to hit that thing. That didn't stop Jeff Datz for pinch hitting for him last night against Wakefield though. The 0-9 against Wake probably had a factor in that too.

As you can see up there at the top of the page, Grady Sizemore got his Gold Glove last night. He also got his silver slugger.

Oh and Wedge credited Carl Willis and Chuck Hernadnez with the possible fixing of Rafael Perez, who could join Tony Sipp to form a solid late inning lefty combo.

4.27.2009

Minor Issues: K-Tribe Sweep Awards Again, House Wins First

WHAT'S THE NEWS
A few awards to hand out to the minor leaguers.

Matt LaPorta's hot hitting earned him the International League Player of the Week award. He went 13-25 with two jacks and six RBI.
The second sweep for the K-Tribe in Carolina League Awards just happened.

Lonnie Chisenhall took home the player of the week, after his two-grand slam performance. While Eric Berger took home the Carolina League pitcher of the week award. Congrats to all the three of them.

Tony's latest piece at IPI is about David Huff and the help he gets from his coaching brother.

Last year I remember talking about a nice story on host families for minor league players. Well this woman isn't a host family for players, but everyone knows her because she does a lot. She's "Grandma Z" and she bakes for the players.

''She is out there every game I throw, good luck charm or not,'' Lofgren said. ''She is a very spiritual person and I like having her around.''

''They are kids away from home and they need somebody to sort of look after them,'' Zabarsky said. ''It's been a lot of fun.''
Great to see stories like this. That's the beauty of minor league ball.

COLUMBUS

Columbus had a late charge fall just short to Toledo, 9-6.

Michael Aubrey kept his average back afloat with a 2-4 day, also hitting a two-run home run and scoring twice.

Stephen Head hit a solo home run as well.

Josh Barfield now has nine RBI after a double and two RBIs. Barfield's double was one of five for the Clippers, with Wes Hodges, Luis Valbuena, Aubrey, and David Dellucci getting the others.

Dellucci also went 3-4 with a run scored. He's hitting .458 for the Clippers and I'll say his bat is definitely ready. Not sure about everything else though. He still hasn't played in the field.

Kirk Saarloos is just.. Yeah just awful. Five innings, eight runs, only six of them were earned, but just.. 10 hits and 2 walks. Bad. He also had two wild pitches.

John Meloan pitched three solid, giving up one run.

AKRON

The Aeros got a much needed off-day. Their pitching staff could use it after all the innings they've pitched.

KINSTON

The K-Tribe were also on an off-day.

LAKE COUNTY

T.J. House lead the Captains to a win, but he also got some run support.

House went six strong, giving up one run off just four hits and four strikeouts. He picked up his first win of his career, hopefully first of many.

Steve Smith picked up save number three.

The offense though, finally got some things going.

Donnie Webb was on base three times, scored one run, stole number six of the year, and knocked in a run as well.

Karexon Sanchez hit number four of the year in the ninth inning.

Nate Recknagel knocked in three with a double in the sixth inning.

Everyone on the Captains team scored a run except for Recknagel and everyone got a hit minus Abner Abreu. Mark Thompson knocked in a run and had two hits and Chris Nash had two hits.

Finally a solid offensive outing all around for the Captains.

In bad news, Abreu struck out four times.

Cliff Lee... Was Sorta Good.. Tribe still lose

Damnit...

It felt like one of those games we weren't going to lose.

Cliff Lee was on the mound... Eric Wedge got all fired up and ejected.. Tim Wakefield was on tonight, but it felt like we were going to get him out or things would get away and the Indians would pull home a victory.

Then Kerry Wood just kind of... huh.

A walk and a cheap Ortiz single put two on and set the stage for Jason Bay to pull a fastball in his wheelhouse over the left-center field wall.

3-0... Tuck the children in.

I mean wow.

A little bit of a late rally there with Choo and Garko singling up the middle to put two on with no one out. After Peralta strikes out, Mark DeRosa knocks in a run with a single. Then the rally dies when free-swinging Shoppach swings at nothing but balls out of the zone.

I'm all for him ripping away at the fastball, because the kid could end it, but he wasn't discipline enough.

Side note here.... The Peralta strikeout call was bogus considering the very first pitch to DeRosa was right in the same spot. I'm not saying C.B. Bucknor was bad tonight, he wasn't horrible, but man come on dude. So was the first strike to Francisco in his at-bat, a little high, but these primetime closers seem to get those calls.

Overall.. I'm pissed off.

Cliff Lee pitched outstanding. He went eight scoreless, giving up just five hits with no walks, five strikeouts. Got a few double plays in timely fashion, even battled through a few defensive gaffs.

And he was good.. Like Cliff Lee 2008 good against a team that is hot hitting and on a ten, now eleven, game win streak.

Wood comes in, a guy we need to depend on to at least get this one more inning, because as you can see the Indians just needed to get that darn knuckleballer out and adjust. They put up a run in the bottom of the ninth. Just needed one inning, but Wood couldn't do it.

I don't know.. He challenged him in and Bay burned him.

Just frustrating to lose this one. Eric Wedge has been pissed.. He was going to get tossed on that second time he went out because you can tell he just wanted to kill someone. You would think it would be a shot of energy, and it sort of was I guess. I felt a little amped up from watching him go out there and scream his ass off, but you can be hyped up all you want. If Wakefield's knuckleball is on, it's on and you ain't hitting it.

Just four hits.. three of them off Papelbon in the ninth, one off Wakefield, a Victor Martinez hit.. He was on and there is nothing you can do but make him throw a lot of pitches and get him the heck out of there ASAP, or hope he throws fifty wild balls in a row like he almost did in the last few innings he pitched.

Ah well... Tomorrow we get Brad Penny, who is undefeated but carrying an ERA in the 7, against Anthony Reyes for the Tribe. Maybe Wedge will bite someone (please Hoynes) in the press conference and that emotion will carry over to tomorrow.

I'll bite someone now, my laptop's fan won't stop going.. STOP ALREADY PLEASE!

Grrr...

Rafael Betancourt Cap Counter: 12

[BOXSCORE]

LOLTribe: Hard Candy Mania, Ehnglish Lhessons Fhrom Jhonny

Its' times like these in which I wish.. Okay I'm stumped.. I have nothing really.

Announcement: LOL Tribe will happen just four times a month, for select serieseseses. This makes much more sense. I think I'll stop juggling it around now and stick to this schedule. Also Photoshop Off Day this week. I'm so excited!



If you don't remember or get it, check the spring training archives.



Even Masa just wanted the Browns to make the pick!



It could have done without really, but when Nick Punto lays down a bunt, you better fear for your lives.



It definitely looks like he's reaching into his jersey. What is it with this myth that all old people have hard candy? Or is it a myth?



Yeah and also from the man who only constructs simple sentences as well.



Nom nom nom is a sensitive subject. But I'm afraid I've run out of my quota of Frisky references for the month. Okay I haven't, I just don't have the clip handy right now. I will soon.

I never know how to end these, so how about a quick story.

Remember how I said the weather was so awesome today?

Well it is. But you know the library is bad when you'd rather be outside because.. no it isn't warmer inside, it's COLDER inside.

Turn the damn air down hippies.

Morning Update: Is Asdrubal's Ascension For Good?

Oh I wore shorts today... And yesterday when I cut the grass.. But today is better because I'm on campus and I woke up this morning and it looked like it was mid-afternoon. And now the weather is just perfect.

It isn't too hot, but it isn't cold.. The wind is just right.. It's a gentle breeze and I can wear shorts.

Not khakis either.. My nice comfortable Adidas shorts.

Weather is good.. Now don't screw it up Betsy Kling.

If there is one thing you can say about ALL of the starts from Aaron Laffey... It's that they've kept his team in the game. And seeing as how this staff has had trouble of doing that.. Those starts have been a bit of a godsend.
"With all of his starts, he's given us a great chance to win," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "That's all we can ask for and even more than we ask for. What you can ask for is a good chance to win the game, and he's been giving us an excellent chance to win those ball games."
Wedge said he did put himself into jams, but he's good about getting out of them with the double play ball and Wedge admitted that Laffey was getting kind of tired towards the end.

The real story was Tony Sipp though and Wedge praised him to no end.
"Tony Sipp really, really picked us up today," Wedge said. "You can't be in a tighter situation, later innings with those hitters coming up. Just did an outstanding job."
How can you not be happy to see what he did? He came in and struck out a AL MVP with the bases loaded and one out. Then he struck out one of the hottest hitters in the game right now. Laffey said it was a "Welcome to the Big League" moment. Sipp knew the situation he was in and all he did was focus.

"I really just tried to stay within myself," Sipp said. "I've got enough pressure there, and facing Morneau doesn't help the situation."

"Hopefully, I'm building something for myself here," Sipp said. "But if you look at it, it's just two innings and nothing more."

Oh but don't mistake anything about it. Sipp knew what he was getting into.
"I was about as comfortable as you can get given the circumstances," Sipp said. "I knew what was at stake. I knew it was a lot different than the Kansas City game."
Sipp was also happy to keep the win up for Laffey, who he's gone through the system with.

Then there is Masa Kobayashi.. Who is just looking for a spot. Wedge thinks he can use him everywhere... Masa knows this, but he's still trying to adjust.

"With our bullpen, it's tough to put people in specific roles," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "Masa's role, for me, is that every time we go out, he's pitched everywhere -- way early, way late. Regardless of what I need, he can fill that role for us."

"When I signed my contract with the Indians, I knew I wasn't going to be the closer, and I knew I had to prepare to pitch the seventh, eighth or ninth. It wasn't something new that popped up.

"In Japan, I was the ninth-inning closer, so it was easier for me to prepare. From the seventh inning on, I would be up in the bullpen to warm up, then as the game went on, I was getting ready for the ninth."

One thing Masa would not do is blame cultural reasons... Masa is a great guy though. He just needs to step up everytime he gets out because... honestly he's on the shortest leash of all the relief pitchers now. There is Vinnie Chulk, but if Masa just gets bad, he will be gone in one shape or way.

Overall going back to Sunday though.. Wedge was happy with the offense yesterday than on Saturday. He said the team worked a little harder offensively in their at-bats.

Peralta is one of those guys, and Tribe Third Base Coach (Not hitting coach as the article points out), said the thing Wedge said Peralta and the Indians did a bit more of.
"Right now, we need to continue grinding it out and doing the things we need to do, throughout the course of the whole game," Skinner said. "There are times when you can just pick things apart. We do these things every day. You need to try to win the first inning and go from there."
Can you argue with that philosophy? They won the first inning this game and they won the game. That's how the Twins do it, that's how it should be done.

This scuffling though... It prompted a change.

One change was Asdrubal Cabrera being thrown up to the top of the lineup, and paired with his defense, Wedge has nothing but good things to say about the youngster. Oh and this move is more than one a time thing, it might be the official point where he takes over if he keeps hitting well.
"That's the level you want to see him play at," Wedge said. "He was outstanding for us in the two-hole in '07. He'll be there [Monday]."
And now we turn our focus to the Red Sox on Monday.. And Cliff Lee facing his favorite team.

When it comes to RBI Baseball that is.
"Then, I'm a Red Sox guy," said Lee, referring to the classic Nintendo game.
Lee, Kerry Wood, and Victor Martinez do a lot of RBI Baseball. Lee says Victor is the champ, and that he's beat Wood just about every time they've played minus once.

Other than that, this really doesn't have anything to do with the series this week.

Cliff is pitching much better though and doing a better job, more towards what he did last year, rather than what he did in the first few games.

Minor Issues: Columbus Blows Lead in 8th Inning, Constanza Heats Up

WHAT'S THE NEWS
Indians Baseball in Columbus is a hit.. The Clippers led the minors in average attendance after the game on Saturday.

Many will talk about Beau Mills and relate to the fact that he's been around so long because of his dad being involved with the game. Well they will.
''He's a baseball player through and through,'' Aeros hitting coach Lee May Jr. said of the younger Mills. ''He's been around the game all his life and has a good feel for it, which makes him seasoned beyond his years. One of Beau's best attributes is definitely his baseball IQ.''
You can read more about Mills and the story here.

Jellis at IPI has a piece up on Kinston pitcher Jeanmar Gomez.

COLUMBUS

The Clippers dropped the final game in their series with Indianapolis, and in frustrating fashion too, blowing a four run lead in the 8th inning.

First how the lead was established in the first place.

Josh Barfield went 2-4, with two RBI, and a stolen base. Really he was the trooper. Andy Marte doubled and scored a run, Valbuena walked twice and had a hit. Andy Cannizaro had a RBI.

The other run was scored on a wild-pitch.

Tomo Ohka was pretty awesome. No really.. I'm not joking again.

Six innings of shutout ball with just two hits and a walk. I mean where did this Tomo Ohka come from?

Zach Jackson then turned in a solid seventh, but in the eighth is when the shizzle hit the fizzle.

Zach Jackson records two outs.. Yes two outs.. and then he died.

Seriously.

Single, Single, Single... Bases Loaded Walk: 1 Run

Ryan Edell in.

Michael Aubrey error lets two runs cross: 4-3

Walk, Bases Loaded, 2-RBI Single: 5-4, Indians lead.

Amazing. Only in minor league ball.

AKRON

A grueling five game series came to an end, and the Aeros will only get three wins. But that's okay, it was another hard fought game and ultimately an extra innings loss.

Akron busted out to a four run lead in the first though.

Jose Constanza is a hit machine, with three more tonight and he stole a base, he didn't walk or score a run though. While Beau Mills and Carlos Santana both had a hit and two runs scored, Santana also had two walks.

The run producing came from Josh Rodriguez, who went 2-4 with a run, a RBI, and a walk. Jerad Head knocked in three runs to bring his total on the year to 7. Mickey Hall had another RBI today as well.

Frank Herrmann was pitching outstanding through seven innings, giving up just two runs, then he came out for the eighth inning and things fell a part.

Herrmann gives up a walk and two singles and departs. All of those runs end up crossing the plate. Incuding two more given up by Paolos Espino who not only "Blew the Save" but lost the game in the 10th inning as well

KINSTON

Kinston held off a late charge by Lynchburg to pick up a series split.

Cristo Arnal, Richard Martinez, and Ron Rivas knocked in runs, with Rivas going with two hits including a double. Cord Phelps also had two hits.

But it was Matt McBride hitting home run number three, scored twice.

Eric Berger was fantastic. Six innings, three hits, six strikeouts, no runs or walks.. Very solid work from Berger.

Matt Meyer gives in two scoreless and then it came to Garrison Campfield to get it done in the eighth. Well he gave up three runs, all unearned. Heath Taylor came in to get one out in the eighth and then he closed it out in the ninth.

LAKE COUNTY

Off day for the Captains.

4.26.2009

Salvage Me..Oh Aaron Laffey

That one was straight outta the Joe Borowski/Bob Wickman school of saving ballgames wasn't it?

But it didn't really feel like oh my god here we go.

It was sort of like.. Okay whatever he'll just strike out the side or something.

He didn't do that, but Kerry Wood got the double play ball and then struck out Harris to end the game.

But thank the world for Aaron Laffey.

Where would we be without his fabulous pitching.

Today he went six scoreless, until he ran into the snag in the seventh when he departed with just one out and the bases loaded. Jensen Lewis gave up a bugger single up the middle that scored two, but that would be it because..

THE MAN THAT IS TONY SIPP!

I mean that's not an easy situation to come into. Bases loaded with one out and facing their two hottest/best hitters in Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel.

And Sipp sets them down with punchouts.

Ladies and Gentleman. If Rafael Perez is on track... and Tony Sipp can do that... We can hand the 8th inning role over to Rafael on most nights and use Jensen Lewis, Tony Sipp, and Rafael Betancourt all in the sixth and seventh innings.

Or he could set Lewis and Betancourt in 7th and 8th inning roles in whatever way he pleases and just use those two left-handers interchangeably.

Then the offense looked a little better as they were able to knock out enough runs. And if you ask me Ryan Garko being in the five hole was a tone setter.

Ryan gets the start in the five spot and he's been one of the better hitters this year so far. He got the job done today with the two run single. He just takes the changeup low and in the zone and knocks it into left-center field for two runs.

Simple as that.

Choo DHing in the 4 hole as well on those same lines. He walks twice in the game after he hits a RBI double in the first. And that to me kind of says, okay settle down we can do this.

It's interesting what Wedge did with this lineup. Along with his comments it sort of made a statement. Asdrubal Cabrera flies all the way up to the second hole and he responds with two hits. Grady Sizemore has two hits. Cabrera knocked in a run too don't forget and he also walked. So that's what you want from a two hitter.

DeRosa has been struggling so he's pushed down, along with Peralta who finally busted out with a hit. Wedge also had DeRosa in at right field for the first time this year, giving him a break from third and getting Graffanino a start at third.

All in all, Wedge is trying to make a statement with the offense, so maybe some of it will get some people going. Maybe it won't.

Aaron Laffey though has a final line of 6.1 innings, 2 ER, 5 hits, 4 BB, a strikeout and a couple of double players as usual. Win number two for the Joker.

This was a day in which the Rafael Betancourt Cap Counter didn't get much use... But it seems like he took forever.. He only made 10 pitches! and 9 were for strikes! The guy is nuts.

Rafael Betancourt Cap Counter: 30

Tomorrow, Cliff Lee and the Tribe welcome in the Boston Red Sox for a three game stand. Lee and Wakefield go on Monday, with Reyes and Carmona on Tuesday and Wednesday. Penny and Lester go for the Sox, so we avoid Beckett.

[BOXSCORE]

Morning Update: Wedge is Pissed.. Get the bucket

God what a douche bag Milton Bradley is... I don't particularly love seeing people flounder around. But I get a little bit of enjoyment out of watching him dig himself in stupid holes.

So how was the draft? I know I paid attention it a little more and kind was in and out of the Indians game. If the Indians were playing the game a little better, I might have paid less attention, but I'm a guy who gets enamored by stuff like this.

I know many Browns fans are probably joking about trading down like they did. But give Mangini some credit, he know what he wants. I'm also rather pissed they took Alex Mack, a guy I wanted for the Steelers.

A side note.. How stupid are the Raiders? I mean really. Any of you that like the Browns can feel pretty good when you look at the Raiders. No one can do as bad as them.

What I find interesting is how Twitter has become a credible news source. The first news of the Browns trades for me was thanks to someone telling me because they saw it on Twitter. I mean really? And you have players tweeting after they get drafted I'm sure.

I just use it to whore out the website
. I don't get the whole idea of it, but... people do it.. And Matt LaPorta just tweeted like four minutes ago. I have a feeling we'll end up finding out about his call-up via Twitter.. More than just finding out his opinions of Ohio State's place compared to "The Swamp."

I think it's time to talk about the Indians though, because that NFL Draft resumes in about an hour and I want to get in a few hours before the game starts.

I mentioned some of the quotes from Eric Wedge last night when I was watching his press conference.. Well get a load of these. He's really angered.
"Just strictly speaking about the offensive side of things, with the exception of a couple of guys, our approach has been very poor," manager Eric Wedge said. "This is something we pride ourselves on, and we work hard at it."

"There's just no excuse, whether it is a lack of discipline or concentration or confidence," he said. "Whatever [it is], we better figure it out [pretty quick], because I am not going to sit around and watch what we've been watching here."
This is what I gave you last night, verbatim. As you can see the brackets replace the swear words that he definitely used. Could you imagine what an Ozzie quote would look like?

Two things though.. Wedge says no personnel changes are coming, so no LaPorta just yet AND of course he preached about his "good outs" theory. How if you always give the effort, and if you at least make good outs, he won't have a problem with you. Maybe that's why Peralta was benched yesterday.

"I think with where we are, the poor start we're off to, we have to address everything," he said. "We don't want to dig too big a hole for ourselves. We know we get better as the year goes on, but these guys have to come to the ballpark each and every day, and they have to have that controlled aggressiveness about themselves and understand the sense of urgency, yet have the heartbeat that allows them to go out there and compete at their best.

"What bothers me more than anything is that we're not making good outs. I can live with good outs."

You can see the full quotes without the swear words edited out, thanks to Mr. Hoynes, and you can see Wedge talk about consistency. Pavano though also talked about his performance. You may have noticed a lot of his hits just getting through the holes in the infield. You hate make excuses, and Pavano won't.

"I don't get caught up in this ball found a hole or that ball found a hole," said Pavano. "Once I give up the out, I focus on the next hitter. I gave up five earned runs in five innings. That's not acceptable."

Oh and no one was joking when they said Kobayashi is on a short leash. He's been pretty good up to this point, and yes the minute he had a bad performance, he looks on thin ice.

"He's got to keep the ball down," Wedge said of Kobayashi. "You see him and he pitches one guy good, then the next he gets the ball up and they square it up. He has to keep the ball in the ballpark, and every pitch means something. He can't continue to make mistakes like that."

Rafael Perez fixed? I don't know totally, but he certainly is on his way and Wedge doesn't feel like it will be too long before he's back in the setup role.

"We're about good to go to get him back in here," Wedge said. "I don't expect it to be too long before he is back in that [setup] role."

"You really feel it next year when you push it at the end after you've done a lot, and that is the reason we backed off," Wedge said. "And he had a good spring."

Ryan Garko presented Cliff Lee with his Comeback Player of the Year award yesterday.

Not an Indians story, but Matt Guerrier grew up an Indians fan. Last year they had built a family reunion around an Indians-Twins series. It's a little tamer this year, but Guerrier still remembers facing Lofton back in 2007 and remembering the teams in of the 90's. He's from Shaker Heights.

And of course it's Sunday so that means both Pluto and Hoynes have their usuals out.

Major props to Hoynes for his little shot at the Yankee media. He can do it because no one over there is really paying attention.

Meanwhile with Pluto,
Anthony Reyes is quickly becoming one of his favorite pitchers. I've liked Reyes since he's come over and I'm really pulling for him. I think this change was one that has restarted his career. He too mentions the Indians need to start thinking about finding a spot for LaPorta.

Enjoy the draft, and hopefully your team doesn't suck as bad as the Raiders on Day 2.

*I'll explain Get the Bucket at a much later date, I'm sure you are wondering what the hell that means in the title.

Minor Issues: LaPorta Goes Deep Again, Is it time?

WHAT'S THE NEWS
There really is none.. Really.. All quiet on the western front.
COLUMBUS

People are starting to clamor for Matt LaPorta, and rightfully so.

Columbus won again last night behind the bat of LaPorta and some decent pitching by David Huff.

Huff went six innings and gave up three runs and struck out seven, to secure his third win of the year. Matt Herges pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his third save.

Matt LaPorta though went 3-3 with two runs scored, a triple, a walk, a solo HR, and two RBI. He's now hitting .404 with a .477 OBP, a .789 Slugging Percentage, and a 1.266 OPS.

He leads the team in homers, runs scored and batted in, he's just dominating.

Michael Brantley got on track in his second game back, going 2-3 with a walk, a double, a run, and a stolen base.

Luis Valbuena also had a two-run home run for the Clippers.

David Dellucci played yet another rehab going. This is going quicker than I thought it would... He went 2-4. He's hitting .400 so it doesn't look like his bat is behind.

Now back to LaPorta and a little bit of Dellucci. How long does this team decide to go with Dellucci? Because if you ask me, he's the whole key. It isn't Ben Francisco or Trevor Crowe. Those guys will be around, Crowe probably in Triple-A and Francisco probably as the 4th outfielder. If LaPorta gets called up, it's to start most of the time, not ride the pine or play like Crowe does.

He'll start a good chunk of the games in left field, pushing Francisco to the bench. And Francisco will still get time, but he won't get starters time and that might be better for him and his numbers. His swing doesn't let him get into slumps. He's a perfect candidate to come off the bench and not have a rusty bat. Plus he can play defense a little and do something Dellucci can't do.

So really, LaPorta is connected to Dellucci. Is this team going to carry out the Dellucci thing for very long? When are they going to decide that Francisco's production is okay, but that they can do better and that Dellucci is just wasting a roster spot on this team.

I don't know. I'd get it done soon though. I'd give Dellucci very little time, if any at all. But I'm not running the team and they want to trust in Dellucci.

AKRON

Akron picked up their third win of the series yesterday as they defeated Altoona in another one run game.

Jose Constanza was awesome for like the third straight day. This time he went 3-3 with a run scored, a double, a triple, and a walk.

Jerad Head had another good game, going 2-3 with two RBI that included a solo shot.

Carlos Santana also went deep for the Aeros.

But how about Chuck Lofgren? This kid is incredible.

Six innings of no-hit ball, just one walk and seven strikeouts. His ERA is now a minisicule 1.13 in three starts.

What a bouneback so far. Carlton Smith blew the win for him though.. He ended up getting the win thanks to an Aeros comeback. Vinnie Pestano picks up save number seven.

The Aeros go for a 4-1 series win over the Curve tomorrow.

KINSTON

Pump up that Kinston offense. It was back at it again on Saturday after a little bit of a down day on Friday. They pulled off a 8-1 win over Lynchburg.

Looks like the pitchers are fearing Lonnie Chisenhall, as he went 1-3 with two walks. Cord Phelps had a hit and knocked in a run.

It was Matt McBride who went 3-4 with two runs batted in and a run scored. Matt Brown also had two runs batted in, but only off two hits.

Ron Rivas went 2-5 with a run batted in, while Roman Pena and Alex Castillo knocked in runs as well.

Jeanmarr Gomez was downright awesome with 7 scoreless, just four hits and a walk with six strikeouts.

My brother Michael pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Lynchburg.

I'm kidding.. No relation as far as I know..

LAKE COUNTY

Lake County did a good job to match Delmarva in terms of hits, but they came up three runs short in their loss.

Nate Recknagel knocked in the lone run, and get this, everyone in the lineup had a hit. No joke.. The only guy to not hit was the nine hitter, Adam White. Everyone else singled. Ryan Blair scored and Donnie Webb stole a base.

Russell Young went six innings, givng up seven hits and a walk with five strikeouts, but just two earned runs.

4.25.2009

Awww Nuts... That Sucked

Really it did.

Games against the Twins, like these, just suck to watch. Cause the Twins just bleed you to death.

You know they won't score many runs, but they'll always have good pitching and if they do get ahead, they typically won't relinquish the lead because of strong bullpen arms and well.. Joe Nathan..

Then you throw in a game where they don't score a whole lot in the beginning, yeah a run here or there, but then they start tacking on and before you know it, they have seven runs off 15 hits.

And you have 9 hits, but just one run because your offense is sort of stupid.

Kevin Slowey, guys like Blackburn.. They just aren't good pitchers for the Indians to face. They throw strikes and they throw strikes early. The Indians as a team are patient hitters, it may not seem that way because of the strikeouts. But they like to make pitchers work and the Twins pitchers like Slowey don't want to work.

They just want to throw strikes and that lets them get ahead of the Indians and before they know it, they are down 0-2 in the count.

Kevin Slowey was fantastic for them, he went 8 innings, ran into a little trouble in the ninth but gets an impressive win.

Carl Pavano.. Eh... Five innings, 11 hits, just a walk. Far from spectacular with the five runs.

He threw something in the dugout too.

I'll say, at least he got through five.

We may have seen a little bit of Rafael Perez busting out though. A good sixth to relieve Pavano and he looked sharp. I was in and out with the draft but his slider is looking better.

Joe Smith pitched two excellent innings and then of course Masa Kobayashi came back down to earth with his back to back solo jobs.

The offense was just blah. They pounded out the hits, but couldn't score them. That patience they showed really got to them. Victor Martinez isn't having an issue hitting, he had three hits including a double. Travis roped a double and went 2-4, so did Choo.

And Wedge just unleashed on the offense and he doesn't sound pleased.

"Whatever the hell it is, we better figure it out pretty damn quick. We are beyond all this, they aren't kids anymore."

And silience.....

And Hoynes chimes in with something rather inaudible.. And Wedge says "No I'm talking about people here, just doing better."

Wedge is talking about an approach this team has had since he hired Derek Shelton. That's Shelton's philosophy, so if he doens't like it, he better make a change. This team will not be free-swingers.

Oh and Wedge.. the one out, bases loaded situation in the ninth. Why wasn't Ryan Garko hitting for Tony Graffanino?

As far as I know, Peralta was benched because of his slumping offense (and let's be honest, Tony Graffanino's bat is no better), so he could still play defense if the game somehow got tied..

That just doesn't make sense to me, but whatever..

We need to avert this sweep for me to go insane here.. Aaron Laffey takes on Glen Perkins, who's been pretty awesome this year so far.

[BOXSCORE]

Morning Update: Adam Miller's Season Over, Career In Jeopardy

Well.... I got back yesterday around five and saw the news and I kinda just... Argh...

Adam Miller is done for the year and he's in serious limbo as far as his career goes.

"Adam played catch again on Monday of this week, and he experienced pain," Soloff said. "At this point, it seems like surgery is indicated."

"Because the space is so limited, with a procedure of this caliber, there is a high incidence of secondary surgery to limit or remove scar tissue which would impede recovery of both range of motion and strength," said Soloff, who added that sometimes scar tissue doesn't develop for months after the original surgery. "There's no way of knowing when that would take place. It's just a complicating factor of the injury, of the surgery and of the subsequent rehab."

"The challenging thing of that is when you go in there a third time, you run the risk of further scar tissue development," Soloff said. "That's one of the reasons why it is such a challenging case."

In the same realm though.. Even though Soloff says that the injury could put an end to his career because of all that above, Miller is determined to make it not the case, just as he fought to make sure he wouldn't miss yet another year.

"He gave it a valiant effort from a conservative standpoint," Soloff said. "As he increased intensity to face hitters in a game-like situation, he had increased symptoms. It is a surgery that he's given a great deal of thought to.

"It's something he feels as if he has to do to return to the high level that he is accustomed to."

Miller could have surgery Tuesday after meeting with Dr. Tom Graham on Monday in Baltimore to discuss options.

I feel for this kid especially because.. Look.

This is a highly talented pitcher that was supposed to make his life off baseball. He was drafted out of high school, he basically had all his hopes riding on this. Granted he signed a good contract as a first rounder (over a million), he signed out of high school, doesn't have a college degree to fall back on if this is in fact the end of his baseball career.

And he's still young. You feel bad for him because what is he going to do? Can he go back to school at this point and try to make a life for himself?

I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but really it sucks worse for guys like Miller because this was supposed to be his career.

I really hope this isn't the end of the road for him. We'll keep tabs on him as he makes the long road to recovery, and I'm sure as hell pulling for the guy.

Yesterday was all about frustration, not just with the injury news to Miller, but the game as well. Fausto Carmona was pretty good though.

"I thought Fausto threw the ball as good, if not better, than any point in time this year," manager Eric Wedge said. "He had great stuff, on the plate for the most part, pitched aggressively, and he put the ball on the ground. He gave us every chance to win the ballgame. I was really pleased with what we saw from Fausto. [He] really has something to work off of."

Unfortunately though, he took the loss because of a stifled offense and a little bit of disappointing defense.

"I haven't been particularly pleased with our defense [in the] early going," Wedge said. "The way our starting pitching is coming around, I think our bullpen is catching up a little bit. We've got to catch the ball, and our guys know that. They have to start making plays."

Wedge is obviously referring to directly what happened in the seventh inning when Rafael Betancourt came on to relieve Fausto.

Fausto gave up a single and then with a runner in motion gave up another one to Nick Punto, so he was in a bit of a bad situation with that.

After Betancourt came in, he got Span to hit a shot down the third base line that DeRosa snagged, but couldn't get a tag on Morales, the runner at third, so the bases were loaded because he didn't have a throw to first either.

Betancourt got Casilla to ground into a fielders choice at home. However Asdrubal Cabrera double clutched so the only out they got was at home and Vic didn't have time throw to first.

No problem, Betancourt then got Morneu to chop to first, but Garko couldn't handle it. Again just one out was recorded and a run scored.

After an intentional walk, Betancourt gave up a single to Joe Crede. Jhonny Peralta did a good job to get to the ball and making a spectacular throw, but Crede just beat it out.

So all three runs were charged to Fausto Carmona, but really he pitched a fabulous game, giving up just one earned before that seventh inning.

"We brought in Betancourt to get us a strikeout and get us out of that inning, but if Garko makes that play, we do get out of the inning without any runs," Wedge said. "Then, it's a different game."

I'll say this though. It was going to be tough to get Morneau at first if he threw to second. So I would totally put that as a slam dunk double play. But Garko did say he'd go home with the throw and who knows what happens from there if they get a double play or not. Still, that's a play Garko has to come up with, but also Asdrubal can't double clutch on a simple throw like that one to home plate.

Oh and that Nick Blackburn pitched pretty well.

"Blackburn is a good pitcher and he threw the ball well," Wedge said, "but I think we've been missing some pitches. We've got to do a better job with two strikes."

Garko said he just throws strikes and last night his sinker was pretty good. It is no secret that Blackburn has owned the Tribe in his career and the numbers prove it. In seven games against the Indians, he's 4-0 with a 1.63 ERA and an opponent batting average of .243.

In eight games against the White Sox, he's given up 21 earned runs, compared to just seven in seven games agasint the Indians. He just loves pitching against the Tribe.

On those lines of good starting pitching though. Carl Pavano is starting to instill some faith into Wedge and the entire team.

"He's getting progressively better, the tempo, the use of his pitches," manager Eric Wedge said. "You love that he loves his fastball. That's what he wants to do."

And what about the ace of this staff and those rumors from the other day?

"I'm not even thinking about that," said Shapiro, following the Indians' 5-2 come-from-behind victory over the Royals on Thursday. "My focus is on us having a contending season and Cliff having a great season. I think the two go hand-in-hand."

No more on this.. End of story.

If the Cavaliers and Lakers make it to the finals like everyone and their mother is saying will happen, expect a huge rivarly between Ryan Garko and Jensen Lewis.

Garko: "Do you have your Mo Williams jersey with you?"

Lewis: "You know where to find it."

Garko: "You're not from Cleveland."

Lewis: "Doesn't matter."

Garko: "It does matter."

Lewis: "Yeah, OK. See you in the Finals."

Garko: "Next you're going to start up with we -- we this, we that."

Ryan Ryan Ryan.. You like Notre Dame but you aren't from Indiana. Come on buddy, don't go with that.

Garko said real Cavs fans always get a LeBron jersey first. I tend to disagree wtih him and Garko should know better.

Rafael Betancourt Cap Counter: 54

Yep good work Rafael, image update soon.

Minor Issues: Clips knock around old-friend Jason Davis

WHAT'S THE NEWS
Welcome to the world Mike Pontius. With Sipp up, Judy following, the Indians activated Mike Pontius from extended spring to Advanced A Kinston. Remember Party Boy? The guy who did that was named Chris Pontius.

Mike "Party Boy" Pontius.. I just did it.

Tony Lastoria has a piece on Chris Nash, who is starting for the second straight year in Lake County. That isn't slowing Chris down though, and bonus, he's healthy right now.

Also a new Minor Happenings. Tony highlights the great week for Eric Berger, has quotes from Ross Atkins on Tony Sipp and his promotion to Cleveland, and some notes on the injuries to De La Cruz and Brantley.

Obviously the big news though is about Adam Miller. I want to talk about that in detail though and I'll do it later in Morning Update.
COLUMBUS

Remember Jason Davis?

On Columbus, probably only Jeremy Sowers, David Dellucci and Josh Barfield do, vaguely.

He pitched for Indianapolis yesterday in the Clippers win.

Any surprise I mentioned Jason Davis and the idea that his team lost? Nah. Nice to see him still kicking around Triple-A, and with the Pirates no less.

The offense had their way with him and put up a good 9 spot in the game.

The big shot was a Matt LaPorta two-run homer in the third inning. He also had another hit and three runs scored.

Wes Hodges also had three runs scored with three hits and Luis Valbuena, hitting in the fifth hole, went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, a double, a triple, a walk, and three RBI.

Wyatt Toregas and Michael Aubrey knocked in a run each and Josh Barfield knocked in two.

What is up with David Dellucci? He's now tripled and stolen bases down at Triple-A.. Did this injury make him faster or something?

Jack Cassel was on the mound for the Clips. He pitched seven strong, giving up two runs off six hits with a walk and 6 strikeouts.

Ryan Edell and John Meloan both struggled, giving up five runs combined in two innings.

AKRON

The Aeros played their second double-header in three days, this one against Altoona.

Game one was a complete one (but it wasn't supposed to be) that saw the Aeros win in exciting fashion, when Mickey Hall doubled home Johnnie Drennen in the bottom of the ninth to give the Aeros a 3-2 win.

Jose Constanza picked up where he left off, going 3-4 with a run scored. Mickey Hall had the game winning hit and another, while Beau Mills and Carlos Rivero knocked in the othe runs. Niuman Romero had two hits.

Steven Wright pitched six innings, gave up a run off three hits and a walk and turned it over to Vinnie Pestano for a save in the seventh.

Pestano has been nails, but he finally gave up a run and blew a save. That sent the game into extras, but it really wasn't extras (past the seventh, it was supposed to be a shortened game).

Randy Newsom pitched two innings and got the win after the Mickey Hall game winner.

Game 2 was completed in seven innings, but the Aeros didn't win it, in fact it was a reversal of fortunes as the Aeros gave up four runs in the seventh to let the Curve come from behind.

Erik Stiller started and went a few innings, he gave up two earned. Mike Finocchi gave up two runs, but none of them earned and Josh Judy making his Akron debut started out the seven inning woes.

Josh Rodriguez went 2-3 with two runs scored, while Nick Weglarz went 0-2 with two runs scored, a walk, and an RBI.

Romero knocked in two runs off two hits and Drennen tripled home two runs. Jerad Head had two hits.

KINSTON

A tame loss for the K-Tribe, who might have run out of a little steam after scoring all those runs. They had eight hits, but they could only muster up one run in their 4-1 loss to Lynchburg.

But no surprise, Lonnie Chisenhall knocked in that lone run.

Cord Phelps and Ron Rivas with two hits.

Ryan Miller gave up three unearned runs, but he continues to battle his control issues. He's now walked 15 hitters to striking out 13 hitters. Not good. He did pitch four innings and gave up three hits, but like I said.. 5 walks is more than both the number of hits and strikeouts. You can't do that and expect to win.

Jonathan Holt pitched three scoreless with just two hits in relief for Miller.

LAKE COUNTY

Another whimper offensive performance by the Captains. They just have no offensive juice, especially when Abner Abreu isn't really hitting and he didn't play in this game anyway.

Richard Martinez knocked in the one run but he didn't have a hit. No the five hits were gained by Adam Abraham, Chris Nash, Matt Thompson, and two by Donnie Webb.

TJ McFarland took the loss after he went 4.1 innings, gave up six hits and four walks, but just one unearned run, two total.