6.29.2009

What the frick stick!

Ready?

Lost again.

That game was awful.

Pavano goes seven, gives up two and the offense can't muster anything till the ninth and they get absolutely honked on a call in the seventh.

Chris Perez comes in and welcomes himself to the bullpen with a horrible four runs given up, four runs that extended a lead that would be gone thanks to the three runs they scored in the ninth.

My television is flickering around like a jerkface.

Oh Josh Barfield is gone again.. We just need to get rid of him.

Him and Garko.. Just get them out of here. Stop monkeying around with these two guys, they deserve better.

Really...

The two latest CastroTurfs have everything, but this team has made me so upset I don't really want to devote too much time into saying how much I want to stab them all.

CT1
CT2

Oh and Cliff Lee trade rumors again? Some front office officials are real desperate. Seriously, cut it out losers.

And the Reds came in second for Mark DeRosa? That's interesting, who knows what they had to offer. I'd take that little guy Danny Herrera, just because he's a little guy and those little guys have some spunk.

Spunk and short entries. DIE.

[BOXSCORE]

6.28.2009

Mark DeRosa Trade Round-Up

So here is the round-up as far as the Mark DeRosa Trade is concerned.

We've now found out that there is a September 1st deadline attached to the Player to Be Named Later.

There is an unknown as far as the list goes.

That above link mentioned two names.

One is Jess Todd, the other is Francisco Samuel. It's going to sound like that there is nothing but pitchers on this list though.

How long is the list? Who knows. Samuel and Todd are just possibilities, not actually on the definite list.

Todd is the fourth ranked prospect in the Cardinals organization according to Baseball America, right behind Perez.

According to BA, Todd has a cutter, a fastball that reaches around 94, a slider, and he's pitched in last years XM Futures Game.

Last year he struck out 136 hitters over 153 innings pitched in three minor league levels. Most of that coming from Double-A. He reached the majors this year for a quick appearance and while he's been mostly a starter, he'd probably profile better into the bullpen.

So...

Other possibilities?

Here are some relief pitchers in the BA Top 30 for the Cardinals.

13. Jaime Garcia, LHP
15. Lance Lynn, RHP
20. Fernando Salas, RHP

I haven't read much on either, but they are all relief pitchers and in the top 30. If I were Shapiro, I'd take no less than someone on that list of top 30 prospects.

Anyway.. The count-down is on. September 1st is the deadline, the Indians will pick, hopefully.

Here are some links on Perez, Todd and the other "possibility", Samuel Francisco.

Chris Perez
Baseball America Rank: 3
Prospect Profile from Future Redbirds 2008
Fangraph Stats

Jess Todd
Baseball America Rank: 4
Prospect Profile from Future Redbirds 2008
Busch Birds
Fangraph Stats

Francisco Samuel
Baseball America Rank: 21
Scout.com

Minor Issues: Wegz and McBride hit 3-run shots to support Aeros

WHAT'S THE NEWS

Provided that the Indians sign their top two picks, Alex White and Jason Kipnis. They'll have signed their top 20 picks.

Thanks in large part to the other Kyle Smith signing.

This is the pitcher Kyle Smith, from Kent State. How are we going to distinguish these two? Kyle Smith 1 and Kyle Smith 2?

New Minor League Happenings is up and it's pretty much official. Abner Abreu is out for the year after seperating his shoulder. Not sure if surgery is needed yet, but either way, he's done for the year. The one scout that was quoted in there said Abreu reminds him of a younger Vlad Guerrero.

I think we'll all take that if that's the case.

The ML Happenings also covers Putnam's small injury, Futures Game news, ASG Wrap-ups, Bo Greenwell, and one last farewell to Mike Aubrey.

COLUMBUS

Is Hector Rondon ready yet?

How about Josh Tomlin?

Jack Cassel blew and it's now his second disaster game in the last three. He did go eight innings his last time out, but he gave up nine hits and three walks, a miracle he only gave up two runs. The Clippers lost big time to Durham.

In this game, Cassel gave up nine runs, seven earned, off eight hits and a walk in 5.2 innings.

John Meloan pitched a perfect inning, striking out one. That's encouraging.

Andy Marte had two hits, a run scored and a run batted in while Niuman Romero had a double and two runs batted in himself. Mickey Hall and Damaso Espino also knocked in runs. Romero, Espino, Hall, was it back-up night?

AKRON

Speaking of Josh Tomlin, he went seven solid to pick up his eight win for the Aeros in their 8-3 win over Binghampton. Tomlin gave up three runs off six hits and a walk with four strikeouts.

Erik Stiller went two scoreless and struck out two.

The Aeros were powered by two big hits, both three-run home runs by Nick Weglarz and Matt McBride. Beau Mills knocked in the other two runs with a hit and Jerad Head had two hits. But no one did more in terms of hitting than Johnnie Drennen, who had three hits. Unfortunately he didn't score or knock in a run. Probably the three most useless hits ever, that sucks.

KINSTON

It took runs in the eighth and ninth inning to tie things up with Salem for extras, but the magic ran out for Kinston in the next five innings and they ended up losing in 14 innings.

The K-Tribe was blanked for the first seven innings after being shutout last night, so the eighth and ninth inning were welcomed sights.

The first run came off the bat of Adam Davis, who doubled home Ryan Blair, who had two hits on the night. The K-Tribe then tied it up in the ninth thanks to a few walks, a bunt, and then a wild pitch. Ole Sheldon Plankton started the walk spark.

Russell Young went seven innings, giving up two runs off eight hits and three strikeouts. Big ups to Johnathan Holt for going three innings and striking out two for scoreless baseball.

Dave Roberts made his Kinston debut and things did not go well. The run was unearned because Ryan Blair committed an error at first. A sac bunt got the runner to second and a wild pitch by Roberts got him to third. With one out, the run scored on a groundout and Salem would take it home after that.

LAKE COUNTY
If I told you that the Kinston Indians were not the only team to play a 14-inning game would you believe me?

You should, because the Lake County Captains did as well and yes, it ended up being a one-run game. This was a lot more interesting though.

The Caps gave up a run in the 12th and normally they'd be done after that, but guess what. In a crazy turn of events, the Captains scored by getting two hits with two outs. With Cid on first and Michael Valdez on first and Adam Abraham hitting, the double steal was on. Cid was out at second, but not before Valdez scored to tie the game.

They'd lose, but still, fun stuff.

Mark Thompson had three hits and Nate Recknagel had a RBI.

Eddie Burns went three scoreless, letting up one hit and one walk and striking out four. Steve Smith went two innings, giving up just one hit and striking out one.

MAHONING VALLEY

Despite out-hitting Williamsport, the Scrappers got out-scored, by a pretty weird margin as well.

Jordan Henry knocked in a run in his first at-bat and that was it. John Allman and Lurvin Basabe both had two hits and Jason Smit had one with two walks, but the Scrappers were silient in the run-production category.

Preston Guilmet gave up five runs, only thee earned, in four innings of work. Austin Adams went two scoreless innings.

ARIZONA LEAGUE

The AZL Indians lost to the Mariners last night and gave up a bunch of hits in the process.

Jose Campos started and went just three innings, giving up four runs, three earned, off six hits. It was Vidal Nuno with the story as he went five innings, giving up just one run off seven hits with five strikeouts.

Jesus Brito hit his first home run of the year for one run and catcher Roberto Perez knocked in the other.

Tribe Trade DeRosa to Cards for RHP Chris Perez

Well the move that I've been silently waiting for finally happened.

I've been expecting Mark DeRosa to be traded for a few weeks now. Part of me was hoping it wouldn't happen, another part was okay if it did.

I feel the same way this morning.

I also figured that it would be the Cardinals that he got traded to. With the Cards not having Troy Glaus, DeRosa fits. If Glaus comes back, he can fit somewhere else, like second base, letting Schumaker go back to the outfield.

The trade...

Indians Trade: IF/OF Mark DeRosa
Cardinals Trade: RHP Chris Perez, Player to Be Named Later

Now.. Before we talk about what we are getting, let me say something about Mark DeRosa.

What a professional. I wasn't surprised that the Cubs fans loved him as they did, but I was shocked at HOW MUCH they did when the Tribe came to Wrigley and he was just as celebrated as Kerry Wood was.

The guy really leaves a mark wherever he goes. It's a shame a guy like him has been around to different teams as much as he has. If anything that says how popular he is and how many teams would love to have him. He just does it all and there is no better type of player than a Mark DeRosa.

A guy who's willing to move to any position and not complain, and when you say any position, you really mean any position. If he could pitch or play center field, I'm sure he'd do it.

Not only that, but guys, his numbers this year were awesome.

.270 AVG/.342 OBP, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 47 R

When we got him back in the season, I think everyone was like, okay if he it's around .270 (career average of .278), hits about 15 home runs, knocks in some runs, provides stability at the two hole, we got ourselves a solid third baseman.

He already hit 13 homers, he was definitely going to hit 20 for this team if he's with it all year. He was a little off and on in the beginning but as he said after the trade, he was just starting to get comfortable and settle in and while he wasn't ideal as far as the two hole, he was productive.

And as I said, DeRosa was disappointed because I think he thought what all of us did. This team was going to contend from start to finish, and then even after the rough start, like us all, DeRo thought we'd be able to make a huge run.
"You're disappointed, because you want to hit the rewind button and start over here," DeRosa said. "I was just starting to get comfortable and get to know the guys. That's the toughest part. But I have a chance to play for a division title again and put myself in a great situation with a new team. I'll say my goodbyes and move on."

"I came here with the opportunity to help a ballclub," DeRosa said, "and we weren't able to get it done up to this point. I stress that, because this team went on a huge run in the second half last year."
If you click the link at the top, you can watch Mark Shapiro's reaction as the deal was completed during the game. DeRo didn't start, but that wasn't a clue that he was being dealt. You can watch the reaction of Baseball Tonight and some words from Cards GM John Mozeliak at this link here.

One thing the BBtN guys pointed out was the Indians effectiveness with the Player to Be Named Later. We'll get to that in a second, but let's talk about the guy we know in the deal, Chris Perez.

So far this year, he's pitched in 23.2 innings with a 4.18 ERA, 1/2 SV/SVOPP, 30 K, 15 BB, 3 Holds, and a 1-1 record.

Perez is just 23 years old and the Cardinals really had gotten him through the system rather quickly. He was tabbed as the closer of the future at one point and this spring he battled Jason Motte for the closers job. He's been down to Triple-A at one point this year, but he'll report to the Major League club bullpen on Monday.

Last year in 41 games for the Cardinals, he went 3-3 with a 3.46 ERA and 7 saves. So... coming into the year, he was still considered a prospect and he was rated third overall in the Cardinals organization as far as prospects go.

Obviously he's only 23, so he's young and he's got some room to go. But here is what Baseball-America has to say in a nutshell.

He's got a fastball that sits in the mid-90's and he can get it up to 97ish. His main weapon is his slider and we all know how dangerous a Perez can be with a slider if he's on. He's got that bulldog attitude you want in a closer, so that's where the closer of the future thing comes from. His two downfalls according to BA: inexperience, which is fixable, obviously, and command. Which is troubling considering we can see how a guy like Rafael Perez can fall a part with no command.

Now, what about this player to be named later?

Oh the important PTBNL...

It's netted us Jeff Stevens, Michael Brantley, Coco Crisp, just to name a few in the past few years.

But it's also a term you think of when the prospect isn't that significant, like a Shawn Nottingham.

Not the case here.
"It's an important piece for us," Shapiro said. "That's a structure that we've felt has worked well for us in past trades, in times where we've acquired guys like Coco Crisp and Michael Brantley. It's a piece that adds significant value for us."
You can't argue that when the trade is for someone of signficiant value as Shapiro put it, he's made it count.

So we're going to assume here that it could be someone within the Cardinals top 30 prospects. Will it be another arm or a bat?

The other question is, how far along is this prospect/player? Perez is obviously major league ready, Brantley was ready for Triple-A, not too far away from the majors.

Right now, we've got nothing from Shapiro or Cards GM John Mozeliak in terms of what the parameters might be for this PTBNL. Last year there was all sorts of rumors involved in how we got Brantley. In the end it was a choice between two players, Taylor Green and Brantley and who got to pick was all up to the fact that the Brewers made the playoffs.

I don't think we'll see something like that, but I'm sure there is a list of players and I'm sure it's rather small if this is for a significant player.

For this deal to be successful though, Perez needs to be a man. Not just this year, but in years to come.
"He has swing-and-miss stuff," Shapiro said. "His fastball is consistently in the 93-95 [mph] range and has reached 98. He has a swing-
and-miss slider. He has the potential to be a core contributor at the back end of our bullpen."
The deal as a whole tells me that Shapiro hasn't given up on the year, considering they got a major league piece and traded someone who was of "expendable value" you could say. You will know when this team has packed it in, trust me. While this is a pre-cursor to that, it isn't the final straw.

Perez will probably take the bullpen spot of..... Mike Gosling maybe? How about Tomo Ohka for the time being? I think we're done with the Ohka train, especially since we are done with the NL now. With Laffey coming back, we can go with an extra pen arm for a few days and then make a move with someone like a Gosling.

For now, Asdrubal Cabrera will take Mark DeRosa's spot on the roster, meaning Josh Barfield is safe and maybe in line for some more playing time for the time being. The lineup will have Peralta, Cabrera, and Valbuena at third, through short, to second in that order. It does create mroe playing time in left for Ben Francisco, but I believe it's only a matter of time before Matt LaPorta gets the call and is the everyday left-fielder, or at least 5 times a week left-fielder.

Grady Sizemore is going to DH today, with Ben Francisco in center. So who's playing left field? Ryan Garko will probably have to do outfield duty today, unless Eric Wedge decides to put Chris Gimenez out there instead.

6.27.2009

Morning Update: Jensen Lewis Sent Down

Aside from Kerry Wood, Jensen Lewis is the only relief pitcher that has been on the active roster since opening day.

Until now.

Lewis couldn't run any longer, as he was optioned to Triple-A Columbus to make room for Jose Veras, who was acquired from the Yankees earlier this week.

I'm sort of sad that AC pointed this out right in the start of the article. Considering I had two spend two minutes going through all the names and trying to think if this was true.

Only to actually read the first line and see that my two minutes spent thinking could have been eliminated.

Jensen really pisses me off.. I want to get behind him so much, because I love what he brings to the table. But the constant home runs and inconsistency is really making it difficult to do. Wedge had a few words of advice and praise for Lewis, who he publicly criticized earlier this season.
"He's gotten a lot of experience in a short time," Wedge said of Lewis. "He has the heartbeat and the guts. But he needs to be more consistent controlling the baseball. He needs to drive the ball down where he's trying to throw it more consistently."
So it looks like all Lil' Jeremy needed was a few runs to make him be aggressive.

WHY CAN'T YOU DO THAT ALL THE TIME JEREMY!
"Fortunately, we were able to score some runs," Sowers said. "That put me in a position to be more aggressive."
If you are at your best when you are aggressive, you need to be aggressive. It got you through more than five innings for once, and you even won. If you can go 6-7 innings every night and turn in a game like that, that's all you need. You might not win every game, but that's okay. It's a lot more productive than going five innings every single time out and killing this bullpen.

Aside from Sout Pitches' start, the big story was the fact that for the first time since April, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, and Grady Sizemore were all in the same starting lineup.

And while those three only knocked in three of the runs, the offense as a whole blew up in a big way.

That's the good thing though... A guy like Hafner doesn't have to go 2-4 with four RBIs to have an impact. He can go 0-4 with a run scored and still create some opportunities for other hitters.

Now...

The even bigger story that was floating around before game time was Mark Shapiro addressing the media about Eric Wedge.

I think AC was pretty funny about what he said yesterday in the opening of his daily rundown. What's said is, that's true.

However I don't hold those reasons when I say Wedge should be excused from managing the Cleveland Indians.

What I can take from what Shapiro said is two things.

1. He has no intention of firing Eric Wedge, but he's also putting a heavy load on his own shoulders.

2. He likes to use the word juncture a lot.
"The accountability and responsibility for what has been a bad year is broad-based and shared," Shapiro said. "The arrow should not be pointed at Eric. It should point toward a broad spectrum -- players, our staff, Eric, myself, the front office. There's shared responsibility, and I'm accountable for all those groups."
By saying he's accountable for all the groups, he's really putting himself on the line, which is pretty stand-up if you ask me. Indians.com Twitter page had this entry and it says a lot, which you might not understand unless you read the quote I just pasted above.

You might be saying, Why is Shapiro a total pro?

That quote is why he's a total pro. Other General Managers would have thrown their manager under the bus by now if you ask me. Not Mark. He's willing to put his job on the line in order to achieve success with this group of people, most specifically Eric Wedge.

Either that, or he believes he has an INSANE amount of job security to keep Wedge around as long as possible.

One thing that I think needs point out though is this.
"That's one area I'm not real sympathetic to," he said. "Championship players deal with distractions. They need to focus on their job. Good players and good teams filter distractions out."
Shapiro is referring to the distraction of Eric Wedge being fired leading the Indians playing so cruddy at times.

I say that isn't the case.. But is there a possibility that Wedge had a strange stranglehold on this team that is preventing them from playing consistently?

I don't really think that's the case, but maybe I don't know anything.

I thought Bob Melvin holding his team back was for real. It sounded legit as far as him losing the clubhouse.

I also thought Clint Hurdle being fired wouldn't cure anything in Colorado and that their struggles were just because they overall weren't that much better than their record indicated.

Guess what, I was wrong in both cases.

Even though I've been on the fire Eric Wedge bandwagon for a week or so now, I've never waivered from the fact that Wedge commands his players repsect and they play hard for him.

But... As I said with those two examples, I could be dead wrong. They do play hard for Wedge, they play hard in general. But is there pressure of him getting to them? Who knows.

Terry Pluto's latest is very interesting. He has a scout say that out of the four lefties, Laffey, Lewis, Sowers, and Huff... That Huff is probably the closest one in terms of having the most potential as far as effectiveness.

Pluto also did some research that proves he's a just about a God.
6. Meanwhile, the Indians are talking about Sowers eventually moving to the bullpen. I did some searching on the Web, and I could only find a breakdown of how hitters do against him in the first 60 pitches. In pitches 1-30, they bat .210. In pitches 31-60, it's .413. Yes, there is a message in those numbers. Or try this: First time around .209, second time .281 and third time .500. All of that was heading into Friday's start.
A three inning relief pitcher? It could work.. Let's piggy-back him with another starter and we've got ourselves one good pitched combined.

Brandon Backe was designated for assignment by the Astros. Too bad this didn't happen a few weeks ago when we needed starters. We still kind of do, but Aaron Laffey is almost ready and Scott Lewis might not be far behind. He's looking for a starting gig, but he's also relieved in the past. We've taken chances on a whole lot worse this year, why not Backe?

He had a injury to start his season, only really made on start for the Astros in the month he's played and has given up runs in each appearance. He's been a decent option in the past. Maybe given him a minor league deal, we are one team that anyone would love to hop on because you could get a shot at any point, as proved with Michael Gosling.

At this point, kind of stupid to even bother with Laffey coming back, but had this happened a few weeks ago, I bet we would have been on it.

Finally. It looks like Asdrubal Cabrera is going to need at least another game or two in Akron before they activate him. Some thought he'd be ready for today, but that isn't the case. Meanwhile, Aaron Laffey is expected to.. Or at least he is expecting to... Make one final rehab start on Sunday before being activated.

Minor Issues: Aeros building lead; Captains start 2-0

WHAT'S THE NEWS

First Round Pick Alex White made an appearance on the radio show of fellow bloggers Paul Cousineau and Tony Lastoria. Give it a listen.

The Captains home ball-park in Eastlake will now have a corporate name.

I think? I'm not sure who in the end bought it, but the park will now be named Classic Park, which sounds sort of cool and not all that corporate at all. At least not like the Pepsi Center or something like that.

As you can read in the release, it's a hefty payment, so that's nice.

The big news is a tweet from Lastoria though that mentions Abner Abreu could possibly be out for the year after a shoulder injury he sustained last week. More on this as it develops.

COLUMBUS

Columbus could not get to Rochester starter Brian Duensing enough to support Chuck Lofgren in the Clippers 6-1 loss. Lofgren only gave up one earned through the first seven and then the eighth inning hit. Lofgren ended up going 7.1 innings, with 10 hits and four earned, no walks and five strikeouts.

Tony Graffanino doubled three times and scored the lone Clipper run on a Andy Marte single.

AKRON

The Aeros are burning up quiet the trail between themselves and Reading in the standings and the 3-1 win over Binghamton added to that.

Both Carlos Santana and Nick Weglarz doubled and knocked in runs for the Aeros. A couple other Aeros had hits, including Matt McBride and Carlos Rivero.

Hector Rondon got back to what we are used to seeing from him. He won his seventh game of the year going 5.2 innings, giving up no runs off two hits and two walks. He also struck out four.

Vinnie Pestano struck out two for his 21st save.

KINSTON

Salem blanked Kinston on Friday and the pitching didn't help much either.

Each pitcher gave up a run for Kinston, including starter Bryce Stowell who gave up four in three innings. CC Lee gave up just one in his three innings, while Kyle Landis gave up one in two and Garrison Campfield gave up one in one.

Kinston did have five hits and strangely enough, all of them were doubles. Unfortunately, none of them came back to back.

Chisenhall, Plankton, Ron Rivas, Richard Martinez, and Lucas Montero all doubled.

LAKE COUNTY
Lake County led most of the game but didn't turn the fire on until the seventh inning when they scored three runs. They would score five runs in the eighth inning to beat Hagestown.

Delvi Cid stole a base, knocked in a few runs, and scored one himself off just one hit.

Adam Abraham had a great game, going 3-4 with two doubles, a run scored, a run knocked in and a stolen base.

The Captains pretty much spread around the run scoring, but Nate Recknagel scored twice and hit a solo home run, his fifth of the year.

TJ House went six strong, giving up just one earned off seven hits and five strikeouts. Unfortunately he didn't get the win.

It looks like Wes Hodges started and had just one at-bat, a walk. Not sure what's going on there.

MAHONING VALLEY

I guess you can't win them all, and that's quite alright.

Mahoning Valley lost their second game, shame on them, no really it's okay. Williamsport prevailed 6-2 over the Scrappers on Friday.

The Scrappers had just two hits one by Jason Smit, the other a three-run home run by Kyle Bellows. So yes, they scored three runs, off two hits. That's something you don't see everyday.

Brett Brach got the start and went a few innings, but Guido Fonseca took the loss.

ARIZONA LEAGUE

Instead of talking about the loss the AZL Indians had to the Dodgers, why not a little update on statistical leaders?

First baseman Juan Aponte is leading the club with five RBI and he has one of three AZL Indian home runs on the season. Darling Read has played in every AZL game for the Indians and has a .368 AVG with two doubles.

Francisco Valera has been good out of the pen in his two starts. He leads the team with six innings pitched and has yet to surrender a run. He's given up just two hits and not a single walk with five strikeouts.

Alexander Morales had the best start, going five scoreless, giving up just three hits and striking out eight, yes eight. More than half his outs were strikeouts.

6.25.2009

It's all coming together, for what?

I ask you this now.

Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, and Joe Smith are all back.

Asdrubal Cabrera could be back this weekend, Aaron Laffey back rather soon. Perhaps the re-birth of Fausto Carmona?

All of it is coming together..

But for what?

Jose Veras going to save things too right?

I don't know.. We've got some relevant news going on that I need to chime in about.

And boy those Knicks fans are just ruthless aren't they?

I know everyone in Cleveland's going to be talking about the artist formerly known as The Big Shaqtus coming to town, but I need to point out the trade my slightly insane Orlando Magic made. I don't know how I feel about us giving up a future clutch stud in Courtney Lee for an aging Vince Carter, especially with us possibly losing Hedo Turkoglu.

This is baseball we talk here though. So Shaqtus to Cleveland, Vincanity (does anyone still call him that?) to the Magic Kingdom, and Jose Veras to the bullpen from Hell.

Fausto Carmona was scheduled to make an unexpected start for Lake County tonight, but if it's doing what it did here in Lake County, that won't be happening.

And thunder just rocked the house, for reals.

Apparantely the game is underway and Carmona has thrown one inning, striking out two and walking one.

Minor League News... Nick Weglarz and Carlos Santana will represent the Indians at the XM Futures Game on July 12th, before the All-Star Game.

Weglarz and Santana will both play for the World Team. You might be saying, well I know Santana isn't American, but Weglarz? Yes Wegz is Canadian, so he will not play for the US.

Wow how about the bomb Victor just hit to dead-center? Well over 400 feet.

Anyway, we've discussed Wedge and his attitude toward his job security before, haven't we? It doesn't change jack about the guy and he's always aware that he's going to be the target and he welcomes and expects that.
"I get the questions pretty consistently right now, whether it be TV, radio or print," Wedge said. "It just comes with the territory. Right now, my only focus is to win this game, win this series, get our bullpen figured out and try to get some of these guys back and healthy. I don't spend any energy on [thinking about job security] unless I have to. I know exactly where we're at."
Yeah.

So I guess I don't have much tonight. Hopefully back up and running tomorrow and Saturday a lot more than I have been the past two days. Evening work and then just dead tiredness, as I expected.

Honk Honk.

6.24.2009

At least make it respectable.... Ha

That was hilarious.

That game was over after the first four innings.

But the Indians and Pirates know how to do it.

That's what happens when two bad teams get together like this. Neither of them want to win, so you see things like last night and tonight.

A few errors with two outs, yes two outs, a few home runs... Things start getting interesting.

This game was 10-1 heading into the ninth, it was 10-1 heading into the last out!

Five runs in a row. I mean damn...

Chris Gimenez was already in at first for Victor Martinez. Even Eric Wedge gave up on the game, and he doesn't do that much.

Was tha Pirates pitcher that bad, or were the Indians just awesome in that span?

I have no clue.

Carl Pavano got rocked. He only got charged with three earned, but he went just 3.2 innings giving up 11 hits, yes, 11. I was shocked when I got home and saw that they batted around in that inning and only scored three times.

Then of course they batted around again and it was much worse.

What bugged me other than obviously the awfulness..

Rafael Perez comes in a game that is over. There's nine runs between his team and opposition.

So what does he do?

He walks two people in a row...

THROW STRIKES... JUST THROW STRIKES!!!

It's sad and tiring that the man can't get who he needs to get out, but it gets even worse when he lets them on that way.

I don't really care about this game, in fact screw the rest of it.

Let's talk about the two transactions today.

The big one is the trade of Michael Aubrey to Baltimore.

Mike is going to be missed, not in terms of prospect wise or anything like that, he has no shot at this team, but in terms of how hard he worked. You gotta feel for the guy being on track to be one of the guys for this team in the future and then just getting injury after injury holding him back.

Good luck to Michael in Baltimore, hope he finds a spot to at least contribute.

The trade opens up Jordan Brown and Matt LaPorta and now Stephen Head who's returning to all play mostly everyday. Especially with Trevor Crowe down there now as well, the outfield is jammed, so is the first base spot. DH is an option as well, and getting those three regular at-bats is more important because they still have value.

Aubrey didn't have much, if any at all, and he'll garner some cash, but nothing much will be exchanged, if a player at all, for Aubrey.

The other move was a trade of sorts for the Indians. They've acquired Jose Veras a right-handed relief pitcher from the New York Yankees. Veras lost the first game at the New Palace when the Indians helped the Yankees open it up back in April. Just another person jumping on the merry-go-round called the Indians bullpen.

I say, if you throw a bunch of magnets at the refridgerator, one of them has to stick, right?

Maybe not, but who knows. More tomorrow, hopefully.

[BOXSCORE]

Yeah let's not make it easy for once.

Forget morning update, forget all that crap..

THIS IS A GAME RECAP! BECAUSE WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS.

What the hell was that last night?

A fabulous game up until the ninth inning. It was awesome, I mean seriously.

David Huff was brilliant.. He was flat out brilliant. That was the David Huff I think a lot of people have been clamoring for and he did look a little bit like Cliff Lee-lite last night. Eight innings, just four hits and two walks, no runs. He really only ran into one jam the entire game and despite his pitch count being up into the 110's, he looked so good out there he could have probably thrown 20 more pitches and gotten through a complete game.

But no, there is no need to do that. Five runs is plenty considering the Pirates haven't really looked all that good on this particular night.

No problem, right?

I forgot which bullpen was up here, sorry.

Matt Herges comes in and he's been pretty reliable....

AHHHHNGGKKKK...

Solo home run to the professional golfer Adam LaRoche.

Herges gets an out, but lets another run in with a few more hits and it's Kerry Wood Time.

Wood comes in and after a double, he gets a strikeout, and you think.. Okay, things are fine now, he's going to get out of this.

Then straight out of the Bob Wickman Textbook on Scary Saves, Wood lets McCutchen steal second after giving up another run, walks two more hitters and then gets little LaRoche to fly out.

What the hell damn guy!!!!?

This is not what we signed up for.. Now I'm really starting to expect more from Kerry Wood. I gave him the benefit of the doubt early and even up to a point after the first blown save last week, but after two in a row, and now this performance, I'm not giving him anything.

He was paid 20 million dollars to close games and close them rather dominantly. I fully expect him to blow some, but the way he's pitching is not acceptable right now. He's pitching a lot more often too, so that excuse I made for him about not being used a whole lot doesn't really apply. I expect the more chances he gets, the sharper he's going to be and right now, he's played in three of the last four games.

And here is where I love David Huff.
"I have all the faith in the world in them.. But if they screw this game up for me, I'll destroy someone's face."
Okay so he didn't say that... But that is what I would have said... David Huff actually said this.
"I have all the faith in the world in those guys," Huff said. "But they definitely made it interesting."
Along with that, the defense was great and you feel that it was great because of that special man in the middle being back. Grady made probably one of the best defensive plays in the outfield that we've seen in the past few weeks. Just a solid play that not many people can do as perfectly as Grady did. oh he was pretty good hitting too.
"I felt good today," Sizemore said. "I didn't have any [elbow] problems. Obviously, you're going to be a little rusty when you don't see live pitching for three weeks."
He did strike out twice, but he knocked in two big runs with a huge triple. He also had a single in his first at-bat back. Wedge said that the team is almost a different ball club with him in the lineup and you will have a difficult time proving him wrong on that aspect.

Too bad we can't have a different bullpen with him in the lineup.

At least it's a win though and we at least end that awful streak. Today we've got Carl Pavano off his skipped start going against the very good Zach Duke, who's having a good year.

I have to throw in that Jhonny Peralta had a good game as well. It looks like he's finally starting to hit and not dragging his feet around because of the defensive position he's playing. Jhonny hitting is a better thing for this ball club and the offense as a whole as we've learned in the past. I've always said he's a key part and him not hitting has been a big reason for this club's inconsistency this year.

He pretty much carried the offense last night with the home run and the three RBI. Let's be honest, Grady only scores one on that hit if Steve Pearce takes a better route to that ball.

A final note since there is no morning update and I'm just doing a game recap. But Fausto Carmona could be on his way back. Carmona has reportedly looked very good down in Arizona, but we've heard that before in terms of his bullpen sessions. The Indians will send him to start for one of the minor league teams so he can prove it in-game.

If anything, it's great to hear about him at all, I was starting to wonder if he fell off the face of the earth. But 93 on his fastball and good sink is encouraging. Do it in the game though Fausto and get your head straight. Maybe the cavalry is coming after all.

[BOXSCORE]

Minor Issues: Pick Signings, All-Star Games, Scrappers 5-0

WHAT'S THE NEWS

Yesterday I mentioned Jeremy Johnson signed, and now three more have as well. The big ones are 7th Round pick Jordan Henry, outfielder from Mississippi, and 18th Round pick Dwight Childs, catcher from Arizona.

The Indians just need to get 1 and 2, Alex White and Jason Kipnis, to have the top ten signed. Casey Frawley and Kent State's Kyle Smith the only players in the top 20 other than White and Kipnis that has yet to sign and Frawley is expected to at some point.

The other is 40th pick Greg Folgia, a shortstop out of Missouri. It looks to be official.

The Indians also added two Undrafted Free Agents and have assigned them to Mahoning Valley.

Infielder Dan DeGeorge, out of, yes, wait for it... Princeton! A smart guy!

They also added Ryan Anthony, a left-hander out of Emporia State. That's a cool sounding college.

COLUMBUS

The Clippers needed 10, but they got it done against Rochester in extra-innings with a run in the top of the tenth.

Jordan Brown did everything in his power to get the Clippers the win. First by hitting a three-run home run to tie the game up in the eighth inning and then by singling home Tony Graffanino in the tenth to give the Clips the lead.

Andy Marte followed up Brown's HR in the eighth with a solo shot of his own to give them the lead, but Rochester would come back to tie it back up in the bottom of the inning.

Wyatt Toregas had two hits and Michael Brantley had the other RBI.

Frank Herrmann picked up his first Columbus win by striking out two in a scoreless inning of relief. Zach Jackson gave up four runs in 5.1 innings.

AKRON

The eighth inning was pretty popular for the Aeros too as they also made their charging comeback in the eighth. Held scoreless for the entire game and down 2-0, the Aeros scored five in the eighth to beat Trenton.

Carlos Rivero came in for Asdrubal Cabrera, who was making his first rehab start and went 0-3, and Rivero knocked in the first run of the game with a single.

And then Nick Weglarz followed that up by blowing the doors off the place with a Grand Slam. That's it... Winner!

Great rehab start for Aaron Laffey who went four innings, gave up just a hit and a walk with no runs. Neil Wagner gave up the two runs, Erik Stiller, Josh Judy and Vinnie Pestano pitched scoreless innings, with Judy winning and Pestano picking up save number 20.

KINSTON

Kinston is on their All-Star Break till Thursday, but there was some K-Tribers in action on Tuesday.

Lonnie Chisenhall and Cord Phelps got the start for the Carolina League All-Stars and for awhile there, Phelps was the hero.

Lonnie had a hit, but Phelps had knocked in the only Carolina League run in a tie ball game. Lancaster's Jonathan Gaston hit a home run to end the game in walk-off fashion for the California League.

Eric Berger also pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Carolina League All-Stars.

LAKE COUNTY
The Captains also resume tomorrow and also had their All-Star Break as the SAL League got together to play their All-Star Game.

And a Captain took home MVP Honors.

Karexon Sanchez knocked in two runs and scored two runs off two hits and two walks and stole a base for the SAL North Team.

Alex Perez, the other Captain in the game pitched an inning and gave up three earned off three hits.

MAHONING VALLEY

Five in a row to start the year for Mahoning Valley and this one was a bit of a squeeker.

State College is the team with the cool deer looking logo if you remember and the Scrappers powered by a two-run sixth inning took a one-run game from them deer.

Kyle Bellows had two hits and catcher Roberto Perez doubled in one of the runs.

Great job by Marty Popham, going five strong, giving up just one earned off six hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Nick Kirk was solid again, going three scoreless, giving up just one hit and striking out four as well for his second win. Corey Burns struck out the side to pick up his first save.

ARIZONA LEAGUE

It took 12 innings, but that didn't stop the AZL Indians from beating the Royals yesterday.

Juan Aponte had a big game, going 3-6 with four runs batted in and a solo home run. Rolando Petit and Darling Read both knocked in runs, Jose Camargo had two hits, as did Jesus Brito, who also knocked in a run.

Leadoff man Trent Baker knocked in two runs off a hit in six at-bats.

Best pitching that night belongs to Francisco Valera, who went 3.2 innings, giving up just one hit and striking out three. Vidal Nuno struck out two and gained a save despite giving up a few hits and an earned run.

6.23.2009

Grady's back, Vizcaino Out, Sipp Up, Crowe Down, Ba-ba-boosh!

So as you can see the Indians made a flurry of moves today as their star center fielder Grady Sizemore comes off the disabled list.

Activated: Grady Sizemore from 15 Day DL
Called-up: Tony Sipp from Columbus
Called-down: Trevor Crowe to Columbus
Designated: Luis Vizcaino for Assignment

So that opens up a 40-man roster spot, gets Tony Sipp back into the pen, and ends Trevor Crowe's second stint with the Tribe.

It's nice to have Grady back and I'm sort of glad he's not going on a rehab assignment. Either he's ready or he's not, there is no sense in going in a rehab assignment if he's ready to go.

Asdrubal Cabrera might be back soon and it's nice that him and both Aaron Laffey are starting tonight for the Aeros. Had I realized this sooner I would have made plans to go see them. Laffey makes another rehab start and Cabrera starts his rehab assignment that doesn't figure to last too long.

So I called for Eric Wedge's job on Sunday and I'm going to stick by it. I'm not saying now, I wouldn't pout if it did happen now, but at least when the season ends. They can't go through another year of this. It has to be a fresh face.

Paul Dolan has spoken out and said that there will be no moves of the such.

"In terms of individual performance, I won't comment on that," said Dolan, when asked to evaluate Wedge. "We have a process we go through. It hasn't begun. It starts with meeting with Mark."

"We are concerned about the direction of the team," said Dolan. "[But] we are not going to make any rash decisions.

"Periodically, we sit down and talk about the state of the team. Mark makes suggestions that we either accept or reject."

Dolan did say that Shapiro and Wedge are not a packaged deal.
"The fact that some people think they're a package deal, doesn't mean they're a package deal," said Dolan. "They're a general manager and manager ... just like they have on any other club."
Now Bud Shaw has been the one guy who's been out there saying that firing Wedge doesn't do anything, in fact he's one of the people saying that he and Shapiro are a packaged deal.

I'm kind of with Shaw on this one as far as when you do it. He isn't saying don't fire him at the end of the season, what does it do now? I can buy that, but like I said, I certinaly wouldn't mind if it happened now.

I can also buy the fact that it's a treatment to the symptoms, not exactly the cure.

Shaw then went on to have another bit out today about Mike Hargrove..

Guys.. Hargrove isn't coming back to the Indians, and if he does, it won't be until the offseason. I don't even think Hargrove is coming back period, I think he likes his retirement and what he's doing now.

Then again that's my opinion, and I could be wrong... But it doesn't seem to me that Grover wants to come back being in the position he's in. OR maybe he does, who knows, maybe things were rocky in Seattle.

And going back for a second, don't get me wrong. I've taken the view Shaw has when he says, what good does firing him do? Does it fix the bullpen and cure the injuries? No, but you just never know what a move might make.

Bill Livingston on the other hand makes the argument that firing him now is sort of like that spark that you might be able to find. He also says that seven years is enough for him and that Wedge is what he is. He isn't awful, but he's not good enough to be a championship caliber manager.

Draft Pick Update: 13th Rounder Jeremy Johnson has signed and that makes 13 of the top 16 that have signed. The notables remaining are first rounder Alex White and second rounder Jason Kipnis. Now that both are done with the CWS, they are able to be negotiated with and it looks like they're ready to or have already started talks with Alex White.

Finally, yesterday CastroTurf mentioned the twitter feed for the Indians. Jeff Siebel and Bart Swain update it and their news is very on point and quick. Finally a twitter feed I'm actually going to keep a close eye on. They posted Eric Wedge's pre-game mp3 as well already. Here's the link.

6.22.2009

Theory: The Wedge Clubs

No Photoshop Off-Day Today, No NO NO! Today we have something special.

I've had these images created for a long time. Now seemed like the appropriate time to unleash them. I've had to shift the pictures at points, but I think it looks like both of them are on-spot.

First on deck we've got the Wedge Lovers Club. This is the club that Wedge has a strong love for. The players in the group have a strong love for Wedge as well.



From top left on... Jamey Carroll, President Casey Blake, Ramon Vazquez, Kelly Shoppach, Luis Valbuena, Alex Cora, David Dellucci, Jhonny Peralta.

Some of you may be saying, wait why Jhonny Peralta? Well face it, he loves Jhonny Peralta, or else he wouldn't talk about him so much.

Jamey and Casey define the group in the best way. They are the grit and dirt that Eric Wedge likes. Alex Cora is in the same mold, but Wedge didn't have enough time to warm up to him. Instead he got Ramon Vazquez where he went on the ultimate man-crush on. Vazquez went on to be awesome after he was cruddy.



From top left on... Jody Gerut, Ryan Garko, Andy Marte, Jeremy Guthrie, Franklin Gutierrez, Josh Barfield, Jensen Lewis, Brandon Phillips.

Now you are probably like, If Brandon Phillips is here, why isn't Milton Bradley? Simply put, Milton Bradley is a member of the club that everyone hates, so why bother?

Brandon Phillips was a direct result of Mr. Vazquez. Hate's end is the start of Love's begining as I say.

Jody Gerut used to be the president of this group, but he's now been replaced by fellow Stanford alumn Ryan Garko. Speaking of Stanford, Jeremy Guthrie also went there, coincidence?


So there you have it, the Wedge Clubs. Enjoy your day... As this is posting, I'm at work and there is a good chance that Wedge might have been fired at this point or it could be happening soon.

Minor Issues: AZ Indians Open Up; Wins All Around

WHAT'S THE NEWS

The Arizona Fall League Started and here is the roster. Now, depth chart is updated.. Woohoo..

COLUMBUS

Kirk Saarloos was pounded for 10 hits in five innings, but four unearned runs. Very odd. Tony Graffanino committed an error early in the inning and it spiraled out of control from there.

Anyway the Clippers lost that game and the next one in the double-header. They did score three runs, but unfortunately three earned runs does not beat four un-earned ones.

Tony Graffanino did what he could to make up for the error by knocking in two runs. But he knocked them in the half-inning before, so really.. He giveth and he taketh away.

Game two was a little more rough, especially for Chuck Lofgren. Chuckster gave up five runs in five innings off, yes five hits with, no three walks. Oh he did strike out five hitters though.

Three walks AND three homers, not cool. Tony Sipp gave up two runs in his one inning of work.

Yeah not much the offense could do about that, not that they did anything to begin with.

Niuman Romero had two of the five hits and knocked in the only run.

AKRON
The Aeros.. Pretty Awesome.. They knocked out four runs off 14 hits, yes 14 hits, sweet.

Oppo, they gave up 2 hits.. Yes just two.

Scott Lewis made another rehab start, going four innings, giving up just one hit and two walks with four strikeouts.

Carlton Smith improved to 4-0 with two scoreless and hitless innings. Matt Meyer went 2.2 innings giving up three walks and a hit and Josh Judy cleaned up that last inning real quick.

So what about that 14 hit performance?

Matt McBride and Jared Goedert had three hits each and all four runs batted in. McBride scored twice and doubled and two of Goedert's hits were both doubles. That's three multi-hit games from Goedert in a row.

Cristo Arnal and Johnnie Drennen had two hits each and Carlos Santana was the lone Aero without a hit, but he walked twice.

KINSTON

Wait what's going on here?

Two in a row for Kinston?

Perhaps it's the luck of ?

The K-Tribe won 9-4 over Lynchburg and it was Ole Sheldon who was a big part of that.

Ole was 4-5 with two runs batted in and two runs scored. HE'S PURE EVIL!

Alex Castillo had two hits and two runs batted in as well. Cord Phelps was one of two K-Tribers without a hit, but he scored two runs off two walks and also knocked in a run.

A nice start for Russell Young as he went 6.1 with two runs off five hits and a walk.

CC Lee gave up two runs in two innings of work.

LAKE COUNTY
Well you certainly go your money's worth if you went to see the Captains play a game and finish one.

They ended up scoring twice in the top of the 12th in their resumed game against Lakewood.

Awesome, right?

Wrong, Lakewood fired back with three runs and a walkoff-walk to beat the Captains in 12. Ouch.

Not ouchy enough compared to the smackdown the Caps would then lay down on Lakewood in game two, winning 14-5.

Nate Recknagel is back in Lake County and no offense to the Caps, he is showing he doesn't want to really stay long.

Recking Ball (love it, don't ya?), went 2-4 with two runs scored and five, yes five, runs batted in. That included a two-run shot in the 4th inning.

Matt Willard had a game high three hits. He also knocked in a run. Donnie Webb, Karexon Sanchez, and Chris Nash all had two hits. Webb sscored three times.

Trey Haley and TJ McFarland piggy-backed and McFarland got the win despite giving up more runs. Haley went 3.1 giving up two runs, one earned, off two hits and SEVEN walks! Those darn minor leaguers and their control problems.

McFarland gave up seven hits but no walks that equaled the three runs. Santo Frias with a scoreless inning of relief.

MAHONING VALLEY

Go Scrappers Go!

Mahoning Valley is now 3-0 with their latest win, a 1-0 shutout win over Jamestown.

Kyle Bellows knocked in the winning run with a walk-off sacrafice fly.

Bo Greenwell, Ben Carlson, and John Allman all had two hits.

Brett Brach started and went four innings, giving up just two hits and one walk. Tyler Sturdevant went three innings giving up three hits and one walk. Cory Burns picked up the win by going two scoreless with just one hit and two strikeouts.

ARIZONA LEAGUE

The AZL team had their first game. I was not awake long enough to find out the outcome, obviously doing this the night before. Here is the recap.

6.21.2009

Sixth Straight Loss, Wedge On the Chopping Block?

Do we really care about the game?

Jeremy Sowers blows again.

Mike Gosling and Jensen Lewis lead this bullpen into some false hope as the offense struggles to come back.

Blah Blah Blah.

Nothing to see here, move along.

I'm really focused on this latest story by the Plain Dealer.

It appears that Larry Dolan, yes Larry, not his son Paul, the freakin' owner is at least considering the possibility of firing manager Eric Wedge.

Let's face it, Mark Shapiro can do whatever he wants, if Larry Dolan says ya gots to get steppin', ya gots to get steppin'.

But will he do it?
When asked if he was considering a change, Larry Dolan said, "I'll talk to you later." When asked if that meant a change was being considered, Dolan said, "I just don't want to lie to you."
I don't want to lie to you, means.. I won't say no, but If I say no or yes and I don't do the other one, then I'll be lying, so in other words.. I'm considering a change.

Shapiro to his credit is shouldering some of the blame, as he should. I think he's said it best though.

"I don't feel one person, coach or manager is responsible for the problems we're having," he said. "It's the magnitude of the injuries we've suffered combined with a bullpen that has performed at a very poor level.

"Part of the bullpen's performance is tied to the inconsistency of our starting rotation and not having three-fifth of the rotation we opened the season with."

For a team to be this bad, it's hard to lay the blame in one spot. It's injuries, it's bad luck, it's bad decisions, it's blame that belongs on Wedge, the players, Shapiro.. Everyone is a part of the badness in some way.

Can anyone honestly look at this bullpen and say, I saw this awfulness coming?

Rafael Perez, Rafael Betancourt, Joe Smith, Jensen Lewis, Kerry Wood.. That's a solid group and for them to turn out to be the worst, something bad had to have happened beyond injuries and just let-downs.

Can you blame Shapiro for assembling the group? Yeah, because we'd give him the praise if it worked. But it's hard to say he did a bad job at assembling it because everyone though it was a solid group.

Yeah so....

I don't believe Wedge has "lost" this team though. I think they still respect him and are playing hard, for the most part. Some aren't, some suck, others just, whatever.

But like Shapiro, Wedge wouldn't shy away from the blame.
"There is always going to be fingers pointed at me," said Wedge. "That comes with the territory. When you have this type of year, and you're going through a tough stretch like this, there is going to be a certain amount of focus on me. I take full responsibility. I don't shy away from that at all."
Like I said earlier, Wedge is a stand-up guy. I wouldn't expect anything else from him.

But the Indians are returning home today for the off-day on Monday and flying out to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Could they leave Cleveland without Wedge?

If there was a time, it would probably be tomorrow.

We'll see.

[BOXSCORE]

Morning Update: That's it

If you followed the tweeting of the twitter, I didn't have time to come on and write about the game before I left, but I wanted to.

I wrote a couple of comments and I'm pretty much sticking with them.

There are a few other things I need to address.

Let me start off with Luis Valbuena.

Let me be clear on this one. When I went nuts over him playing, it had nothing to do with him. I like Valbuena, he plays the game the way it should be played. I think he's a talented guy and he's got a future on this team.

What I had a problem with was the way Eric Wedge played him constantly, despite his struggles, when in the past he would be reluctant to do so.

Now I'm fine with that as well, playing a young guy until it clicks, which is looks like it has for Valbuena.

However was this really the time and place for that?

Why now and not with guys in the past? What separates Valbuena from the readiness of Andy Marte, Josh Barfield, Matt LaPorta, Franklin Gutierrez, and who knows who else.

Why didn't he platoon Valbuena like he did with just about every one of those guys mentioned?

I'm just trying to find some consistency in the method here. If Eric Wedge is learning from his mistakes and trying something new, great, that's awesome.

Heyyyyy So I should probably read the recap and see that Ryan Garko hurt his wrist and therefore was taken out... Had Wedge actually been stupid enough to remove Ryan Garko for Trevor Crowe as a pinch-hitter, this is what I would really mean. I wrote the following thinking that previous statement, but it was too good to just erase.

But you can turn around look at what he did in yesterday's game with Ryan Garko and be lead to believe he isn't learning from his mistakes.

Is it obvious? Because to me it isn't more evidently clear that Eric Wedge does not like Ryan Garko in the least bit.

In the ninth inning, pinch-hitting for him with TREVOR CROWE and two guys on base?!

Are you freaking crazy?!

It needs to be noted that Garko was in left field at that time after Shoppach came in to pinch-hit and was switched to Catcher, Martinez to First, and Garko to left for Gimenez who was replaced at the plate by Mark DeRosa. DeRo was just available to hit, not play the field.

Okay so that's fine, get Crowe in there for defensive purposes.

BUT DO IT BEFORE IN THE INNING WHEN YOU MADE THE CHANGES OR AFTER GARKO BATS!

Don't take out a seasoned ML hitter for a kid who has 11 hits and just four career RBI.

It's absoltutely insane!

I've jumped on Wedge for not letting the youngsters hit in situations to prove themselves... But I didn't want him to actually put youngsters in the position to prove themselves when you had a guy like Garko up at the plate, ,that's just lunacy.

All of this leads me to believe that Eric Wedge must go.


Garko move aside, that doesn't change my opinion that Wedge probably has to go, sooner or later.

I've been one of his biggest supporters throughout the years, especially this year, and while he has his flaws, he's a good manager and an even better person.

Enough is enough with the mis-management of this team. The little things are starting to add-up. The one thing that Wedge had going for him was the fact that this team likes him.

Well they may like him, but they sure as hell are not playing for him right now, at least not all together.

Maybe it will kick in, but if it does, it will be far too late as this team has lost just about every chance they had to make a freakin' move in this division. They are now nine games back with the second worst winning percentage in the entire league, ahead of only cruddy Washington.

You can do two things.

Ride the year out with what you have, trade DeRo and maybe one other person.

Or you can go for the jugular, promote Joel Skinner or Jeff Datz to the job for the rest of the season, trade Wes Hodges when he gets healthy and spare parts like Michael Aubrey for some pitching, and just see what kind of move you can make, hoping, just hoping, that the managerial switch fires this team up enough to throw strikes.

Long-term, if you ask me, either way is Torey Lovullo. Be it Wedge finishing out the year, or Skinner or Datz.. Lovullo is the guy that needs to be inserted.

I hate to say it, and really, the ultimate firing isn't all Wedge's fault if you ask me. Like I said, I think he's a Major League manager, he can do this job, provided he learns from some of his stupid ways, but the little mistakes adding up and the combination of this team just not playing well out of the gate and not playing well now.

This bullpen is a disaster and it isn't all his fault, but that isn't enough of an excuse anymore.

Go ahead and read the game recap.. I'm not quoting a damn thing. It's all dreary eyed.

The important news today is the fact that Jake Westbrook has now officially had what could very well be a three-week set-back. He's now going to sit fot two more weeks, in addition to the time he's already sat. Great..

So instead of being back by the end of the month, maybe next month. He won't be back till late next month, maybe not even August!

Another reason that this season is almost lost. Laffey and Lewis will be back soon, but Westbrook was supposed to be a big boost.

Remember Friday when DeRosa slammed into the side in foul territory and was kind wobbly? Well that was the reason for his late scratch yesterday.

That story describes the phone he ran into as a "metal foam box."

How is something metal and foam?

The plan for Laffey was to come back as a starter, but the recent failures have things being second-guessed, as usual.

:sigh:

Let's avoid this sweep and at least win one game this week... Please

Minor Issues: Aeros Sweep Double Header; Scrappers Roll

WHAT'S THE NEWS

I think I used up all the news yesterday, not to mention my rant about Sheldon Plankton and Ole Sheldon and Sheldon Ocker.

COLUMBUS

RAIN!!!!!!

Double Header Starts at 2 Today.

AKRON
The Aeros swept a double-header with Portland. They kicked it off by winning the first game in nine innings (remember they only really go seven).

Jared Goedert had two hits, including the one that knocked in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning.

The pitching was great, with Rondon starting and going 4.2 innings and giving up just three hits and striking out six. He's probably still on a pitch count. Erik Stiller picked up the win with a scoreless inning and Vinnie Pestano picked up the save despite loading the bases.

Game two was much easier. Josh Tomlin went five innings and let up one run, a solo shot, in the first inning. Then the Aeros chipped away throughout the game. The Mascot Zach Putnam went two scoreless as well.

Beau Mills was the big gun going 2-3 with a triple and four RBI. Nick Weglarz scored three times off three walks, and Carlos Santana knocked in two and scored with a double.

Jared Goedert also carried over his success with two more hits and another RBI.

KINSTON

The K-Tribe broke their streak with a nice shutout win over Lynchburg on Saturday.

Eric Berger led the way with seven innings of two-hit baseball. He also struck out four. Jonathan Holt and Dallas Cawiezell pitched scoreless innings.

Lonnie Chisenhall and Ryan Blair both had two hits and runs batted in, both with doubles as well. with a double as well. Both Sheldon and Lucas Montero knocked in runs.

LAKE COUNTY
The Captains and Lakewood are in the midst of an extra inning ball-game that had to be suspended due to rain.

The game is in the 11th inning and will resume play today at noon before they play the other game.

Abner Abreu is 3-3 with a double, Donnie Webb also had three hits, including a double, a triple and a RBI. Chris Nash has just one hit but just as many RBI as Webb.

Alex Perez started and went six innings, giving up two earned off three hits while striking out NINE. Matt Langwell went three innings with three strikeouts and Steve Smith pitched two hitless. The Captains pitchers haven't surrendered a walk.

MAHONING VALLEY

Whoa man, the Scrappers got it done. Powered by a six run first inning and another inning later in which they scored four, Mahoning Valley crushed Jamestown 12-2 yesterday.

Lurvin Basabe and Bo Greenwell had three hits each at the top of the lineup. Basabe knocked in a run and scored once, while Greenwell doubled, knocked in two runs, and scored twice.

Two RBI for Stephen Head as he continues to rehab.

Everyone in the starting lineup pretty much knocked in a run except for Jason Smit, who scored twice with a hit and a walk.

Ben Carlson and Kyle Bellows had two hits.

Clayton Cook got the start and went 4.2 strong with just one run given up off four hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Nick Kirk picked up his first professional win by going 3.1 innings and striking out seven, yes seven. That was seven of his ten outs recorded.

ARIZONA LEAGUE

Vidal Nuno, Dale Dickerson, and Mike Rayl are among those that signed or will sign that should open up with Arizona today.

6.20.2009

Morning Update: June is Wedge Month.

First off, let us get this out of the way.

Major props need to be handed out to Anthony Castrovince for his Surviving Wrigley Field Guide.

I can only hope one day to think of something as clever as "The white 'W' flag that flies atop the scoreboard following a Cubs victory signifies 'Win,' not 'Wedge.'"

I don't know what about it that is so good, but I almost completely lost it after reading that part.

It's funny though, because I have this Indians calender... and strangely enough, Mr. Wedge is June.

June I believe is gotta be his month to prove it. After this week, I've been ready to fire his ass. Not just for the losing, but for some of the boneheaded decisions that I just can't back anymore.

Look he's finishing the year out as the manager from the looks of it. I don't mind about that.

But there will be a point in this season where I make up my mind if I want him past this season.

The end of June could be that time.

His stubbornness with Luis Valbuena looks like it's paying off, which is great. I'm happy for him. But why couldn't he be that stubborn with other players?

Just going to show you, hey, if you stick with a kid long enough, he'll figure it out.

We've been in more dire straights before as well. We are in the middle of trying to make a comeback into the division race, and he's trying to push a rookie that is hitting below .200.

Meanwhile though, Wedge said the same thing for the 40th time this year, but in his 40th different way.
"It's hard, but you can't give in to it," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "Obviously, our bullpen has really been struggling on and off all year. When you have games like this, it's about as bad as it can get."
And yes, things get bad when even I'm ready to throw in the towel and I'm getting damn close. I don't know how likely a mid-season firing is. I keep saying it won't happen, but you just never know, especially the way the Rockies are playing after Clint Hurdle was let go.

I just feel for the guy as far as this bullpen goes. There really is nothing he can do about that. He gets a pass there as far as I'm concerned. In other areas, no. But that bullpen couldn't be managed better by anyone else.

I didn't even bring up Cliff Lee yesterday until the end. What does this guy have to do to get a break? Throw a two-hitter every night?

Ryan Theriot, who had the game winning hit, said they were just waiting to get Lee out of the game. They knew it, we knew it. As soon as Perez came in after all the other garbage went down, you knew it was going to be a blown game. If not then by Perez, the next inning, somehow, someway.

Why did Kerry Wood shake off Kelly Shoppach three times for a fastball?

No slider yesterday Kerry? Him shaking it off tells me he didn't have the slider and he just wanted to try and gas everyone until he got through it or gave up the lead.

And no one feels worse than Kerry Wood.. I don't doubt it, especially with our ace on the mound.
"There's a reason Cliff's got as many wins as he has and it's mainly because of us down there," Wood said of the bullpen, "so he should be doing a lot better than he's doing. It just seems like every time I haven't done my job, it's been on the day he's pitched."
Pick it up Kerry. You aren't getting many save chances, so the ones you do get, you need to come through.

It wasn't exactly the homecoming Kerry wanted though. It was set-up perfectly for him with the one-run lead and all that. DeRosa doing what he did. They were so close to getting a little bit of "Hey thanks for letting us go revenge." But it wasn't to be.

You realize though how awesome the Cubs fans are though. They gave both DeRo and Wood standing ovations. Expect it for Wood, and it just goes to show you how loved DeRo is everywhere he goes. He was only there a few years and they still loved him.
"It makes you feel good," said DeRosa, who finished the game 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. "It makes you feel like they appreciated the way you played and went about your business. Like I've said, I didn't choose to leave. I'm glad they feel that way towards me and appreciate the way I played, and I feel the same way about them. The feeling is mutual."
As for Kerry, the adrenaline didn't get to him like he thought it would and while he appreciated it, he was really focused on the task at hand. He tried getting to the mound as quick as possible.
"It wasn't really as bad as I thought it was going to be as far as adrenaline and being able to control that," Wood said.

"But I didn't want it to last too long so I tried to get on the mound as quick as I could."
I'm starting to warm up to Tomo Ohka..

Not for the long term or as a pitcher, but just as a fighter. As you'll read, he didn't have the awards, contracts, or accolades of the other Japanese imports. No, all he had was a minor league deal and he's lasted around this long. He didn't have a translator or any of the amenities that the Daisuke Matsuzakas of the world had.

He didn't have anything really.

"I am not like other Japanese pitchers with a big contract," said Ohka, who still speaks with a heavy Japanese accent. "When I came at 23 years old, I just had a Minor League contract. I didn't have any translator. I didn't have my own trainer. I didn't bring my own stuff. Maybe that's why I can stay here a long time."
After last week's good start, the Indians have no problem sending him out there again. The original plan was to just skip his start in the rotation whenever it came up until he was ready to be replaced, but with Pavano struggling and ultimately getting HIS turned skipped, Ohka will go at it again today against the Cubbies.

Pavano will start on Wednesday against Pittsburgh. The nice thing is he won't really miss any starts. They basically get to push him back without having him lose the number of starts he'll make before the ASB. I think this is the best thing for him right now, he looks a little fatigued. He's probably not used to this much work.

Let me re-wind to Wedge real quick.

People have been getting on him for calling out players...

Yet there are the people out there that would get on him for not calling out players...

So I guess it's just a matter of opinion... But I'm glad he's getting on Jhonny Peralta... Jhonny has to stop feeling sorry for himself and realize that his present and future is at third base. The past is over and this team is much better with him a third.

He needs to swallow his pride and do it for the team. I can totally see what Wedge is talking about when he's calling out Peralta. He doesn't look like he cares, he looks like he's throwing a tantrum because of the move.

HE NEEDS TO START HITTING THE DAMN BALL!

That's what he's paid for... He isn't paid for his defense at shortstop... He's paid to hit.. If he does that, he could play third base with one hand tied behind his back for all I care. No one cares which position you play, we just care about you hitting the ball. You do that, no problems anywhere.

I don't understand what the big freakin' deal is. If he just sucks it up and does it, we talk about how great of a teammate he is. He gets even more nice attention.

If he doesn't... I come on here and call him a baby and a jerk.

Oh and then there is Kelly Shoppach. Now that is where I'm against Wedge calling people out. Shoppach just sucks right now. When he isn't hitting home runs, he isn't doing anything. Because that's his game. Right now he's doing nothing and that isn't his fault. That's his game, and his game isn't getting changed.

It's on Wedge to bench his ass for four out of the game games through the rotation. Go ahead and start him with Lee pitching, but you give him no more time other than that.. Screw match-ups and pairing him with Pavano, if he's up there striking out in key situations or just striking out period, you send him a message by benching him. Shoppach is a hard-worker and not even close to being a jerk like Peralta is being right now, I wouldn't call him out for not hitting.

Finally... I was going to be very tame until I read this Indians Chatter and the comments that followed it.

Ryan Garko hurt himself rounding second in the game on Thursday after he tied the game up. It looks like he's going to be fine, but some of the commenters have the audacity to say that he was faking the injury because he made a base-running error.

Right...

Just do us all a favor and shut the hell up.. Okay? People who believe major leaguers fake injuries or purposely hurt themselves because they made a mistake are the same people that act as the ultimate arm-chair quarterbacks. You know exactly the type of fan I'm talking about. They think they know it all and don't really give a damn about any other aspect of anything.

Injury Updates Real Quick: Scott Lewis made a rehab start with Akron on Wednesday, Laffey on Thursday, and Westbrook is still on his little set-back. I'm hoping Asdrubal and Grady are almost ready for rehab's or returns. Things are sorta looking up.

Boards Updated as Noted.. Have a fun Saturday, I'll return later with a game recap provided the game doesn't last too long before I have to leave.

Minor Issues: Scrappers Kick Off Season, Updates All Around

WHAT'S THE NEWS

Wow we got a lot of stuff to go over..

I'm going to make it real easy though.

There are two Minor League Happenings at IPI. For the update on who's signed deals as draft picks, go here. I've updated the board to reflect all the signings and even noted all the Draft and Follows with "DF" where the $ sign would be. Draft and Follows are expected to sign before the deadline for the most part, but the Indians are going to watch them play their Summer Leagues. That link lists who the DFs are and where they are playing.

The Mahoning Valley Scrappers have started their season up and I've got the roster as it stands right now. But we know by now the MV roster can undergo constant changes, so who knows.

The Arizona League is getting underway tomorrow and as soon as there is a more concrete roster, I'll have something up. A lot of last year's DSL and draft picks should make up that team.

The DSL is the Dominican Summer League, which has been going on for awhile now. I've got the roster up and as you can see some of last year's team is still there with some new faces. Sandy Mendez was one of them until he was released. Agustin Avila moved to the outfield.

Okay the other link from IPI is the other part of Minor League Happenings and I think it's important we note a few players because their whereabouts have been unknown for awhile.

Josh Rodriguez, Stephen Head, and Wes Hodges have all been injured and as you can see Head is on the rehab trail with Mahoning Valley. Hodges could soon make that move as well while Rodriguez might be out for a little longer. Wonder how that will affect Andy Marte's time now that he's starting to cool off.

Jeremie Tice is out indefinitely after surgery.

Good to see Rob Bryson making good progress with his return. He and De La Cruz could both be in Kinston by the end of July.

Some transactions to note, mostly revolving around Kinston. Nate Recknagel is back in Lake County, taking his place is someone named Ole Sheldon. Now I don't know much about this Ole Sheldon character or where he came from, but apparently he has his own following.

The following is not a kind one though. Now here are Ole Sheldon's stats, he's apparantely made it as high as Double-A in the Astros organization.

None of this is really important if you ask me though. He's in his late 20's and in Single-A Kinston at this point. What really matters is his cool name.

I only know of two other Sheldon's in the world and they both have Sheldon as their first name. One is very cool and the other is.. meh...

I think we all pretty much know the first one.

BAM


None other than Sheldon Ocker, ABJ's own. You will know that I've banned all Sheldon Ocker columns and news notes from this blog because of his ridiculous ideas that he's proposed, the most notable: Make Paul Byrd the Closer.

The other is a more likable one. He's evil, but he's a likable evil because he always fails. He may be evil, but I like him better than Sheldon Ocker, who I'm convinced is evil in old-man form as far as bad ideas go.

That didn't make any sense..

The other Sheldon is none other than Sheldon Plankton!


We just call him Plankton though. So let's review.

Sheldon Plankton > Ole Plankton > Used Socks > Sheldon Ocker

Oh and Roman Pena is off the DL, but Heath Taylor is now on it. Let's get to the game reviews.

COLUMBUS

I'm not going to review one day for most of these, but rather since I've been not updating.

The Clippers lost the series to Rochester 3-1, the lone win coming with Chuck Lofgren on the mound. He went seven solid, giving up three runs, seven hits, four walks with two strike outs. Not bad, it wins right? We might be a little too used to his awesome Akron pitching though.

The Clippers have been skidding, winning just two of their last nine games. They are in the middle of a four gamer with Syracuse before they meet up with Rochester again, this time on the road.

One bright spot has been Michael Brantley though, he's been making up for lost time. He's had 3-3 hit games in his last 10 games. He's got his average up to .268 and he's stolen 21 bases on the season so far.

Matt LaPorta has 11 hits total, but hits in 8 of his last 10 games. He's only homered once and knocked in three RBI, but he's no doubt doing what he can.

AKRON
The Aeros took the first three games in a four game series against New Hampshire, they dropped the fourth and last night got rained out in their second series against Portland in as many weeks.

Josh Tomlin and Jeanmar Gomez picked up wins in their games. Tomlin piggy backed on Scott Lewis who was making a rehab start. Vinnie Pestano is now up to 18 saves on the year and Zach Putnam picked up his first save as an Aero with two innings in the second game of the double-header earlier this week.

Since his little break, Matt McBride has knocked in eight runs in six games, he's also had three multi-hit games.

Beau Mills had a hit-streak going that was snapped on Thursday when he went 0-4.

KINSTON

Kinston continues to slide as they've not won a game since June 10th, ten days ago.

They've now lost eight straight and four straight to Lynchburg after their latest loss last night. They are also 3-14 in the month of June.

Their last four losses have been by two runs or less, making things even worse.

I think I've spent enough time on Ole Sheldon.

LAKE COUNTY
The Captains had a four game win streak and two mini sweeps over Delmarva and Hagerstown this week.

They beat Hagerstown twice with Alex Perez and Trey Haley picking up wins. Both went six innings and got six combined innings of scoreless relief from the bullpen, speficially TJ McFarland, Dave Roberts, and Steve Smith. Abner Abreu had four hits, three of them doubles in that series.

The pitching was even better against Delmarva as they held them scoreless in both games. TJ House threw seven innings of two-hit baseball as Chris Jones and Eddie Burns combined for six innings of three-hit baseball in the other game.

Donnie Webb and Abner Abreu homered in the first game and it was Karexon Sanchez and Adam White who knocked in two runs each in the other one.

Lakewood did defeat the Captains last night in extra innings by one run with a walk-off.

MAHONING VALLEY

The Scrap is Back!

Mahoning Valley kicked things off Friday night with their first game of the season and it was Kaimi Mead on the mound for the Scrappers.

They survived two late runs in the ninth to pick up the win over Jamestown.

John Allman got the job done with three hits and three RBI, including two doubles.

Bo Greenwell and Jason Smit both had two hits and two RBI. Smit is now in the outfield, specifically center field. He was an infielder last year with the GCL team.

ARIZONA LEAGUE

Season Starts Sunday... Fausto Carmona is there, and the only other known name is Jose Camargo, an infielder. There are probably some draft picks that have been mentioned, but it's easier to just wait till Sunday.

DOMINICAN LEAGUE

The DSL has been underway since the start of June and the Indians are 7-11 on the season.

Best Pitcher: How about Ramon Cespedes, who's appeared in 6 games, has pitched 13.1 innings with a 0.68 ERA and 9 strikeouts.

Best Hitter: Toss up between Joly Fermin who's the leading hitter with a .405 average and 8 RBI in 11 Games and Jesus Aguilar who's hitting .347 with 11 RBI in 15 games. Giovanny Urshela leads the team with 12 RBI.