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5.02.2012

Morning Rundown: From Ewwwbaldo to U-Bad-O

Nino Colla | Wednesday, May 02, 2012 | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

And this week, Ewwbaldo put me to sleep. I'm not kidding. I fell asleep watching him pitch. No, no no, really... His pitching bored me to sleep. I was so disinterested, I fell asleep.

May 1st, 2012
Cleveland Indians - 2
Chicago White Sox - 7
W: Chris Sale (3-1) L: Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2)

Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports
[BOXSCORE]

I'm telling you, I fell asleep. I watched two innings and I fell asleep. The four-run third could have been a nightmare or it could have been the television being on. It was neither because I was out. I woke up just in time to see the score, and made the executive decision that this isn't worth it.

And maybe we've reached that point with U-bad-o Jimenez. I for one am I tired of watching the guy pitch. What makes matters worse is what we were treated to on the second day of the season. What happened to that Jimenez? Why is he so bad? Why does he look the way he does? It's clearly not a matter of talent. I mean, if you look at that game and then remember what he did in 2010, he's perfectly capable of being good.

He's not the same pitcher he was on that Saturday afternoon or in 2010 and I don't really even want 2010 Ubaldo, I just want that Ubaldo from Saturday April 7th, 2012. It's not mechanics, so don't even go there. I think it's motivation and I think it's a lack of desire to pitch. I keep beating this drum every time he starts, but he looks slow, he looks lethargic, he looks like he could care less where the ball is going. He takes his good old time as if he's just out there watering the grass with no care in the world.

Saturday against the Blue Jays on April 7th, 2012? He looked like he had business to take care of and that he had to catch a flight after. He looked like he didn't want to be bothered with that Blue Jays lineup, so he just mowed them down, reared back and gave them his best.

This is going to continue to be a problem though, because Manny Acta was not really in this mood after the game. He was more upset at the defense. And granted, the defense was not good, but someone needs to light a fire under the guy's you-know-what. Jimenez has to come to the realization and the only way that is going to happen is if someone slaps him across the face in some verbal sort of way. Acta seems like he's the one that needs to do it, preferably behind closed doors.

I guess you can't heap the entire amount of blame on Ubaldo on this one, considering it was a poor defensive game, but the way he's pitching is still there. If he's not giving up home runs to A.J. Pierzynski and Gordon Beckham (um, wow), then there is no smoke to cloud the infield.

But let's talk about that smoke shall we? How bush-league is it that the White Sox don't know where to shoot off fireworks? And how many freaking fireworks did they shoot off?

Let me preface this rant by saying that if people can come into Progressive Field and complain about the seagulls and wildlife that the Indians HAVE NO CONTROL over, then I can rip the White Sox for this.

It's incredibly unfair that the game continued under those circumstances. I don't care if you have to delay the game again, Manny Acta should have not let his team play with that smoke everywhere. It's completely unfair for either side to be playing with clouds of firework smoke blinding the hitters, pitchers, and defenders.

The White Sox are incredibly bush. Is that the result every time they shoot off fireworks? I don't know but after the Pierzynski one, I might have opted NOT to do it again after Gordon Beckham hit one to lead off the third inning. Oh no, they did and it created even more smoke while Ubaldo was pitching, just making matters worse as Viciedo sent a harmless pop up to the infield that went for a DOUBLE because no one decided to stop the game.

"It's very unfortunate," Donald said following the Indians' 7-2 loss to the White Sox. "I remember thinking, 'If a ball gets in the air next pitch, nobody is going to have any clue where it is.' That goes for the infield or outfield."

Donald went on to say that after they paused the first time it happened, you'd think they would pause for that one.

Nope instead they continued right on playing. And the first pause wasn't even a long pause, it was not even a minute and the smoke was still there, perhaps the first time being the worst.

And it is very unfortunate. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't the reason the Indians lost the game. It just was not a well-played game overall and after I ripped Ubaldo, I had no visions of him pitching a gem, even if the defense didn't let him down.

"We just didn't play good defense -- period," manager Manny Acta said. "We didn't catch a ball up in the air. We didn't catch a ball on the ground. We didn't cover the bases when we had to. Plain and simple, we can't afford to play that type of defense with the offense that we have."

And you could make an argument that Jimenez gets that pop-out, maybe he cruises through the rest of the inning and it ends 2-1. Who knows, but I do know that this is still a controllable matter and that unless they can control where that smoke ends up, or where they shoot their fireworks off, they better not do it again this series. 

Bush...League...

Random Details...

Shelley Duncan proved that he needs to be playing against left-handed pitching, regardless of Johnny Damon's presence, which is exactly what he did on Tuesday with Damon with the club. Acta may have used the reasoning to give Damon time to adjust and settle in, but I think his reasoning was Duncan getting to face a left-hander, especially one with a fastball.

Duncan not only hit a double that led to the game's first run when Kipnis singled him home, he hit a home run off left-hander Will Ohman in the seventh to end that home run drought that's been going on since April 17th. It's nice to get one after 11-games, but really, it's just nice to see Duncan hit one and maybe Damon's arrival has made him relax a bit.
Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports
Jason Kipnis had a great game as well, 3-4 in his home of Chicago with a RBI-double. But you want to talk about defense? Let's go with the fundamentals that were not executed Acta was talking about. What was he doing in the seventh on that pop up? There's no smoke, so that's not what this is about but Carlos Santana, starting at first base for the first time this year, was ranging over way into second baseman territory on a Alex Rios pop-up. Kipnis should be calling Santana off. Come on rook, that's your area and if it's not the shortstop calling you off, you have authority to make that call.

Maybe it's because he's younger... But then after a strikeout of Viciedo, Lou Marson made a laser throw as only #LouMar can with Rios attempting to steal and Kipnis just... kind of.. mehh. That's the best word I can use to describe his effort on the tag. It was just mehhhh. Just mehh. What is up dude? I know you are still learning second base, but, that doesn't seem to be something you need to learn. Slap the tag on him, the throw beat Rios.

I mean, Marson even mouthed "G...Damnit Man" after and I don't blame him, that goes against him in the stats and he, more than anything, loves throwing runners out and controlling that aspect of the game and the infield botched it.

Brantely, Donald, Cabrera, Santana, Hafner: 0-for-20, no walks.... Was it the lefty?

Bright-side? Nick Hagadone, scoreless frame... Did it in five pitches, all strikes. How efficient is that? 

[JOHNNY COME LATELY]

As mentioned, Johnny Damon was not in the lineup, but as expected he was added to the roster before the game and he joined his teammates Monday in Chicago. Damon seems happy to be back in the bigs after his ramp-up process in extended spring.

"In no way was I thinking about retiring," said Damon, wearing his new Indians gear as he sat inside the visiting dugout at U.S. Cellular Field. "I do want to keep on playing. I feel like I have a lot to give, whether it's on the field or my experience. I know I can play and I want to play.I'm glad the process brought me here to be a Cleveland Indian," he said, "and brought me here to the Windy City of Chicago."

Acta said the club felt comfortable moving forward with Damon only having played in extended. If anything, it was probably better than a minor league stint as he was under the watchful eye of the Indians Goodyear personnel and training staff. As for not starting him on Tuesday? It was a matter of getting him settled in, according to Acta at least. 

Manny made no-bones about where he'd be hitting Damon though when he did play. Lead-off.

"Other than the .350-plus on-base percentage that he has lifetime?" Acta said. "Other than that? And the close to 3,000 hits he's got? And the fact that over the last three years he's hit lefties even better than righties? What, the beard? The hair? What else do you want me to give you?" 

Uh, that beard is filling in and I can see the hair growing out a little bit. We going to get the caveman in Cleveland? One an only hope.

You have to love Damon's mindset. I think it plays up to that free-and-easy attitude he has. He's a guy that's done it all and I don't think it's about a paycheck. He was simply not interested in retiring. He loves to play baseball and if he thinks he can still do it, and last year he did it well enough, then why not?

"I have nothing to go out there and prove," Damon said, "except to help the Indians stay atop of the standings, get to the playoffs and help some young players mature and become professionals. I've been playing this game for a long time and I've loved it. I've been able to play it with passion and play it with a smile."

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

In addition to likely seeing Johnny Damon make his first start on Wednesday, we could see the return of Shin-Soo Choo from a hamstring tweak. He's been out for an entire week-plus and after his workout on Tuesday, Acta said he's anticipating Choo being in the lineup. He went through some running and agility drills and hopefully the weather dictates that it isn't too bad and he can get out there. If it's rainy again I might consider holding him out just because you never know.

But Acta seemed to indicate that he needed one more day and that Choo will be back on Wednesday baring a set-back.

"He needed one more day," Acta said. "If it wasn't for the weather, we probably were going to have him run the bases and do all the normal stuff that you do during batting practice."

Choo and Damon were both available as bench options on Tuesday, but of course, no need for either of their uses.

Completely un-mentioned in the Damon part of this post was how the Indians got Damon on the roster. It was logical really and if you didn't listen to me when I said it would probably be Jose Lopez, you just didn't analyze things properly. Aaron Cunningham is the only other person other than Michael Brantely that can play center field. After Manny Acta said it would "take a bus crash" for him to put Jason Donald in center, it became pretty clear to me that Johnny Damon was not going to be taking the spot of Aaron Cunningham.

Donald is more valuable as an infielder and utility guy. He does a little more, is faster, and quite frankly a much better defender than Jose Lopez. How many games was Lopez hitting? About one a week? Big deal, he's expendable. Sorry Jose. Lopez was designated for assignment, so there's a chance he clears and accepts his demotion to Columbus, but, who knows.

Plus you add in the schedule and how Cunningham will no doubt be needed to either play center or replace Damon and Duncan in left late in games. It only made sense. I think Cunningham is safe for now, but if Trevor Crowe continues to lurk, his time may be coming to an end, especially since Cunningham isn't even that much greater in the field. He's just more serviceable and can actually play center without botching it.

Minor League Awards: Luigi Rodriguez of Lake County was named the minor league player of the week in the Indians organization. He was 10-for-18 with a pair of home runs. Jeremie Tice of the Carolina Mudcats was named Carolina League hitter of the week as he is hitting .328 with four home runs on the season. Against Lynchburg on April 25th he hit a pair of home runs in his second 3-for-4 night in a row. On...Fire...

Make sure you are voting for your April winner of the Golden Fedora of Greatness. You can do it on the blog or on Facebook. You should also like the blog's page on Facebook, because it would be a kind deed. 

[TIGER WATCH]

Detroit spanked the Royals... Their Monday game was postponed and on Tuesday, Rick Porcello shucked his way out of the limelight as Luke Hochevar got absolutely drilled for nine runs in just four innings of work.  Much of it came off a five run first inning, but Hochevar can pitch, he swears. He did it against Cleveland.

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