"I want a decent sock that's comfortable, that will stay on my foot!"
Word to the wise: Never pack for an 8:30 a.m. flight at 12:45 a.m., when you’re half-asleep (or is it half-awake?). If you do, be prepared to make an emergency Wal-Mart run at your destination to do a little sock shopping.
Speaking of Wal-Mart, I really think there should be some sort of IQ test that must be passed before a person is allowed to use one of those self-checkout lines. Can we make this happen?
Well anyway, we’re here in St. Pete, I’ve got some new socks and the big dome at The Trop is saving us from the humidity. Here are the lineups for the Tribe’s first of three games against the first-place Rays (will it ever not be weird to say that?)…
INDIANS (48-62): CF Grady Sizemore, DH David Dellucci, LF Ben Francisco, SS Jhonny Peralta, C Kelly Shoppach, 1B Ryan Garko, 3B Andy Marte, RF Franklin Gutierrez, 2B Asdrubal Cabrera. LHP Cliff Lee (14-2, 2.58).
RAYS (66-44): 2B Akinori Iwamura, CF B.J. Upton, 1B Carlos Pena, 3B Evan Longoria, C Dioner Navarro, SS Willy Aybar, LF Eric Hinske, DH Jonny Gomes, RF Gabe Gross. RHP Matt Garza (9-6, 3.56).
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- Victor Martinez, who will probably go out on a rehab assignment this coming weekend, did some baserunning drills for the first time today.
- Trade bait Paul Byrd has lowered his ERA from 5.53 to 4.72 over his last four starts, in which he’s 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA.
- Shoppach is batting .308 (40-for-130) with 14 doubles, nine homers and 26 RBIs in 38 games since taking over the regular catching duties on June 12. His five homers in the second half are tied for the third-most in the AL, and he’s batting .405 (17-for-42) over 11 games since July 20. Shoppach is third among MLB catchers with 12 homers this season.
- Keep your eyes on Anthony Reyes down at Buffalo, as he might be due to join the Indians’ rotation before long. Reyes went eight innings in a 2-1 win over Syracuse, allowing just a run on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He is now 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two outings since joining the organization on July 26. He is 4-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 13 starts at the Triple-A level this season.
- The notes handed to the media inform us that the Indians have won 11 of their last 20.
- I’ll add that they’ve also lost nine of their last 20.
- The Tribe has lost 14 of 18 on the road.
- C Carlos Santana, the key acquisition in the Casey Blake trade, became the first Minor Leaguer this season to drive in his 100th run. He was 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs in Class A Kinston’s 10-8 win at Salem on Sunday. Santana also leads the Minors with 96 runs scored. In seven games at Kinston, Santana is batting .379 (11-for-29) with a double, triple, homer, four RBIs and a 1.005 OPS. I’d expect to see him in Double-A somewhat soon.
- During the Indians’ early batting practice session, the house speaker played Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last.” Odd. Not exactly a pump-up tune.