"I wish there were pigmen. You get a few of these pigmen walking around, suddenly I'm looking a whole lot better."
We’re back up and running after a weekend off, and hopefully all of you have steered clear of the swine flu and are ready to talk Tribe.
The swine flu epidemic has everybody up in arms. WTAM radio legend Mark Schwab was worried he might be coming down with a unique mixture of swine flu and bird flu, but I assured him that would only happen when pigs fly.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- Eric Wedge used his pregame session with reporters to discuss the need for the leaders of this clubhouse to step forward. “We’re still coming together as a team,” Wedge said. He reiterated a lot of what he said Saturday night, when he called out his players for their unsatisfactory offensive approach. “We’re not a young team anymore,” Wedge said. “A lot of our guys are right smack dab in the middle of their career. There are some things happening that shouldn’t be happening.”
- As expected, Asdrubal Cabrera remained in the No. 2 spot of the lineup today, with Mark DeRosa down at No. 7. DeRosa came into this series with the Red Sox batting .195 with a .609 OPS. “I think it helps the team,” he said of the lineup move. “I don’t think it helps me. But I expected it. It didn’t come as a shock. We find ourselves 7-12, you can’t keep running out the same lineup if it’s not producing runs.”
- Travis Hafner was out of the lineup for the second straight day and the third time in five games. Wedge made it clear it’s not a physical issue with Pronk, who is only expected to play five or six times a week at this juncture anyway. He just wanted to keep Hafner out of the lineup against Tim Wakefield, because knuckleballers can throw a hitter’s swing out of whack. “[Hafner] has worked so hard to find [his swing],” Wedge said. “We don’t want him to lose it.” Pronk is 0-for-9 in his career against Wakefield.
- If you’re keeping track of Tony Sipp’s visitor’s log, you can add his father and his brother to the list. They made it here in time to catch Tony in action yesterday, as he got two big outs with the bases loaded in the 4-2 victory over the Twins. “That was the worst of the worst,” Sipp said of facing Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel with the bases jammed. “Getting out of that was big. I was glad to help out in a timely situation.”
- As for the man Sipp has, essentially, replaced as the late-inning lefty (for the time being, anyway), Rafael Perez encouraged Wedge with his scoreless sixth inning in Saturday’s 7-1 loss. “He was a lot better,” Wedge said. “You could tell from the first pitch. His arm looked good, he was keeping the ball down, and he was throwing good sliders.” Perez has been working on the side with pitching coach Carl Willis and bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez.
- The Indians are 3-0 in games started by Aaron Laffey and 4-12 in their other 16 games. Laffey is one-third of an inning shy of qualifying for the AL ERA title. He would rank sixth with a 2.41 mark.
- Everybody’s favorite Twitterer, Matt LaPorta, was named the International League player of the week. For the season, LaPorta has a hit in 14 of 16 games and is batting .400 with three doubles, five homers and 13 RBIs. He hit .520 with a .613 on-base percentage for the week.
- First baseman Matt McBride, a converted catcher, has an 11-game hitting streak at Class A Kinston. He’s hit .432 (19-for-44) with four doubles, three homers and 13 RBIs during the streak.
- Also at Kinston, third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall (grand slams in back-to-back games and homers in three straight) and right-hander Eric Berger (10 scoreless innings over two starts) were named the Carolina League player and pitcher of the week.
- The Indians scored 22 runs on April 18. They have scored a total of 22 runs in the seven games since.