You got bad, bad luck

Where do you come out on jinxes?

When Cliff Lee was hurling a no-no last night, I’m assuming you didn’t let the words “no-hitter” come out of your mouth. But how far did you take the superstition? Did you refuse to leave your seat or adjust the volume on the TV for fear that the slightest alteration in viewing experience would negatively impact Clifton Phifer?

People get antsy when no-hitters and perfect games are on the line, especially people directly affiliated with a ballclub. So there were some players who were quite a bit of a surprised when the operators of the jumbotron at Progressive Field decided, just before the start of the eighth inning, to flash a graphic noting that the last perfect game in Tribe history was Len Barker’s May 15, 1981, gem against the Blue Jays.

Well, as it turns out, the graphic was a scripted part of the Indians’ weekend celebration of all things ’80s. It was scheduled to run regardless of what Lee had going on.

I’m not a big believer in jinxes, but maybe this would have been a good time to deviate from the script. Or maybe Lee shouldn’t have left a changeup over the plate. Either way.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Jake Westbrook’s rehab is on hold. In the first setback Westbrook has had since his Tommy John ligament replacement surgery one year ago, the Indians appear to have scrapped previous plans to have him make his third rehab start Wednesday. Westbrook is still dealing with some soreness in his right elbow from after his start Friday for Double-A Akron. He played catch today and is tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday. No word on when the Indians are now targeting that third start to take place, but this would obviously push back Westbrook’s big league return.
  • Grady Sizemore had an MRI on his sore left elbow today, and the results were positive enough that the Indians had Sizemore play catch out to 60 feet and take dry swings with the bat. These are his first baseball activities since he went on the DL on May 31. The Indians still won’t know if Sizemore’s elbow will require surgery until he continues to increase his baseball activities and they see how his elbow responds. They don’t even know what his schedule is for tomorrow yet, because they want to see how he responds from today’s action.
  • Aaron Laffey’s rehab assignment will begin Thursday, when he’ll throw three innings in a start for Triple-A Columbus. The Indians are building Laffey, working his way back from a right oblique strain, back up as a starter. He could be back within a couple weeks.
  • The Indians announced the signing of four of their 2009 Draft picks today. First baseman Ben Carlson (Sixth Round, Missouri State), right-hander Brett Brach (10th Round, Monmouth), left-hander Kirk Wetmore (11th Round, Bellevue Community College) and infielder Kyle Smith (14th Round, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo).
  • I caught some flack for writing this article about Yadier Molina’s double and whether or not Choo could have made the play. It was not an opinion piece. It was a simple statement of fact that there was debate — both in the press box and in the Indians’ clubhouse and, I can only imagine, among many of you – as to whether or not Choo made the best of efforts to catch that ball. And I felt the debate was strong enough that it necessitated a short separate story.
  • If you want my opinion on the matter, I don’t think Choo could have realistically made the catch, given how shallow he played, but I definitely think he could have made a better effort to get a glove on it at the wall. The replay is linked to the story, if you’d like to judge for yourself.
  • According to Elias Sports Bureau, no Indians pitcher had taken a no-hit bid into the eighth inning since CC Sabathia did so at Detroit on April 7, 2002. Lee would have been the first reigning Cy Young Award winner to throw a no-hitter since Bob Gibson did it for the Cardinals on Aug. 14, 1971, against the Pirates.
  • Lee now has a 2.07 ERA over his last 12 starts.
  • The Indians are 15-11 since May 20.
  • Don’t forget about the American Red Cross blood drive taking place on Gateway Plaza before tomorrow night’s game.
  • Choo was playing with a yo-yo before tonight’s game. He can do the “around the world” and the “rock the cradle.” In my book, that’s talent.

~AC

15 Comments

How much longer can we allow Luis Valbuena to try to figure it out at the plate? Not that we have a whole lot of options, but what is the word recently with Josh Barfield? You get the feeling like something is up there. Did he betray Wedge at some point or what?

why does joel skinner constantly send shoppach home from second on a single to left….the guy isn’t exactly fast and he’s usually not close to being safe. bad base running has been just as big of a problem as any for the tribe this year. he got lucky tonight that the throw was in the dirt and the catcher couldn’t hold on.

Rafael Perez pitches like he has Downs.

This is so unbelievably embarrassing I don’t even have the words.
Every single guy who walked someone tonight should be sent down. You heard me.

boooooooooooo!

Yeah, I understand that run doesn’t mean anything, but I still would of put Barfield in there to run for Pronk in the 9th, mainly because there would be no need for him to pinch run for at least the next two hitters, and probably not for four of the next five hitters due up. And I also would have put Garko in there to hit for Valbuena, though in fairness to Valbuena, he hit the ball well, if it had been in the gap, who knows how the game would have went.

One thing I don’t do, is hold Willis responsible for our pitchers struggling tonight. And I was to do to that, I would need to hold him equally responsible for Lee’s near no-no. It was just one of those games. Tomorrow could be a 1-0 game, but for whatever reason, tonight 26 runs were scored. That’s baseball for ya.

We used five relievers, but Joe Smith actually did well. Herges walked one guy, but I’m not ready to call it a day on him.
Perez HAS to go back down. Vizcaino walked three guys with a four run lead. Aquino only walked one guy (one too many for a reliever with a five run lead) and gave up two runs.
Chulk, Rundles, even Sipp — give ‘em the call.
And no one in the entire world knows why Wedge let Valbuena AND Shoppach bat. How Garko doesn’t get in there for one of them is baffling.

this game was embarrassing. Total debacle. Tom Hamilton was flat out shocked that Kelly Shoppach was going to hit. His comment about Valbuena hitting was noticeable but not as confusing as Shoppach.

Whoever made the determination that Rafael Perez was ready and fixed should have his head examined. This is what happens when you have only one lefty in the bullpen that is struggling terribly (several of us made the suggestion that this was a poor decision). Wedge is so adamant about playing the lefty-righty game, to which I usually don’t disagree with however he reversed course on his own decree that he would ease Perez back into action. Bases loaded against Fielder isn’t easing anything. On a night in which everyone else in division was idle we simply lost our chance to gain 1/2 game. Ugh!

While many of us are confused with Valbuena’s presence I still maintain that he is solely here as an insurance policy for Peralta. When Cabrera returns I’d like to see his kiester on the first thing moving south towards Columbus. The kid can’t hit right now. Don’t give me that line about putting up tough at bats Wedge because it’s not there consistently. Maybe a few sprinkled in here or there but generally not so. Is Shoppach putting up good at bats too? Maybe I’ve been watching a different team than him.

LACF is right. No matter what guys we throw out there the bottom third of our lineup is hitting .200. Totally unacceptable. However, after tonight’s great exercise in fielding by Shoppach would you still deal with Wedge about making Kelly our everyay catcher? I wouldn’t. Throwing error, passed ball, all too familiar occurrences for a supposed defensive catcher with pop power and a long swing.

This team just has so many problems. Jake Westbrook getting held back from his next rehab start does not help matters, although at least Laffey is starting his, and in Columbus no less.
What the ESPN crew failed to really discuss two nights in a row isn’t that we’re missing guys, it’s that our replacement players are below average. If Lee is adamant about having Shoppach call his games (and I can’t believe that, as he shook Shoppach off plenty of times), then that is the only game Shoppach should be behind the plate.
Until Grady and Cabrera return, we should put Garko at first. At this point, I wouldn’t mind playing Carroll at short and Barfield at second to see if Josh can produce. We need to know who’s going to be at second when Cabrera comes back. Steve Phillips wasn’t wrong: Valbuena made a few plays tonight that Peralta would never have made (and Cabrera can, too).
At this point, I would be happy with Carroll and DeRosa on the right side (once Cabrera returns) if it means Martinez is behind the plate 4 out of every 5 games, because Shoppach is just not getting it done.

Social Distortion!
Regarding last night, I really expected Garko to come in to pinch hit for Shoppach. Garko has always been a good clutch hitter. Also, it scared me to death when I saw Perez come in against Fielder. I shouldn’t feel that way for Perez. He’s lost ALL my trust…..if that means anything. I thought it a bad move, as was leaving him in for more than that one pitch. It was embarrassing! He was bouncing balls around in the dirt pretty consistantly.

the bottom line for Perez is he isn’t fixed and we cannot allow him to hold our bullpen hostage as the only left hander while he figures it out. Additionally, why is Jensen Lewis on the team? He’s been used 3 times in the month of June with one of those appearances occurring in K.C.’s 9-0 trouncing. We have said it before but Wedge is completely loyal to a fault. His own fault.

I agree that it is time to give Barfield a shot in lieu of Valbuena. Even if that means come Cabrera’s return he loses his spot in the daily lineup to Jamey Carroll at 2B we at least get to see him every day for 2 weeks for a better evaluation. He has more patience than I would have. The consummate professional, great pedigree. I would have asked for my release or a trade a long time ago.

The Carroll to SS idea gives me one concern. He appears athletic enough to make that move now (at 35) but he hasn’t played SS since his 11 appearances for Colorado in 2007. How about Martinez (C), Garko (1B), Barfield (2B), Peralta (SS), Carroll (3B), DeRosa (LF), Francisco/Crowe (CF), Choo RF). Valbuena once a week (until Cabrera returns) to give the INF guys a blow. Martinez at 1B when Lee pitches.

It makes it very tough right now considering (despite last night’s outing) our bullpen has been pitching much better but our offense has no consistency. We score 1 run than score 9. It makes for a nice 5 run average but with our offensive injuries it makes it tough to be consistent. The players getting a chance need to do better.

Ok, I think I am finally sold that Wedge’s time might be up. The in-game decisions that are made, the loyalty to the wrong guys, the fact that I believe, Wedge is consistently inconsistent. It is time for a change. It might sound dumb, but we are still in this thing. We have a ton of games left in the division and against Detroit, and it would be dumb to count us out, especially with our recent tradition of being a strong second-half team.

But my question is, lets say we give Wedge the axe. Who gets the job, do they promote bench coach Datz, do they give it to Skinner who had the job briefly before Wedge? Do they promote Luvullo right now? The problem I have, is if we fire Wedge, 95% of the coaching staff will remain the same, and I am not sure if much will change, but I still think it is a chance worth taking. I am thinking perhaps they think outside the box and offer the job to 1st base coach Luis Rivera. He has done some managing down on the farm, he might be open to approaching things differently, and I am sort of hoping he could inspire some guys, like Peralta, to step it up. I am just throwing it out there, but I just get the impression that guys like Datz, Willis and Shelton buy right into Wedge’s style, and I don’t know if much will change. It was interesting though reading what Brandon Phillips had to say about Joel Skinner and how he liked him as a manager and then Wedge came in a lot changed. That gives me hope that some guys on this staff could make a difference.

Well, they’re going to have to make some moves today. Why? Because we have Jeremy “I Only Go Five” Sowers pitching tonight, and the only relievers we didn’t use last night were our closer and Jensen Lewis.
In other words, we might be seeing a lot of Lewis tonight, AM.
As for coaching, christopher, I would think that if Wedges goes, Willis and Skinner should go, too. I’m not sold on Shelton being as awful as many others think, but I’ve been convinced on Willis. And let’s face facts, even though Shoppach scored last night, he should have been out by a mile when Skinner sent him. I was pretty stunned.
My suggestion would be Torey Lovullo, the Clippers current manager. He knows most of the guys and he seems to be able to get the best out of them.
I think I’d be okay with Carroll at short temporarily. I just don’t see how we can NOT have him in the line-up right now with the way he’s hitting, just as I don’t see how we CAN have Valbuena in the line-up right now with the way HE’S hitting, at least not on days when Shoppach is in there.
There you go, new rule: Valbuena and Shoppach must play on opposite days.

I agree that it is time for Wedge to go. I suffered through the entire game last night. His obsession with the righty/lefty thing drives me crazy. It is beyond me why you would you play someone who is batting .150 vs .250. Wedge obviously has something against Garko, because when he does get to play it is not at normal position at 1st base. I witnessed a game in Tampa when Garko was playing left and he got turned around on a fly ball that would have been caught by someone who plays the position routinely. It’s like he wants Garko to fail.

I was listening to MLB on XM today and they were talking about the possibility of DeRosa and Cliff Lee being traded before the trade deadline for prospects if the Indians continue to falter. I for one am tired of getting prospects who turn out to be AAA players at best and being the farm team for the Yankess and Red Sox. If they trade those two, it’s time for Shapiro to go too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 60 other followers

%d bloggers like this: