"I've been reviewing Darren's internship journal. Doing laundry, mending chicken wire, high tea with a Mr. Newman."

This week, we officially welcome associate reporter Matt O’Donnell into the fold at MLB.com, and he’ll help out on the Tribe beat.

Matt graduated from Ohio University over the weekend, so he’s still got a little Court Street coursing through his blood. And I’m excited to have a fellow Bobcat in the fold.

Previous associates include Andrew Gribble, who is covering Auburn for the Opelika-Auburn News, and the inimitable David Briggs, who is working for the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. O’Donnell has big shoes to fill — and not just because Briggs is 7-foot-3.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Eric Wedge had strong words for Jhonny Peralta today. Peralta is batting .249 with a .336 slugging percentage and .340 on-base percentage. He simply has not been driving the ball, as evidenced by his 14 total extra-base hits. Wedge has already benched Peralta for consecutive games twice this season, and he’s contemplating doing so a third time. “He’s got to get his head straight,” Wedge said. “Jhonny’s not a baby anymore. He’s been up here five or six years. He’s going to have to figure it out. I don’t want to keep seeing the same thing day after day.”
  • Luis Valbuena, owner of a .179 average, is not only a regular, but now (or today, at least) he’s batting leadoff. Wedge wanted to give Jamey Carroll a day off, and he didn’t want to move the struggling Ben Francisco (5-for-42) back to leadoff. So Valbuena gets the job for the night. Wedge said he liked seeing Valbuena work two walks off Dave Bush last night, and he’s talked the past week about how his at-bats are better than the stats indicate. “I don’t look at the numbers,” Wedge said. “This is a good opportunity to get him up there. It could be a good shot in the arm for him.”
  • Wedge railed against two areas that bother him about this ballclub — the walks (an astonishing 261 and counting) and the strikeouts with runners on third and less than two out. “I’m tired of talking about it and tired of seeing it,” Wedge said.
  • The pies in the face worked in ’07. Maybe the championship belt will work in ’09. WWE’s Jerry “The King” Lawler delivered a replica belt to the clubhouse today, at Travis Hafner’s request. It will go to the player voted “player of the game” after each win. Whoever wins the belt the most over the remainder of the season gets to keep it all winter. More on this important development in this story on Indians.com.
  • Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said Grady Sizemore will begin taking batting practice and making throws from the outfield this weekend in Chicago. If his left elbow tolerates that well, he could avoid arthroscopic surgery. We’ll see how it goes.
  • LHP Scott Lewis makes his second rehab start tonight, getting the nod for Double-A Akron.
  • Victor Martinez drove in his 500th run last night and hit his 99th homer. He’s now second in the AL in batting average, with a .341 mark.
  • Hafner’s three-hit game last night was his second of the season after not having a three-hit game in all of ’08. His seven total bases equaled a season high.
  • How about the news on Mel Hall? Terrible.

~AC

11 Comments

Ok, I have had a little too much to drink for a weekday and the game is not going too hot for Cleveland, so naturally this post will be a bit pessimistic, however, can we finally put to bed the myth that a closer establishes consistency in a bullpen? For years they’ve told us that they are pursuing a consistent closer because that helps a bullpen settle itself out. Granted, Kerry Wood hasn’t been exactly lights out, but HE has been consistent…and guess what…the rest of the bullpen has NOT. 10 million dollars on a guy we can’t turn the ball over to. A consistent closer is just that, one guy in the bullpen you can rely on. His presence means nothing if you have noone who can hold a lead and get him the freaking ball.

If Wedge doesn’t look at numbers, then why wouldn’t he bat Francisco in the lead off spot? His reason for not doing so has to do with…numbers.
But, no, that’s cool, having a lead off guy who’s hitting over .200 is overrated, anyway. No, really. All those other teams that win games — they have no idea what they’re doing.
AC, what’s our percentage of guys LOB who lead off the inning? It’s got to be pretty high.
This lefty/lefty theory that Wedge keeps grasping on to is working out really well lately.

How can we expect a closer to be consistent when he rarely get’s into a game? Everyone in front of him like Perez, Lewis and Acquino can’t hold any lead, No matter how large it is. Really, we should have won last nights game, but the guys above couldn’t hold the lead and ended up costing us the game. Herges even gave up a few runs last night and he has been pretty solid. It’s not Kerry’s fault!

09indians, that’s what djacks was saying. He wasn’t blaming Wood, he was pointing out the fact that just having a good closer doesn’t automatically make the bullpen good.

to no one’s surprise, we lost this game. And more certainly, we will be swept. Hopefully we take one from the Cubs. Then again, what difference does it really make?

As a teacher, I have respected Eric Wedge’s even handedness with his teams. He has shown his players that he believed in them and trusted their abilities. But I also believe that the relationship between student and teacher eventually comes to an end and we are seeing it with Wedge and the Indians right now. For Eric Wedge to say, “He’s got to get his head straight…” and “He’s going to have to figure it out. I don’t want to keep seeing the same thing day after day.” shows me that he can no longer motivate his team and that the core player’s have stopped taking anything from him. In a word, Eric Wedge is burned out. This is not to say that he is a poor manager and has nothing left to teach. The core player’s have simply heard all of his stories, seen all of his rants and heard all of his jokes over the last 6 years. They have gotten everything they can get from him. It’s time to shake hands, say thanks for a good run and move on.

So, do you think Sowers will be moved back to long relief once Laffey or Westbrook are available? He looks great for four innings, then the fifth rolls around and I always look to see if they’ve got some one getting ready in the bullpen. Or will we combo Sowers & Scott Lewis together? Why can’t we ‘platoon’ in pitching :)

I’ve got zero sympathy for Peralta, who was handed a job and for five years has held on to it via mediocrity and because the powers that be didn’t want to admit that maybe he wasn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread. Suck it up Sally: be happy they still want you around to play third, get over it, and be a teammate. Someone cue “Getcha Head In The Game” from High School Musical!

please get someone else in here,joeybelle is right. life is short, i cant take it anymore-42-im running out of time. why were so loyal is good,but enough is enough.

I feel like Jhonny is falling into the same trap as Garko last year in that he’s pressing. He doesn’t seem very natural at the plate. It’s no excuse, but I also get the impression that Jhonny’s pretty sensitive, and perhaps being the every day third baseman will help him settle down — as opposed to the every other day third baseman, every other day short stop. I think Wedge has realized that, though.
Given what our bullpen has done the last two nights, I have to wonder if they’re considering Aaron Laffey in relief again. I know they’ve said they want him as a starter, but they might not have a choice. The problem, of course, is that we have no idea what we’re going to get from Pavano from here on out (as someone pointed out elsewhere, he hasn’t pitched this many innings in a single season in a while) and Jeremy Sowers seems to be stuck on “five and done” mode.
It will be interesting to see what Huff does tonight. If he’s able to go deep again, I wouldn’t be shocked if Scott Lewis steps into the rotation for Sowers and Aaron Laffey goes back to the ‘pen, assuming Pavano works himself out.
I was encouraged by Joe Smith’s last outing, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think one bad appearance can overshadow what Herges has done so far. Kerry Wood has managed to turn it around. We just need to put something together around those three. You’d think with so many left-handed starters we could make at least one of them into a decent reliever.

I find it hilarious that Wedge continues to rip Jhonny to shreds, but doesn’t do the same thing to Kelly Shoppach, who STILL swings at the dirt trying to kill every ball coming after him. Something I had predicted since spring training and he is hitting .212. But whatever, that’s why they pay Wedge the big bucks….LOL

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