"It's called playing the percentages. It's what smart managers do to win ballgames."

We’ll begin today with a little Ozzie Guillen for your enjoyment. This was Guillen’s response to the speculation that Eric Wedge is on the hot seat:

“Sometimes you got to look at what the players do. To me, the manager manages the clubhouse, make sure those guys go out there every day and play hard. To me? I’m begging to get fired every month. I’m not afraid of this job, but I don’t think it’s an easy job.

“When a hitter doesn’t hit, it’s the hitting coach’s fault. When a pitcher is pitching well, it’s the pitching coach’s fault. How about what happened to the players? When am I going to hear that? I played the game for a long time, so I can say that. They never blame those guys. When am I going to hear that? Players are out there making $20 million. Why are they going to blame the manager? But it’s always going to be like that. How about performing? Perform on the field. That’s all you have to do.”

Sounds easy enough. Now, let’s get to the news and notes.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said there is a strong chance Grady Sizemore has arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow after the season. For now, Sizemore is playing through elbow symptoms and will do so for the remainder of the year.
  • Scott Lewis will visit Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., next week. Usually, that’s a sure sign a guy is headed for elbow surgery, but Soloff said the Indians are not recommending surgery for Lewis. He said they want to tap into Andrews’ expertise for input on how to “get Scott over the hump.” Lewis pulled himself from a rehab start at Akron after four innings on June 21 because his left elbow is still bothering him.
  • Jake Westbrook was shut down for two weeks with complications with his right elbow, and he’ll begin a return-to-throw program Thursday. The Indians are targeting a late July/early August return to the bigs for Westbrook, barring any more setbacks.
  • Luis Vizcaino, designated for assignment on June 23, was released today.
  • As discussed in the blog yesterday, Wedge has just three regular outfielders at his disposal at the moment, and one of them, Ben Francisco, is 8-for-his-last-69. So Wedge’s options for left field are to play Francisco or stick one of his infielders, Ryan Garko or Chris Gimenez, out there. Tonight, with ace Cliff Lee on the mound, Wedge is going with his best defensive alignment by starting Francisco.
  • But Wedge hinted that this outfield situation won’t be in effect for long. “We’re still not set in stone here,” Wedge said. “We’re trying to decide what we want to do.”
  • Obviously, Matt LaPorta’s and Michael Brantley’s names have probably come up in those conversations.
  • In this week’s Sports Illustrated, the magazine releases the results of a survey of 380 Major League players that asked, “Which manager do you least want to play for?” Wedge finished in a tie for fourth in the voting by getting 4 percent of the vote, along with Joe Torre (who, by the way, finished second in an SI poll asking players who they most want to play for). Lou Piniella is first on the “least” list, with 26 percent, Guillen is second, with 21 percent, and Tony LaRussa is third, with 10 percent.
  • I’m not sure you could script a worse team debut than the one turned in by Chris Perez last night, especially when you consider that he arrived in a trade that shipped out a popular player in Mark DeRosa. Wedge said that, given the circumstances, you have to give Perez a mulligan. “He was amped up and overthrowing,” Wedge said.
  • Wedge said he’s trying to get Ryan Garko more consistent at-bats. But because of the Lee-Shoppach marriage, Garko is not in tonight’s lineup.
  • Frankly, I was surprised Wedge used Perez in that situation, considering he told reporters he planned to ease Perez into action in low-leverage situations. Though the Indians were trailing, a two-run game in the ninth does not strike me as low-leverage. Had Perez put up a zero there, maybe it’s a different ballgame.
  • Perez was the 25th pitcher and 43rd player used by the Tribe this year. The 25 pitchers leads the Majors. The club and American League record is 32 pitchers, used in 2000.
  • Regarding that Garko tapper down the line last night and the ensuring fair/foul controversy, the big question is why the umpires, after reversing the initial call that the ball was foul, rule the play dead, rather than rule Garko out on a fair grounder? Basically, they were going with the spirit of the play and trying to get the call right. Had Garko stopped running when the ball rolled foul, it’s likely that the play would have been ruled dead upon reversal.
  • Lee has the fifth-lowest home ERA in the AL, with a 2.21 mark. He is 12-4 with a 2.37 ERA at home over the last two years.
  • Friday’s fireworks display will be a tribute to Michael Jackson. It will be an expanded, 15-minute extravaganza. And Saturday’s postgame will include an Independence Day fireworks display.

~AC

UPDATE: Tonight’s game is now scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m. ET.

UPDATE No. 2: Fausto Carmona in Bowie tonight… 7 IP, 1 R/ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 5 K. He gave up a solo home run. Another strong outing for Fausto.

42 Comments

what happened to giving Victor a day off from time to time? I realize they have Thursday off, but the big man is just that….a big man…..and not swinging that bat too well right now, and Garko is. Or they can just run him into the ground until he gets hurt so they have yet another excuse for why they suck. Sounds more like Wedge’s style. Wedge is not a good manager.

GO TRIBE
FIRE WEDGE

Yep compton187, we are subject to another of Wedge’s faults. Overplaying his hot hand. He hasn’t learned from the past.

If Sizemore is going to have surgery then why not do it now? What is the point of having him play in pain in a lost season. Based on last night’s attendance it certainly isn’t to keep people coming to the games.

AC, have you heard Michael Brantley’s name from this FO or is that just your speculation? It certainly isn’t this FO’s MO to bring up a player who has had a small amount of success for just a short time at his current level.

You know I also want to point out over the Indians message board this past offseason, while everyone was bragging about Kelly Shoppach and how he should play more, I pointed out that opposing pitchers would have the book on Kelly and not throw fastballs inside to him, but instead throw more changeups in the dirt and kelly would go fishing. Gee, it looks like I was right, and this is a big problem here with the Indians overall. They are filled with number cruchers running that team, going by what the computer says rather than getting a feel for what a player can or can’t do. I am all for number crunchers, because ther eis a time and a place for that, but we must also keep baseball people in there too, not just college graduates who went to Yale and never played sandlot baseball. I miss John Farrell, he was a baseball man, who might have had a little influence right now in terms of what to do with Wedge. Maybe he would have seen the same thing I see from Kelly Shoppach?

For crying out loud, when are they going to pull the plug on Francisco? If I remember correctly they pulled the plug on Gutierrez around this time or when Choo came back last year. I for one am sick of seeing Francisco come up with RISP and whiff or hit into a double play. When did he have his last RBI, was it in May when they played Tampa Bay? Bring up Laporta and Brantley and lets see what they can do. As far as Grady, goes why not shut him down if he is hurt? This year is in the toilet anyway.
Now wedge is trying to get Garko at bats? What a joke.
By the way, Give Jordan Brown a chance. This season is over so they may as well see if these guys can play or not.

If Garko comes in to pitch in some blowout loss, will that count as another pitcher used, helping us break the AL record? Or will that have to wait until Wedge and Willis decide, based on that one appearance, that Garko has pretty good stuff and they should start using him out of the pen in the 7th inning?

Ok, I don’t blame Wedge for our ****** play, but I do blame him for being the man of a million crappy solutions, none of which seem to be working.

My solution (Number 1,000,001 for those of you counting): Cut ties with Fancisco, either ship him out to AAA if we can or DFA and release/trade him. Replace him with a certain power hitting AAA player named Matt LaPorta. Start LaPorta in LF, start Garko at 1B, and make VMart a catcher again. Shoppach is a great back up catcher and if he is a Cliff Lee specialist then start him then to rest Martinez. Otherwise he has no business as a regular everyday starter until he can learn to hit the off-speed stuff. Also, come up with 1 or 2 regular line ups and stick to them. Name your starters and make them work through the rough patches instead of trying to find the solution of the day. I don’t know what to say about our pitching staff except that Willis better use now until the All-Star Break to fix it! Use the trade deadline to deal our older players and replace them with our good AAA guys and let them work out the kinks at MLB. If they get roughed up, its not like it will kill the team or their standings position.

Cliff Lee, upset at hearing all the trade rumors, does his best to lower his trade value.
“Try and trade me now,” he yelled as he left the clubhouse, “this is just the beginning of how awful I can be! I’ll make 2007 look like 2008!”
Victor Martinez, watching from first, begins to think about “adjusting” his swing for the remainder of the season.

You know what’s sad? On one hand, you have to hate the fact that Kelly Shoppach is coming up with the bases loaded, because you know how it will turn out. On the other hand, you realize that at least the inning will continue, as he certainly won’t be hitting into a double play, as that would require making contact with the ball and putting it into play.
Kelly Shoppach: At least he’ll only make ONE out.

what I want to know is where are the articles now about what a great player Kelly Shoppach is? Nobody strikes out better than he does, that’s for sure.

Hey AC, in response to the Ozzie Guillen diatribe….you may have noticed that none of the Tribe fans care one iota nor does anyone else in baseball about what the 2nd least desirable manager has to say about the 4th least desirable manager to work for. As for Piniella getting the “worst” prize, well he earned it for years in Tampa Bay with his cancerous attitude. Look what a difference an even-tempered sophisticated, educated strategist like Joe Maddon has done for a former last place team like the Rays. I told the mgmt of the Tribe before Joe re-signed this year, that they should grab him up, but they didn’t see the writing on the wall with Wedge like I did. And, now that fans & even some media are finally MAKING mgmt see Wedgie for how he is, they are STILL playing dumb, deaf & blind. Save the money for a better mgmt team that isn’t on the “undesirable list”. Bring up Brantley-we’ve been saying that for a while & LaPorta. Last year when we had an outfield jam, I really felt that Benny should have be traded over Guttierez, but they were both hot and cold. Benny for sure has needed to go 35 at-bats ago. SHOP SHOPPACH & make Victor play well in the sandbox with Lee and catch every day. Garko at first. Wedge hates Garko. As for Wedge’s quote to you about “nothing in stone,” that’s the problem with him in his own words-he can’t make a decision & live with it and his coaches can’t work out any kinks in anything.

With the Tribe’s season over for all intensive purposes, why not get all the surguries done now with Sizemore and any pitchers in need so that they are ready for next years dissapointment?

My favorite part of reading these posts is the “nah nah nah nah I told you so attitude”. Like YOU’RE the one with the smarts to make a decision about a major league club. Get a hold of yourselves. Guillen made an *excellent* point: “Players are out there making $20 million. Why are they going to blame the manager?”. Exactly. After Lee’s clunker yesterday (hilarious lacf, by the way) this season is pretty much cashed in. It’s probabaly a good idea to get Grady’s surgery out of the way now, especially since he’s not on any of my fantasy teams. Maybe spend some money on college scouts and get some better drafting (as per a fantastic piece on ESPN.com – as much as that would typically be an oxymoron http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&id=4293864). That’s just my $0.02. Maybe I’ll get to say “nah nah nah nah”

Thank you laClevefan…. I was just getting ready to say the same thing…. I guess all of the above people should be hired as assistants to the GM so they can make all the right moves…. of course hindsight is 20/20…

Well, in defense of the “I told you so” mentality, I would say that most of the people who post comments thought we should have traded Shoppach in the off-season, and we all thought that DURING the off-season.
I also think most of us (in fact, most Indians fans in the world) thought Jhonny should be a third from the very start, and that Garko should play every day at first.
I will fully admit that I was anti-Valbuena from the get go, because I thought he was better served playing very day in AAA. But I’m fine with him being our every day second baseman from here on out, mostly because, hey, why the heck not? What have we got to lose?

“But I’m fine with him being our every day second baseman from here on out, mostly because, hey, why the heck not? What have we got to lose?”

Well, if the past is any indication, if he doesn’t turn it around and become an All Star, and Wedge sticks around, he might suffer the fate of Brandon Phillips or Josh Barfield. I.E. You get one shot, your rookie season to show us you are a great major leaguer, or we give up on you and you ride the bench and the bus between AAA and the bigs for years to come.

Given the theme around here lately, I thought you’d dig this shirt, Anthony.

Josh Barfield wasn’t a rookie — it was his second season in the majors.
And if Valbuena has a bad season and is then replaced by someone BETTER, I’d be perfectly happy with that (as Barfield was replaced by some guy named Cabrera).

“He was amped up and overthrowing,” Wedge said.
i think what he meant to say was “chris perez should have been charged with attempted murder. “

Hey, Sizemore’s on my fantasy team. You want me to have to go with Rick Ankiel, for all intensive purposes?

managers, percentages… somehow I don’t always manage to notice real sport behind all this business( right, I respect Ozzie Guillen’s words, I read lots of his interviews found by shared files site , really, you have to earn money, perform on field so that spectators were satisfied with you, but it is sad that all we care about now is money.

You have to put the blame somewhere, and why would you blame someone you are paying $20 million for? If you did that, then you would look like an idiot for paying him that much. That’s why they take the spotlight off of themselves by blaming the managers. So if you’re a baseball fan, be sure to bring you umbrellas, because the poo is always hitting the fan. On a side not, another thing that baffles me is the amount of steroid usage in baseball compared to football. Who do you think needs to be bigger, stronger, and faster? Baseball or football players?

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