"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.
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.