"Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm a viking!"
My flight to Minneapolis was packed with Vikings fans who were headed home happy after a victory over the Browns (shocker) on Sunday.
I was not as happy, because it appears Brett Favre has not yet met his new teammate, Bernard Berrian (who also, sadly, is the No. 2 wideout on the Marinara Mudslingers, which says a lot about my drafting skills and the woes of competing in a watered-down, 14-team league). The doughnut the pair produced on Sunday has left the ‘Slingers in what appears to be an inescapable hole heading into the Monday night games.
My goal on this trip, then, is to make it to the Vikings’ complex to make sure Favre and Berrian are properly introduced. It couldn’t hurt their chemistry.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- I know Jason Knapp is expected to be fully recovered from his shoulder arthroscopy by Spring Training, but seriously… how bad does that Cliff Lee trade look right now? It was already dubbed by some in July to be the most unpopular trade made by the Tribe since the Rocky Colavito deal, and now, among the four acquisitions, you’ve got two guys hurt and one guy posting a 9.64 ERA in the big leagues. The Indians can only hope this haul has a happy ending after a less-than-auspicious start.
- Eric Wedge isn’t going down without a fight. He called the team together before tonight’s game for a meeting, which can only be described as rare for an out-of-contention club in September. Wedge’s message was simple: He doesn’t like what he’s seen the past couple weeks (the Indians, in case you lost track, have lost 10 of 13 and 11 of 15), and, with 20 games remaining on the ’09 slate, he wants to see them finish strong. “Every day, you’re getting better or you’re getting worse,” Wedge told reporters after the meeting. “There’s no in-between.”
- This is the Tribe’s final visit to the Metrodome. Wedge, for one, won’t miss it. When a Minneapolis-based reporter asked him if there are any Metrodome “quirks” he wishes could be taken to the new place, Wedge had nothing to offer. “This place gets loud,” Wedge said. “Twenty thousand [fans] here sounds like 40,000 anywhere else. They’ve had a lot of success here and a lot of success late in games here. You can’t deny that.”
- The Indians still hope to get Joe Smith back by the end of the year. Lonnie Soloff said the plan is for Smith to begin throwing off a mound by the end of the week.
- I found this interesting. Branching off the Knapp conversation, Soloff said the Indians subject all of their pitchers taken in the first five rounds of the Draft to an MRI. That way, the club has a picture of what the pitcher’s arm looks like when he is pain-free. Should the pitcher become injured at any point down the road, the Indians have that MRI to serve as a comparison to the pitcher’s current state.
- Why didn’t Lou Marson catch Carlos Carrasco yesterday? Wedge has made it clear he wants all the young arms to get acclimated to all the young catchers, and he doesn’t feel it benefits the ballclub to get locked into any concrete pairings a la Kelly Shoppach-Cliff Lee. Occasionally, a veteran pitcher will get locked in with a catcher, but Wedge doesn’t want that to be the norm.
- Kerry Wood has now finished 45 games. He’d have to finish one out of every two games down the stretch for his $11 million vesting option for 2011 to kick in. Wedge said Wood’s role will not change down the stretch. He won’t make it a point to get other, young arms a chance to finish off close games if Wood is available in his usual role.
- Double-A Akron opens the Eastern League finals in Connecticut at 6:45 p.m. ET Tuesday. It’s a best-of-five series. Josh Tomlin will start Game 1.
- Short-season Mahoning Valley begins the New York-Penn League finals tonight at Staten Island with right-hander Brett Brach on the hill.
- Justin Masterson (11th, 3.23 ERA), Aaron Laffey (17th, 3.49) and Jeremy Sowers (20th, 3.62) all rank among the top 20 in the AL in second-half ERAs.