"The bus is out of control!"

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://castrovince.mlblogs.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

It’s the first day of fall, but the Indians have been in a freefall for weeks.

An 0-7 road trip and a 3-16 record in September have left the Tribe a season-high 18 games out of first place and a season-high 27 games under .500. This team is on track to post its worst season since 1991 (57-105) and, incredibly, could lose 100 games for the first time since ’91, as well. That is, if it doesn’t achieve the monumental task of winning two out of its last 13.

The last-place Indians trail the fourth-place Royals by a half-game in the AL Central standings. That would be the same Royals team that was seven games behind the Tribe exactly two weeks ago.

So if you’re reading this, you’re a first-degree die-hard fan who is probably dying a little bit inside with each passing inning.

This note, then, is just to say I certainly appreciate the readership, however masochistic it might be for some of you.

Now, let’s hit the home stretch, shall we?

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • We’ve known Eric Wedge is on shaky ground for months, and, while nothing is confirmed from ownership or the front office, I’d have to imagine what’s transpired this month will serve as the straw that broke the camel’s back. Anyway, here’s the latest on Wedge.
  • Earlier today, Joe Smith threw off the mound for the first time since Aug. 29. The Indians are still hopeful he’ll pitch again before the end of the season. He’ll throw another bullpen session Thursday.
  • Jake Westbrook is also scheduled to throw Thursday. He’s been shut down the past six weeks after a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. He’ll begin a long-toss program that will last three weeks, then head to Goodyear, Ariz., to begin three weeks of mound work. Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said Westbrook might pitch in winter ball this offseason.
  • Jason Knapp, meanwhile, is not expected to pitch in winter ball. Soloff said Knapp will likely spend the offseason recuperating from the arthroscopic surgery he had on his shoulder last week, with an eye on throwing again in Spring Training.
  • Double-A Akron manager Mike Sarbaugh, fresh off the Aeros’ run to the Eastern League championship and his own recognition as the league’s Manager of the Year, has joined the Tribe’s coaching staff for the stretch run. Torey Lovullo has left the Tribe for his upcoming wedding in California.
  • Wedge said it’s important to make sure Michael Brantley and Trevor Crowe see time in both center field and left.
  • Have I mentioned there are 13 games left? What would Wedge like to see from this rookie-laden bunch down the stretch? “I want us to play clean baseball,” he said. “We’ve made some young mistakes, and we need to limit that.”
  • This is a big series for the Tigers, whose lead in the Central standings has dwindled down to three games after losing two of three to the Twins over the weekend.
  • Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp told the Detroit Free Press that there was word of Edwin Jackson tipping his pitches and that the problem has been addressed. Don’t tell that to the Indians, against whom Jackson has gone 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA this season.
  • The Tribe’s 11-game road losing streak is the club’s longest since 1991.
  • The Indians’ organization has been recognized by the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County with the Casey Coleman Recovery Month Award. The Tribe was honored for its commitment to the community through its outreach programs, most notably the new “Fill the House for Charity” initiative that began this season. The Indians also participated today in a nationwide initiative known as “Batter Up! A Home Run for Recovery Month,” which is being held at ballparks all around the country. About 200 people will be at tonight’s game to show their support for recovery. This is the 20th straight year in which September has been designated as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.
  • Don’t forget about the Rock ‘N Re-Blast fireworks extravaganza following Friday’s game. 
  • Wedge, Crowe and Chris Gimenez visited Avon Heritage South Elementary this morning to reward the students there for their academic excellence. The Avon school had one of the top three highest point totals and most students enrolled in the KeyBank High Achievers Kids Club. 

~AC

5 Comments

Is it April 5, 2010 yet? Even if it will be a minuscule amount, I need some hope back in my baseball life.

This is a big outing for Laffey, I think, and so far so good. As much as the “Laffey to bullpen” decision has been maligned, I thought it was a smart one, given what we had at the time. Given the number of inherited runners our bullpen was allowing in, having a guy who could get double plays was incredibly useful.
I mention that only because, while I don’t doubt Laffey will earn a spot in the rotation next year, I wonder if he’ll end up there in 2011. As it stands, I don’t believe he’s pitched an entire major league season yet. In fact, between Laffey, Masterson, and Sowers, our rotation could feature three guys all auditioning for jobs in 2011. And, yes, at this point I think I’d rather see Sowers in the rotation, simply because Huff has options left. Let him solidify in AAA next to Carrasco, Pino, and Rondon (and possibly Scott Lewis), and see where those four are come 2011.
I’m seeing that LaPorta left the game after pulling something. Any word on what that was?

heard on the radio broadcast it was an “inflamed left hip.”
how bout fryman for manager next year? he should used to managing this age group.

LACF, I surely hope you’ve stop paying to watch these games unless you consider the cable fee to prep work for 2010.

Oh what I wouldn’t give to see this quote from Eric Wedge following a question about his retrospective look on his constant lineup shuffling over the years: “They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time it works, every time.” If only we had a .600 winning percentage. Classic movie on television right now.

I’m in Oklahoma, so I can’t very well go to many games. However, I still listen to most every game that doesn’t conflict with class on my iPhone or on my laptop……And, hey, it does look bleak. But, I think we’re in line for a top 5 draft pick. That is, if nothing out of the ordinary happens. Like we start winning.

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