5/12: Indians at Royals

Tonight’s 8:10 p.m. ET game is threatened by the rain in the forecast in this area. The tarp is currently on the field (as of 5:30 ET), so BP is being conducted indoors.

As is the case each Wednesday, you can catch me on the SportsTime Ohio pregame show tonight.

cle4.gifINDIANS (12-18):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, DH Hafner, LF Kearns, 1B Branyan, 3B Peralta, 2B Grudzielanek, C Redmond. RHP Fausto Carmona (3-1, 3.86).




kc3.gifROYALS (11-22):
LF Podsednik, 2B Aviles, RF DeJesus, 1B Butler, DH Guillen, 3B Callaspo, C Kendall, CF Maier, SS Betancourt. RHP Kyle Davies (2-1, 5.45).


So, was Carmona really throwing consistently 95-96mph in this game, or is the radar gun off by 3 mph? … Sizemore actually looked good in his 2 at bats so far tonight … why has sending Laporta down not been discussed by Indians management? Are they really going to bench Kearns, their best hitter by far this year? This Laporta things has become the first truly grating personnel move, or non-move, of the season. What, do they not want to take at bats away from Duncan down in AAA or something? Do they want to bring Laporta in as a pinch hitter to hit for Branyan when there’s a right handed pitcher on the mound? I see no logical reason to keep him in Cleveland right now.

They’re waiting to put Wood in a 1-run game where he hasn’t pitched in 5 days so he can blow it in spectacular fashion.

Man, nothing like playing the Royals to make the Tribe look great. Someone else mentioned that Branyan hits homers in clumps — creature of habit, it would appear! Tonight’s a great example of why having Laffey in the ‘pen is nice. And anyone know why Sipp pitched the ninth and not Wood?
Branyan’s continued hitting just serves to underscore what ST said about LaPorta. They really, really just need to send him down already. Hey, if Branyan keeps this up, we’ve got a halfway decent line-up…including Branyan, Kearns, and Grudz, which is just MIND BLOWING.

Dead on, ST (even if this stupid blog posted your comment before mine).
And kudos for the regulars here from managing to avoid talking about the Cavs debacle…wait, I guess I just ruined that.

Acta should have looked at the schedule for tomorrow, seen that Greinke was throwing against Huff, realized that winning tomorrow’s game was a longshot and put Kerry Wood in to pitch the 9th. We have absolutely no shot against Greinke.

is it wrong that I’d prefer to see Peralta tweak a hammy so he’s on the DL for a month? That way we could see Marte every day for an extended period.

I cannot fathom Kearns sustaining these numbers. For the record I am all for the future and I do not see Kearns, Grudzlielanek or Branyan to be any part of it. Plain and simple. It’s only a matter of time before Kearns is on the DL himself so despite his quality start to the season I would prefer to see LaPorta figure out his issues at the ML level. There is nothing more for him to learn at the minor league level. One is our future, the other is not.

We aren’t going to compete this year so there isn’t a need to pretend for the fanbase because no one is going to the games anyhow.

It’s not about “learning” in AAA, it’s about getting his swing and confidence restored. It’s not terribly unusual to send a hitter to AAA to do this. The Indians did it with Cabrera when he was hitting sub. .200 in ’08, he showed no signs of coming out of it, they sent him to the minors for a few weeks and he came back and hit over .300 ever since. What’s the problem with this? Nothing. There is no problem with it. It should have been done two weeks ago. And like it or not, they have Branyan and Kearns, and there is the possibility they can realize some value from those guys in mid-season trades, but they would have to keep playing, and keep hitting. Laporta, even if he showed signs of coming out of his slump, which he hasn’t, doesn’t have a place to play. It’s a win/win situation if they send him down. It’s no less likely that Laporta gets his swing back in AAA then the majors. If the guy starts hitting fly balls in AAA, and home runs, then he’s back on track, and it will likely carry over to the majors when they call him back up. If he keeps grounding out at a 50% rate, with a 32% fly ball rate, then he is not … as far as I’ve seen, Laporta hasn’t come within 50 feet of the warning track all year. To me it looks like he needs some major work with his swing, and that’s always best to do where there’s less pressure. It’s not like in Grady’s case, where he’s just swinging at bad pitches. He’s swinging at good pitches to hit, and hitting them into the ground.

That’s the thing, AM: Not only would sending LaPorta down let him get his confidence back and get him regular ABs, it would create more time for Marte. You figure he’d start at first once every three games. You work him in once every third game at third, and suddenly he’s getting pretty regular time. So moving LaPorta down would be a win/win scenario.
Regarding Grady, AC has a column about Grady’s old swing being really harsh on his body and how he it appears he’s trying to change the way he hits to avoid killing himself. I don’t know. His eye seems to be getting better, at least.
The longer Sipp and Laffey pitch like this, the less reason there is to hold on to Perez.

so LaPorta needs confidence building in Columbus but a week or two ago when I suggested that Hafner needed it to get his head right you roasted me on that idea ST. Why is one good for the goose but not the gander?

The league adjusted to Cabrera after 2007 and he failed early in 2008 because he thought he was entitled to something and above working hard. He came into camp overweight and apparently was in love with the ML meal stipend that the Indians provided. He was demoted to cure his arrogance because he was still the best hitter in baseball while hitting .183 or something like that.

Branyan was signed to hinder Brantley, Kearns was signed basically as a trust-building exercise between the GM and coach (much like Steve Smith or Tim Tolman over Torey Lovullo) where the outsider would rather dance with the devil they know.

LaPorta is struggling without a doubt but I don’t particularly care if Austin Kearns is Lou Gehrig and LaPorta is Wally Pip, the kid needs to play. For some reason I get the impression the two of you are trying to manage this team with the intention of competing this year. If that were the case then yes, play Kearns. But it’s not. IF I were to demote LaPorta I’d call up Crowe simply b/c he can play CF and give us a legitimate fielder while Grady sits his keister on the pine.

Don’t remember saying that about Hafner, I remember arguing that they should just release Hafner if he keeps on struggling like he had been. Besides, send Hafner to the minors? He’s been bad for 3+ years, other than being halfway decent last year, and he’s had plenty of trips to the minors. I think we all know his issues are deeper than “needing to get his head right” … there is competing, AM, like competing for the division, and there is competing, the ability to stay in games, have a decent record and not be a total embarrassment and alienate your last few fans. If you choose not to play the guy who’s been your best hitter, then that’s just disrespectful, to your fans, to Kearns, and also to every other player on the team, because you’re saying: We don’t care at all about winning … Laporta did look like he was swinging the bat better today, so who knows, maybe he’ll come around, but then he needs to play every day, which means Kearns will be sitting on the bench every day, in which case they should just release or trade him now. It’s important for Laporta to play for an extended time this year, every day, but delaying him for a month down in AAA is not going to like set back his development a decade, as you seem to think

Actually, AM, I think ST and I are trying to manage this team the way it’s already being managed. They’re NOT playing LaPorta because he isn’t hitting. So if they’re not going to get him in the line-up on a regular basis, you’d prefer they leave him on the bench to die on the vine? I think ST and I are just saying that if he’s not going to be in there every day (which seems to be the case), then they should just send him down so he get regular ABs.
I’ve got no problems with you wanting him to play, but that doesn’t seem to be what they’re doing, so it’s time to look at a different solution.

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