“His whole life revolves around Superman and cereal”
Not that you asked, but…
10. Raisin Bran Crunch
9. Honey Nut Cheerio’s
8. Frosted Flakes
7. Cocoa Krispies
6. Peanut Butter Crunch
4. Cinnamon Life
3. Life and Cinnamon Life combined in the same bowl
2. Special K Fruit and Yogurt
1. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
*I reserve the right to completely change this list on any particular morning.
Glad I got that off my chest.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- A few weeks back, it was notable that the Indians could play .500 ball the rest of the way and still win 87 games, possibly enough to tackle this tame division. Well, on that front, we might as well note that the Indians are 13-13 over their last 26. I didn’t know they would take this notion quite so literally.
- The problem, of course, is that six of those 13 losses have come in the last nine games, and this has led to a reasonable amount of worry among the fragile members of the fan base. The truth is that every team in baseball goes through these kinds of stretches (particularly when you’re running up against the type of tough pitching the Tribe saw from the likes of the Red Sox and Rays last week), but when you emerge from nowhere, as this Indians team did, people wonder when cold, cruel reality will set in.
- The biggest issue, as I see it, is right here: In the last 14 days, Indians starters are 5-6 with a 6.17 ERA. The area of this club that was the greatest concern going into the season quickly emerged as the greatest pleasant surprise. The Indians can’t afford it to trend back in the other direction. The defense has also gotten sloppy, and, again, it’s a fact that no team goes through 162 games without its share of defensive faux pas. But whereas the Indians started hot because of stellar starting backed by deft defense, the last couple weeks have been another story. It can’t become the new norm.
- There is lots of Cord Phelps talk out there in the blogosphere lately, and for good reason. Orlando Cabrera’s lost 41 points on his batting average in the last four weeks, batting .205 with a … gulp … .483 OPS in his last 87 plate appearances. Yowzas. Phelps, on the other hand, is batting .309 with a .913 OPS at Columbus this year. The Indians are pleased with his approach at the plate from both sides, and they feel he’s handled the adjustment to shortstop about as well as could be expected.
- The Draft has been the front office’s primary focus this week, and, after it is completed next week, all teams will begin to take the trade market more seriously. In the meantime, the Indians are weighing their internal options for improvement, and Phelps is a guy most certainly being discussed. But the old balance exists between shaking things up for the sake of something new and respecting the veterans who have helped get the Tribe to this point. By that, of course, I mean that Cabrera’s contributions can’t and won’t be discounted. But just as important, the Indians have also gauged the impact Adam Everett has made in the clubhouse and in the utility role. To add Phelps is to limit or even erase the role of at least one or maybe both of those guys, depending on how the playing time would be divvied. The Indians do not, at this juncture, sound at all willing to go down that road… at least, not yet. They still don’t view the particularly shaky play that’s transpired the last week and a half as a prolonged period.
- Stay tuned, though, as the next two weeks will see the Indians play 10 games against the AL West-leading Rangers, the AL East-leading Yankees and the second-place Tigers.
- The guy who might be even closer than Phelps to coming north (and isn’t it nice that since the Indians moved their Triple-A affiliate from Buffalo to Columbus, we can actually use that expression literally?) might be Nick Hagadone. He’s got filthy stuff and dominated the Double-A level before a promotion to Columbus a couple weeks back. He’s got a 3.86 ERA with nine strikeouts and two walks in seven innings for the Clippers. Rafael Perez’s recent command woes have been a cause for concern in the back end of the bullpen. If they continue, perhaps Hagadone will get a look.
- Travis Hafner might begin a rehab assignment in two weeks. He might be ready just in time for the Indians to play nine straight games in National League cities at the end of the month. Interleague scheduling at its best, yet again.
- So, is it reasonable to expect the Indians to upgrade their roster before the Trade Deadline? It’s early speculation at this point, but I just don’t see a move of any major significance happening here. The Indians don’t have the financial means to take on a major salary, and they’d be reluctant to part with any prospects viewed as pivotal to their long-term sustenance. The one area where the Indians could most benefit from an outside import, rather than an in-house option down on the farm, is in the rotation, and we all know what a competitive (and, therefore, costly) market that can be in July. I could be wrong, but I really think, in the grand scheme, what you see is what you get with this Tribe roster.
- It will be interesting to see how the rest of the division shakes out in that regard. It’s well-documented that the White Sox overextended themselves over the offseason to finance this magnificent club they’ve assembled, so I’m not sure how active they would be, if at all. In the past, we’ve seen them go for broke (a la Manny last year) and we’ve also seen them pack it in perhaps prematurely. The Tigers are the biggest threat to the Tribe. Their farm system is pretty barren, but they might have the financial means to take on some salary. And with or without a trade upgrade, they’re a streaky team capable of going on a nice run at precisely the point the Indians go on a losing skid.
- This isn’t quite up to the standard of the “This is the baseball” quote from Carlos Santana that became the tag line to this blog, but it’s still pretty good. Shin-Soo Choo, expressing some frustration over how difficult this game can be, said: “Man, what a baseball.”
- Hey, did you know Braid Paisley’s H2O tour is hitting Progressive Field next week? Not sure if that’s been advertised anywhere.
- Lots of buzz over the Cavs winning the NBA draft lottery. Slightly less buzz over the Indians having the eighth pick in next week’s Draft.
- Finally, I put this photo to the right on Twitter earlier, but worth posting here for posterity. My favorite Cleveland scalper, still loyal to Hector Luna after all this time.