Before the Tribe heads to California for some glorious West Coast baseball – seriously, is there anything better than going about your day, then flipping on the TV to watch baseball as you go to sleep? – let’s recap the season's opening series, a 2-1 win over the sort of awful White Sox:
I’ll Be Your Stumbleine, I’ll Be Your Super Queen
There’s no ostensible reason whey I should think about the Smashing Pumpkins while watching Ryan Garkonoponopolous play first base, but it still happens anyway. ...
There’s a song by the Pumpkins called “Stumbleine,” which has nothing to do with baseball, and even less to do with physically stumbling around. But for the last three games, every time I see Jhonny Peralta send an errant throw in Ryan Garko’s direction at first base, and every time I see the surprisingly sprite Garko do the splits or lunge to catch the ball, I think about that song.
Peralta’s certainly going to regain his “accuracy” and stop testing Garko’s groin so much – that’s not the point. Watch the pudgy man run to first, or try to field a dinky ground in between first and second, I just can't help but start singing this song aloud, which I suspect might be pissing off Paul Hoynes. But screw it. If “Garkonoponopolous” wasn’t such a sexy nickname, I’d call him “Stumbleine” full-time.
I Have Three Aces and…
Some notes on the Tribe’s starters: Thank God C.C. won’t be pitching to Jim Thome every time out. Fausto looked great on a miserably cold night: 16 ground ball outs, 4 strikeouts, 1 run. Westbrook made two mistakes on Thursday, which unfortunately translated to two runs off the bats of Juan Uribe and Joe Crede. I still think he’s going to win 15 games this season and be one of the better pitchers in the AL.
Batting second ...
AsCab, destined for two-hole greatness.
Eric Wedge has said that for the time being he will bat Jason Michaels in the No. 2 slot when he starts in left field, and he will bat Asdrubal Cabrera in the No. 2 slot when Delluci starts in left field (when there’s a righty).
Monday: J. Michaels – 0-4, 1 run, 1 BB
Wednesday : A. Cabrera – 3-5, 2 RBI (and he’s looked great all series)
Thursday: J. Michaels – 0-3
Delluci for the year: 0-2. 2 BB, 0.500 OBP
I’m not saying that putting AsCab (love that nickname only because it sounds like some fifth-rate, no-budget reality porn outfit) into the two hole yesterday would have made a ton of difference. John Danks baffled the Tribe’s hitters today, only giving up two hits. But after last season’s run with Cabrera in the two hole (going 24-6, by the way), I’m still confused at a) Eric Wedge’s penchant for tinkering with shit, and b) his continued support of the greasy blonde-haired half of the platoon. Jason Michaels could end up being just fine this year, and that would be great. But his place in the lineup is at the bottom. Fortunately, I think this will only last a couple more weeks before a permanent change is made is Cab’s favor.
It’s been pointed out already by many, but it’s worth noting here: Franklin Gutierrez is showing some great patience at the plate, and it looks like he learned how to hold back on off-speed pitches during the offseason. After his perfect opening day, Gut’s been able to draw some walks, work deep in the count, and stay away from the hard breaking stuff. If there was any short-term question as to whether he’ll progress quickly enough to be the everyday starter in right field, he’s starting to show there’s little to worry about.
That would be Casey Blake. In the second inning of Wednesday’s game, Sox starting pitcher Javier Vazquez had no control. He beaned Franklin Gutierrez, walked David Delluci. Then Blake swung on the first pitch and meekly flied out. The next batter, Shoppach, also drew a walk. For someone that saw around four pitches per plate appearance last year, his lack of patience in this case was baffling.
The bullpen also merits examination, but it’s difficult with such a small sample size (God willing this will not be what Kobayashi and Julio look like all the time). With a long road trip and the Tribe’s No. 4 and 5 starters on the bump this weekend, we should see plenty of the bullpen and be better able to gauge just how decent they are. – Vince the Polack