Who are you and what have you done with Cliff Lee?
After salvaging one game from their almost disastrous trip to Oakland, Eric Wedge threw out this post-game gem when asked about sitting Franklin Gutierrez (currently in a 0-15 slump): “I just thought Franklin could benefit from sitting and watching some baseball.”
Personally, the way he’s hitting, I would have told F. Gut. to go out and watch some curling, or maybe ballet. I really think he’s got the thighs for ballet.
Philosophically, the idea is sound. Decent player mired in a slump sits and watches good players perform up to their abilities and gets motivated to do the same – we’ll call this the WWFMD maxim (What Would Fred McGriff Do). There’s a little problem in this situation, though: while sitting on the bench watching his teammates, Gutierrez watched some very poor baseball. ...
The Indians went 20-98 at the plate with nine walks, 24 strikeouts, and only six runs all weekend, against the pitching repertoires of a guy named Dana, something called Duchscherer, and Joe Blanton, who’s actually pretty good, but we made him look like the second coming of 1990 Doug Drabek.
Now I’m thrilled the Indians won Sunday afternoon, but the series was a poignant reminder of how far and how quickly this offense can fall. The Tribe wouldn’t have won if not for an error by Daric Barton in the 7th inning on a sure double-play ball that would’ve left the Tribe trying to scratch their heads but missing completely.
The Ben Francisco Watch Has Officially Begun
JasonDavidMichaelsDellucci is 1 for 20 on the season with 7 strikeouts, 5 walks, and 0 RBI. I’m convinced a wombat could be pitching, and JDMD would look miserable at the plate.
Just for fun, so far in Triple-A, Ben Francisco is batting .267 in four games at Buffalo. Is he the solution? Maybe. Probably not. Let’s see. Anything’s better than what we have. Does he deserve a chance? Like Jason Michaels needs a haircut.
Where The Hell Did That Come From
Here’s a hypothetical question for ya: You’re going into a series with Oakland. You have C.C. going one game, Paul Byrd going another, and Cliff Lee rounding it out. Which pitcher has the best game?
Today, of course, we know that C.C. lacked any semblance of control, Paul Byrd pitched did the same, and Cliff Lee dazzled as if his cryogenically frozen body from 2005 was brought back to life. Whaddya know?
If Cliff pitches like this the rest of the year -- and that’s an 'if' as big as Pronk’s noggin -- things will be beautiful. Sunday’s game was a gem – 6.2 innings, 4 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts. He looked stronger as the game went on, which is one of those things that doesn’t make any sense but is really obvious when you see it. He didn’t look like he was nitpicking the corners the way he did last year. I didn’t get the urge to stab him at all.
As for Paulie, he’s old and on the tail end of his career. He’s going to have days like this. My problem is that he didn’t have any control from the first pitch on, and despite that fact, coupled with the well-known truism that he rarely goes beyond five or six innings and he falls apart in the blink of an eye, Wedge didn’t make the call to the bullpen nor did he have Jorge Julio ready in time when Byrd really got in a jam in the fifth. 1-0 to 5-0 in the time it took to reload my couch-side cooler.
Good News, Bad News Dept.
Grady Sizemore doesn’t lead the team in strikeouts (5). Yeah!
Travis Hafner does (9) – with only 3 walks. Doh!
The Tigers are 0-6.
Ryan Garkonoponopolous looks great so far ( .333/ .440/ .571). Victor Martinez should be back in the starting lineup either tonight or sometime during the Angels series. Fausto is on the bump tonight -- always good. The triumvirate of Raffy B., Raffy P., and JoeBo looked to be in midseason form Sunday, shepherding a 2-1 lead to the W. And they didn’t even give me an ulcer in the process. – Vince the Polack