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Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Tribe: Victor’s imaginary baserunners, and other stuff giving us ulcers

Posted By on Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 2:25 PM

(In a hushed, blood-curdling tone): "I see dead people."
Victor Martinez is the last person I would expect to make a mental mistake on the Indians, but with the rapidly spreading Beisbolsuckititus infection making the clubhouse a virtual hot zone of baseball ineptitude, I’m not surprised at what happened last night. During the fifth inning, just after Tom Mastny relieved the obviously-distracted-by-the-Beer-Guy C.C. Sabathia, there was one out and men on second and third. Placido Polanco hit a sharp grounder to Jhonny Peralta at short. Marcus Thames came charging home, and Peralta threw to the plate with – gasp! – something resembling accuracy, a heretofore absent member of Peralta’s repertoire. Victor received the throw in plenty of time to tag out Thames, but Victor, thinking the bases were loaded and that it was a force play, tapped his foot on home and threw to third base where Brandon Inge was trying to advance. Of course, it was not a force play, and after briefly arguing with the umpire, Victor realized what had happened and hung his head like a kid who just pissed himself, which, come to think of it, Victor likely would have preferred, since it wouldn’t have cost his team a run. ... “It was a mental lapse,” Coach Eric Wedge said after the game. “There are no excuses.” You could tell that Wedge was pissed. And as poorly as Sabathia pitched -- we’ll get to in a secon -- it was the offense that irked Wedged most. “I didn’t think we made good outs,” the coach said. “I didn’t think we had good at bats. It really bothers me to give away at bats. It just wasn’t a good day.” Carsten, Oh Carsten C.C. has been abominably bad this year. Last night’s line: 4 innings, 93 pitches, 8 hits, 9 runs, 5 walks, 2 HR, 1 strikeout. His ERA is an utterly depressing 13.50. He seemed genuinely perplexed after the game, his fourth straight miserable start of the season. “The cutter wasn’t there, and I didn’t throw many changeups,” said C.C. “I can’t command both sides of the plate. I had guys down 0-2, 1-2 in the count, and I haven’t been able to get outs there.” Of course, things will get better. Said one scout I talked to at the game last night: “There’s nothing wrong with him. I saw him at the end of spring training and he looked as good as I’ve ever seen him. He’s just struggling with his command and not hitting his spots. Maybe his slider’s not as sharp, but that’s about it.” While I want to panic, I’ll trust the expert for now, because as Paul Byrd showed two days ago, once the command comes back, things start to get better. When I asked the scout how Byrd’s “stuff” looked against the Red Sox, he first laughed and said, “I’m not really sure Byrd has ‘stuff,’” but then mentioned that Paulie moved the ball around the plate well and hit his spots on his way to giving up only one run. If he can do it, CC can. Blowing up the Mendoza Line Jason Michaels, one half of the most ill-advised and inept platoon in the history of baseball, is batting .091 right now, with an OBP of .139. Never mind trying to compare him to other left fielders, let alone position players in general. He has a lower average than NL pitchers, who are collectively batting .120 with an OBP of .147. Maybe he at least hits for power better than the pitchers? Nope. Jason Michaels: .121 SLG Pitchers: .155 SLG I’m pretty sure Michaels is a known carrier of Beisbolsuckititus. Stuff - Ryan Garko got another hit (.314/.435/.451 for the season), extending his streak of reaching base in every game this season. He is the opposite of Jason Michaels. - There are exactly zero guys in the bullpen I feel comfortable handing the ball over to with a lead. - Jhonny Peralta couldn’t have less range at shortstop if he wore a solid lead chastity belt to prevent him from passing on detrimental defensive genes to offspring. - As I mentioned before, Jim Leyland tore into his team after Sunday’s 11-0 loss to the White Sox. They have now won three games in a row, tallying 30 runs in the process, and look poised to go on an incredible hot streak. Eric Wedge should go all Jim Leyland on the club, but he won’t. It’s not this thing. -- Vince the Polack

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