Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Solving Santana, Tribe wins fourth of the year against Twins' ace

Five times Johan Santana has gone up against the Tribe this year.

Five times Santana - perhaps the best lefty in the game, though Cleveland fans will disagree - has come away empty.

Four of those five times, including tonight at the Jake, Santana has had to wear the "L". The Twins did win one of Santana's starts, on July 28, but Johan was not the winning pitcher.

I haven't checked it out, but since he has only six other losses all year, it's safe to assume no other team has beaten Santana the way the Tribe has in 2007.

The reasons for the Tribe's success against Santana this season are twofold; The lefty has run into both CC and Fausto twice, and the Tribe hitters are better against the Twins' ace than their counterparts around the league.

In five starts this year against Cleveland, Santana is 0-4 with a 4.09 ERA. Against the rest of the league he is at 3.06 - a full run lower. Given the Tribe has beaten him 5-3, 2-0, 5-2, and 4-3 that one run difference has made all the difference.

Neither Santana nor CC were at their best tonight, and it seemed like the Tribe might knock Santana out early, having scored four runs on six hits in the first inning.

But both vets sucked up their control problems and gutted out six innings each.

Some other observations:

While the Tribe swept the Twins, I'm happy to see them move on. They seem to consist of Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau and about a dozen annoying, unnamed gnats. But those gnats get on base, run the bases, play terrific defense and generally are a huge pain in the ass. They play the game the way it used to be played, which is fun to watch unless they are doing it against you. We'll see what style they play when they finally move out of that ping-pong palace they play in now.

It was terrific to see Asdrubal Cabrera get up there against Santana and hit him (homer, single and sharp ground out back of third) like he were Joe Schmoe. Cabrera clearly wasn't intimidated. Ditto Franklin Gutierrez (two doubles in three tries against Santana).

It was also great to see Jensen Lewis have a trouble-free seventh when he was sorely needed. In fact, Lewis has very quietly had a nice month of August. He has not allowed a run in seven of his last eight outings, dating back to August 4.

And let's not forget Joe Borowski, who finished his job in three batters tonight - though he was helped by a 3-6 double play started by Ryan Garko.

One final thought. Chris Gomez, starting at second and moving Cabrera to short to keep Jhonny Peralta out of the line of Santana's fire, had two more hits tonight. I've said it before. I'll say it again. Maybe it's time for Gomez to give Casey Blake (0 for 3 with four runners left on base) a nice week off.


moose said...

you speak the truth - can't challenge much of what you say. I was at the game well payed good defense and lucky the tribe got to santana early cause he sure was good innings 2 to 6.

disappointing crowd thought might have a good walkup

not many home games left

heres a question -

lofton's inability to move gutierrez after a leadoff double. lofton struck out and gomez grounded out but it wolud have scored the run. lofton did not move the runner. Why did lofton start instead of micheals. It sure looks like gutierrez and lofton are getting more PT and I am OK with that. Gomez and Cabrera are big pluses over Roush.

yes good to see somebody pitch a decent inning.

how about the defense by garko and victor.

looks like the yankees still got life

getting ready for the remote tonight - browns and indians - indians and browns

Ron Vallo said...

I don't have to make a choice. The Browns, quite logically, are not on here in NYC so I'll have to wait for the replay on NFL Network tomorrow or over the weekend.

The good news is I won't have to listen to Jim Donovan who whoever that guy is screaming like a 12 year-old announcing his Strat-O-Matic football game in the basement.

What ever happened to the guys like Ken Coleman, Jack Buck and Ernie Harwell who could build drama without screaming at you?

I'm no Michaels fan. Lofton screwed up good, but overall I'd rather see him out there than Michaels.