Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thinking out loud about the Tribe

You know, I'm not sure where this is going so I'm just going to start writing and see where it takes me.

First of all, let me start with this - the Tribe is 15-9 in the last 24 games, so they're doing something right.

While I'm still in a positive mood, I don't think we can give Masa Kobayashi the thumbs-down just yet. Not after one blown save, no matter how spectacularly it was blown.

Having said that, the Tribe has lost two straight and the fan in me has some venting to do as result.

It's been nearly a week since Jhonny Peralta was inserted into the No. 2 hole in the batting order. That's nearly a week too long. He's 6-24 batting second, with 1 walk and 7 k's. The guy's on-base percentage so far this year is under .300 for God sakes.

Just what about Peralta's skill set at the plate says No. 2 hitter to Eric Wedge?

If there's anyone on this club who is the antithesis of the No. 2 guy - the slap-at-the-ball, move-the-runner-over type of hitter - it's Peralta.

When all is said and done at year-end he gets his 20 dingers and hits a little over .250 but he piles up his numbers in short bursts of offense in between long stretches of offensive ineptitude.

I didn't see today's game, but from what I'm reading about it, and from what I've seen over the past several seasons, Peralta's clearly not in there for his defense. Or his hustle.

If the Indians are going to rely even more heavily on pitching to win this year, it's time to consider making a change at SS.

Asdrubal Cabrera/Jamey Carroll is clearly a better option than Peralta/Cabrera. And in addition to what Carroll brings to the table defensively, he clearly is a better option in the No. 2 hole than Peralta.

And then there's David Dellucci.

He deserves some props for being one of the few bats to make any noise early on in the last homestand. But he is 1 for his last 14. Someone should let the manager know that Dellucci has cooled off. Get him the hell out of the number three hole.

Ben Francisco - hitting. Ryan Garko - hitting.

As long as we're going to throw a different batting order out there every night (and believe me I understand Wedge is simply trying to find something that works), the manager ought to move the guys up who are hitting and move down the ones who aren't, no? Call me crazy.

Which brings us to the biggest question of the night. Does the Tribe have closer on the staff?

Borowski's due back in a week or so. But was his awful start injury-related? Or has he lost what little he had left that allowed him to wriggle his way through last season?

I think Borowski will come back as the closer - for about 10 days, assuming the Tribe is ahead in a few games and he gets some more save chances to blow. In other words, I think Borowski is toast and that will become obvious quickly.

Raffie Betancourt?

The knock is he can pitch in the eighth but not the ninth. Frankly I think it is more problematic than that.

Betancourt has been inconsistent since Opening Day.

Relievers have up years and down years - usually related to how many appearances they made the year before. I'm not sure Raffie Right is going to be as dependable in either role this season as he has been in the last couple.

Which leaves us with Kobayashi.

Masa got off to a slow start while getting adjusted to his new country, his new team and the major leagues. He has pitched well of late though, this afternoon notwithstanding.

He's shown he can do the job, having been one of the top closers in Japan.

While I'm not convinced he's the answer, I think Kobayashi is the Tribe's best bet for now.

Having said that I would suggest the Tribe consider taking a page from the Yankees playbook (as much as it kills me to say that). The pitcher with the best stuff in their organization is not in their rotation. He's not even their closer. He pitches in the eighth inning. Of course I'm talking about Joba Chamberlain.

If I'm the Indians, I'm giving serious thought right now to shortening up Adam Miller and getting him ready to pitch out of the pen. And like the White Sox did with Bobby Jenks in 2005, I'd move Miller along quickly and hope he's ready to pitch the back end of games by the time the Tribe heads into the stretch.

If not, I think the Indians will have to roll the dice with Kobayashi.


the moose said...

swept by the reds !! boys would you like the reds office and tribes pitching. Lee finally came back to earth. 500 even

delucci batting third - that has to end ASAP. is micheal aubryour latest hope. What has happened to franklin gutierrez. Is he odd man out.

Anonymous said...

thats offense