Saturday, June 7, 2008

Time to stop kidding ourselves Tribe fans, there are too many leaks in this boat

Whatever IT is, the Tribe does not have it.

Not this year.

There will be no division title this season. No playoffs. Nothing but a "talent" dump about six or seven weeks from now.

This is not a knee-jerk rant following what must have been one of the most gut-wrenching losses of the year.

(I wouldn't know because when FOX monopolizes Saturday afternoons I don't get to see the Tribe on the dish - and let me thank Uncle Rupert for small favors today).

The Tribe is 7 1/2 out of first and three weeks from tonight they will have played their 81st game - the half-way point of the season.

This, my friends, is a trend.

It is reality.

It is no longer believable to spout all those things that sound good - and are often true - in April and maybe even into early May.

"It's early, there's plenty of time." "They'll start hitting when the weather gets warmer." Blah Blah Blah.

There were many times throughout this season that I felt like pulling the trigger on a posting just like this one. But I said all of those things to myself about the team getting things straightened out and how no one is running away with the division.

Well, the Sox have won 20 of their last 30 and seem to be starting to build that head of steam - that quiet confidence - that allows you to pull away when everyone is is still trying to figure out how to get the train on the tracks.

The Tribe's longest winning streak this season has been five games - April 22-26. Of course they followed that up by losing three straight.
Their best stretch of the year was their 8-2 run from May 6-15, when the starters were on that incredible scoreless-inning run.

You will probably remember that the Tribe followed that up with seven straight losses.

Through all of that I checked all the various fan blogs, poured over stats, watched most of the rest of the division struggle - all in an effort to find a reason to believe that this season was going to mean something after the 4th of July.

It is becoming pretty clear that the only thing that will matter after Independence Day is the July 31 trade deadline. The results of that day, or the days leading to it, unfortunately will be the measuring stick that will determine if anything at all was accomplished this season.

The offense got a boost of confidence in the hot winds of Arlington earlier this week. After weeks of struggling to put up one or two runs in a game, it now seems to have reached its true potential - four runs in a typical game.
There will be scoring outbursts again to be sure. But the most you can expect from this group day-in and day-out is four.

Two starting pitchers are on the shelf. Yet I have few worries there. The starting pitching depth built by the organization seems to be showing itself to be capable of weathering the storm.

But this team, because of its below-average offense and quality starting pitching, will play a lot of close games - or at least games that are close until the bullpen gets in on the action.

Other than Joe Borowski since his return from injury, there is not one arm out there you can count on. (And truthfully, how long do you think Borowski will last on that list of one?)

For Eric Wedge, getting through the last few innings is like playing Russian Roulette, only with three of the six chambers loaded instead of one.

Masa Kobayashi hasn't been bad, but you never know when he'll come out and blow up.

Ditto for Raffie Perez.

Raffie Betancourt is a disaster.

No sense going through the rest of the pen because the names change almost daily and Wedge never has the confidence to use any of them anyway.

Very few noticed when the Sox picked up Scott Linebrink and Octavio Dotel over the winter. And those in the Cleveland blogosphere who did notice snickered at the pickups.
But those two have helped to stabilize the Sox pen - a key difference between this year's team and last.

The Indians pen has done a 180 as well. But in the wrong direction.

There doesn't seem to be much chance of the Tribe becoming more than a 3-to-5-runs-a-game team.
The starters can't throw shutouts every night. The bullpen needs to be consistent and consistently good.

There are about four pieces missing out there and it looks like there's little chance of making enough moves to fill that many holes.

For those of us who have been watching this team for the past 40 years or so we know the drill.

Head on out to Berea for a practice or two and wish for better things for the Indians next year.

Nothing would please me more than to turn on my printer on Sept 30, punch up this piece, print it out, pour a large glass of water and eat my words. But I don't think that is going to happen.


the moose said...

yep things dont look to good do they ?

I think the brass knows it too but wont mkaeit public. They rolled the dice and stayed pat and it didnt work. PLus I think some of the players didn't work hard enough in the off season and lost their desire.

Did anybosy see that jason micheals has 7 RBI in 2 games and Russell Branyan - remember him - is still swatting home runs -he would look good at third right now - although I guess ANYBODY would look good at third

Yes it looks like tickets will be easy to get in August / September

so what does the future hold - do you think the indians are going to spend money on a long term contract for a pitcher ? can you say barry zito, carl pavano, and lately jake westbrook. If these owners didn't pay all the $$$ or made performance contracts they would CYA

sogoing into 2009 -sowers, laffey, lee, carmona (unless he is messed up) - The OF could look good if they just let francisco, guttierrez, sizeomore and Choo play.

Infield - a disaster - I say trade peralta and let cabrera play SS and barfield at 2.

The bullpen - go find some crap off the scrap heat. Chicago did a pretty good job this year - didnt they ?

bobbydb19 said...


Tribe losing 5-2, thanks once again to some stellar pitching.

But wait. Bases loaded and 1 out. Something brewing?

Nah! Same old Tribe. Peralta and Francisco both strike out. Getting old. Getting very old.

Why doesn't Wedgie throw a tirade like Ozzie. Get off his ass.

Ron Vallo said...

When they back up the truck next month, let's hope Peralta is the first one on it.

He may be among the team leaders in homers, but he is also the team leader in apathy and a lack of baseball sense.(not to mention a lousy shortstop)

In the 6th inning he put the kibosh on a budding rally by swinging at the first pitch and hitting a meek grounder with runners on 1st and 2nd and no out.

Much worse, in the eighth he's up with the bases loaded, one out, a rookie pitcher just in and who just threw two balls in his first two pitches to Peralta. The kid pitcher threw two, and possibly three more consecutive balls to Peralta, except that Peralta swung and missed at all three.

The guy is a waste of a uniform and hopefully someone will take him off our hands.

On a completely unrelated point, I'm watching the Mets at the moment in SD. The Padres (who have always led the league in vomit-inducing uniforms) are currently wearing their combat-camouflage unis.

They're not only ugly but also inappropriate. They're a political statement to many. One that a lot of us disagree with and they have no place on a baseball field.

You wanna support the troops? Bring them home and then actually take care of their medical issues and give them a decent GI bill to help them get on with their lives.

Save the fatigues for paint ball.

Ron Vallo said...

there was actually one out in the 6th, that's a typo

bobbydb19 said...

Not too long ago, I wondered if this team would follow the same path as the 2005 Indians (up) or the 2006 Indians (down). I have come to the realization that it is neither. This team is following the path of the 2003 Indians. After 63 games, the 2003 Indians were 26-37 and 10 games out. Pretty close to this team. As a reminder, the 2003 Indians finished with 94 losses. That year the Indians also played the Padres, Rockies, Dodgers (same as this year). I am sensing a trend here that I do not like.

Let the trading begin. Now....predict who we are going to dump.


the moose said...

can I ask who are the buyers fro CC, Byrd, and Delucci

and Peralta since Ronn wants to trade him also

what do you get for them - players to be named later -

CC could be a rent a player for someone for a the rest of the year - who takes him

and if byrd or delucci is on your fantasy team - what do get for him
a box of crackerjacks

the moose said...

sent the wrong guy down

should have been peralta
looks for wholes in defense
hope they give barfield more than a cup of coffee

is this the first of many moves

the moose said...

two in a row wsa too much for the indians to handle - byrd got bombed tonight - he got his 100 wins - let him get the next 100 somewhere else

poor barfield comes up - was hitting the ball pretty hard and gets hurt may go on the DL - but they wont call cabrera back - whos going to play second - jerry kindall, gus gil, or vern fuller

also victor got hurt -
I was actually hoping - wishing they would win 6 in a row at home - sox would loose 4 or 5 and we would be 3 games out - I know your asking what am I smoking

moose will be absent for awhile - off to the windy city for a little R an R with misses moose

talk to you guys on monday nght