Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lessons learned, kudos earned and a new Tribe closer

It's been only three days since my last post (why does that sound like I'm in a confessional?), but a lot has happened with the Tribe.

Paul Byrd and Ryan Garko both seemed to have learned a lesson, but in different ways.

Byrd threw a complete game against Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays, for his fourth win in his last five starts. His ERA during that period is 1.80 and all of those starts have been quality starts - a least as defined by MLB's statisticians (at least 6 inning, no more than 3 runs).

The veteran got a little remedial help with his curveball from the master of the pitch - Minnesota broadcaster and former MLB and Tribe pitcher Bert Blylevin. Whatever Blylevin told him, it seems to be helping.

Byrd reportedly has cleared waivers and can be traded. I would not be surprised to see the Tribe hang on to him though and bring him back next year if it can be done at a reasonable price.

Byrd is now 7-10 with a 4.53 ERA and has last year's post-season success to add to his appeal. How many fifth starters in the league offer anything more attractive than that? Add in his veteran presence on an otherwise young staff, and the idea may not be as dumb as many of you are thinking it is as you read this.

Meanwhile, Ryan Garko seems to have learned another kind of lesson - don't dog it when you're barely holding on to your spot on the roster. After being benched for one game and most of another for failing to run out a dribbler down the line, the Tribe 1B got his chance to get back into the lineup Saturday.

Garko went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs. He also sprinted down to first after getting hit by a pitch. That may be a bit over the top, but it's clear Garko did not enjoy his couple of days in the Eric Wedge doghouse.

Newly acquired starter Anthony Reyes is getting kudos for his first outing with the Tribe. He went 6 1/3 innings Friday night against the Jays, allowing just 1 run on 7 hits and striking out 4.

Reyes' fastball topped out at about 90 and was mostly in the 88-89 range - just a bit shy of what the Tribe had been expecting apparently. He mixed in a breaking ball and change-up, which he used to get some lazy flyball outs when he needed them

Reyes appears as though he's going to be a pitch-to-contact kind of pitcher who will need his control to do well. Think a young Paul Byrd. Better yet, don't think of that at all, because one Paul Byrd is plenty, thank you.

Better to say we can expect Reyes to be a finesse pitcher, who may live or die by the flyball. There have been a zillion pitchers in the history of baseball who have been quite successful with that approach. So far, with his work in Buffalo and Cleveland, it appears Reyes has a chance to add to the list.

Speaking of lists, the one listing the names of Cleveland closers for 2008 just got one name longer.

Jensen Lewis, coming off a solid 9th inning save Friday night, apparently is the latest member of the Tribe's frightening bullpen to be given the opportunity to close out games- at least for this minute, which is longer than Ed Mujica lasted in the role.

This is pure speculation (wishful thinking?), but ESPN reported Friday that a non-contender put in a claim on Oakland closer Houston Street, who is having a bit of an off-year.

Any chance that it could have been the Tribe?

The only other team that could have beat them out on a claim would have been Seattle. Under rules governing revocable waivers teams in the player's own league get first dibs if he is claimed by multiple teams.

The point is moot though, since - according to ESPN's Buster Olney - the As and the other team - whoever it was - couldn't work out a deal.

1 comment:

the moose said...

no lessons learned with mujica

isn't it time to sing the last of the mujica's ?

blow a 5 run lead in the 7 th

if this team hadeven a half-decent bullpen they would be near 500

how many more games