Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hot under the collar

Don't know what it is like where you are, but today - for the second straight day - the thermometer is flirting with 90 degrees here in the northern suburbs of NYC.

I waited as long as I could because I can't really accept turning on the AC in April, but with the inside temperatures hitting 84 (with the windows open) I had no choice.

Speaking of hot.

Seems the Tribe skipper got a little steamed last night for the first time that I can remember. Seems he's sick of watching the Tribe's offense flail away at anything and everything that comes anywhere near the vicinity of home plate. Join the club Wedgie.

Since their celebrated blowout of the Yankees last Saturday, the Tribe offense has been awful. No need to go over the details. They've been written about elsewhere and Matt Underwood dutifully regurgitated them incessantly for the first several innings of today's game. And, if you've been watching, you know.

After last night's game Wedge told the assembled press (quoted here by the PD):

"What bothers me more than anything is we're not making good outs. Outside of a couple of guys, our approach has been very poor. It's something we pride ourselves on and work hard at it. There's just no excuse.

"Whatever the hell it is, we better figure out it pretty damn quick because I'm not going to sit around and watch what we've been watching.

"We're beyond all this. They aren't kids anymore."

To illustrate that he was not blowing smoke along with the steam, Eric Wedge put a new-look lineup on the field today.

Among the changes:

Mark DeRosa started in right field, and Trevor Crowe in left - putting Ben Francisco (BA .216 OBP .286) on the bench. He gave Tony Graffanino a start at 3B and moved Asdrubal Cabrera into the No. 2 spot, while dropping De Rosa to seventh. Shin-Soo Choo (at DH) hit cleanup and Jhonny Perlata was dropped to No. 7.

The Tribe responded by pounding out four runs in the first three innings. But the bats were pretty much in hibernation the rest of the way (two singles and double).

"We're beyond all this. They're not kids anymore." Truer words have never been spoken and it seems to underscore a point I have tried to make many times in this space.

There may come a time - sometime soon - when the Tribe may have to admit that there is some basic flaw in this team. Something that prevents them from playing up to their collective ability - at least until the season is lost and the pressure is off.

Is it the manager? Does he have too easy a hand on the throttle producing mentally lazy players? As I've said before, I don't think that's it.

Does he turn the screws too tightly, putting the team on edge? Baseball is not played well by someone who is uptight. It hardly seems so, though we don't know what goes on in the clubhouse.

Maybe it's neither.

Maybe this particular generation of Tribesman is made up of guys that put too much pressure on themselves and can't perform.

This team has the talent to keep up with any other in the Central.

Whatever it is that's keeping them from performing like it, as Wedge says ""we better figure it pretty damn soon."

Maybe the manager is feeling some heat being generated by something other than the early spring heat wave.

Maybe that's a good thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would say Aaron Laffey is looking real good to keep his starting position

and will tony sipp hav more than a cup of coffee