Saturday, September 8, 2007

OK...I'm Officially Worried

It took a whole two games out west to make me see the light - this is Cleveland. I stated earlier that it would take a monumental collapse for us not to see October baseball. Maybe it's because I've seen it all before, but I'm now officially worried. Two straight losses in Anaheim coupled with two Detroit wins have pushed the once seven game lead to five just like that. John Lackey stymied the Tribe bats over the first seven innings, allowing just one run on six hits. Justin Speier pitched a scoreless eighth and a five hit 7 2/3 inning performance by Jake Westbrook seemed all but wasted. In front of his family and friends, Ryan Garko, who struggled all night, hit a solo pizza off of Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth to tie it at two. The Tribe had a shot to win it loading the bases with two out on an error and two walks. In came Scott Shields to strike out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the threat and their best shot was done. The Realtor, in his second inning of work gave up a leadoff double to Chone Figgins in the 10th, who was on base all night long it seemed. Kendry Morales singled him home with one out for the 3-2 win.

There is no shame in losing to the Angels, the best home team in baseball, but the Indians struck out 12 times (the Angels on 3) and left nine men on base. That reeks of a June/July loss for this team. On top of that, the Angels have taken both games without star OF Vladimir Guerrero. That's the bad news. The good news is that C.C. Sabathia goes tonight against struggling young Right hander Ervin Santana whom the Indians have owned in the past. These are the games that you are glad you have a horse, losing-streak stopper like C.C. More good news is that following this four game set in Anaheim, the Tribe gets three with the sad sack White Sox and three more with Kansas City at the Jake before the big series with Detroit.

Quick Hits:

Casey Blake got the night off last night as he is 1-15 lifetime against Lackey. Can't say I complained about that. he was replaced by Chris Gomez, who went 1-4 with a run scored. AC got the night off before, giving professional pinch runner Josh Barfield a start at second........... I just looked, after last night's game, Rafael "The Realtor" Betancourt and Rafael Perez have 1.59 and 1.54 ERA's respectively. That's pretty sick considering they pitch in front of a closer who carries a 5.50 ERA...........The Mariners are allegedly battling for the Wild Card spot, yet have lost 12 of 13. It would be nice if they decided to show up this weekend in Detroit, where they got smoked last night 6-1. Its amazing to me that they have hung around this long with that weak starting rotation. Outside of Felix Hernandez, what about Jeff Weaver, Jared Washburn, Miguel Batista, and Horacio Ramirez scares anyone exactly?.........ESPN's finest scribe Peter Gammons wrote a great piece completely stroking our boy C.C.:

Granted, it is only Sept. 4 and the Cleveland Indians are in the midst of a stretch of playing 23 days in a row. They're presently in Minnesota, will then travel to Anaheim and then finish up their road trip in Chicago. And I see Dan Haren's earned run average (2.87) and his quality starts (25) and appreciate that he may well be the best pitcher in the American League, in many ways.
But as you appreciate that the Indians beat Johan Santana five times this season and further realize that C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona won all five of those games between them, not only should one think about what the Indians may be like in a short series in October should they get there, but realize what Sabathia has done to help put the Indians six games ahead of the Tigers in the AL Central.
Click down the list of pitchers Sabathia has faced. He beat Santana three times. He was matched up with Justin Verlander twice in five days on May 26 and 31, and won both games. He has also lost to Verlander and dropped a 1-0 decision to Daisuke Matsuzaka.
He's first in the AL in wins (16) and innings pitched (211), second in complete games (three) and fourth in strikeouts (182).
Think what having the Indians go 5-1 in his starts against Santana and Verlander means to the Indians in the standings, and right now Sabathia also has to get consideration for votes in the top 10 in the AL MVP balloting.

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