Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Six Weeks Until Opening Day - Get Your Tribe Fix Heeeeeeereeeee

Who else cannot wait for March 31st. Think about this potential for me. March 28, i'd be in Detroit for the Regionals if KU gets the #1 seed the midwest. March 29th is Cavs/Pistons at the Palace, if KU wins their Sweet 16 team, i'll be at the Regional Final Sunday the 30th, then home Monday the 31st for the Tribe home opener against the White Sox. It will be C.C. Sabathia's last opening day start as an Indian most likely. It will be the day where Joel Skinner gets booed lustily by the home fans and my bitterness over the 3-1 choke to the Red Sox subsides for one day.

Now that pitchers and catchers have arrived in Winter Haven, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon-Journal have daily fluff pieces on the Tribe as well as updates. I read everyone of them. While I am truly in KU Basketball mode right now, there's always time for the Tribe.

Today's piece was on the man we call AC, Asdrubal Cabrera. The Tribe's second baseman who in my opinion saved the season with his energy and clutch hitting when he was brought up on August 8th. In 45 games, he hit .283 with 22 RBI. He started out in the eight hole and ended up hitting second and being the true tablesetter.

But baseball is a game of adjustments. There is now a book on AC that scouts can look at and find the hole in his swing (if there is one). Look at a guy like Russell The Love Muscle Branyan. He came up as a rookie and crushed homer after homer. Then scouts figured out his weakness - he can't hit a breaking pitch. He rarely saw fastballs ever again and has been nothing but a 4A special and can't stick in the majors.

Cabrera's continued success is extremely important to the Indians attack, especially since they didn't add the big bat we were all hoping they would and the left field situation still stinks that 10 day old fish with the platoon of the J-Mike and David Dellucci. If Cabrera struggles, Josh Barfield is there and hopefully will be pick his game back up in AAA Buffalo. But truly, the Tribe is banking on A.C.

Here is an interesting part of the Paul Hoynes piece:

"It was encouraging to see what Asdrubal did in some pressurized situations," said Chris Antonetti, Indians assistant general manager. "I don't think we'll get carried away one way or the other.

"What we'll fall back on is the fundamental adjustments he made through the entirety of the season."

It was a good body of work. Cabrera hit .310 (114-for-368) at Class AA Akron and .316 (12-for-38) at Buffalo before joining the Indians. Still, they don't know what's coming this year.
Ask hitting coach Derek Shelton who Cabrera is as a hitter and he'll say, "To be honest, I don't know."

I loved what I saw of the kid under the pressure of a pennant race and in the playoffs, not only at the plate, but with the glove as well. I think he'll be all good, but realistically, he will go through some growing pains. Regardless, AC is my guy and i'm sticking with him. Plus, he is the only kid worthy of wearing Omar's #13.

Other Good Reads:

Hard-Throwing Miller Puts His Problem on a Finger - Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Game's Language Translates well For Kobayashi - Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Marte, Barfield Looking to get Their old Jobs Back - Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Just a Minor Setback for Barfield - Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon Journal

Lewis Ready to Start All Over Again for Tribe - Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon Journal

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