Well, I said it last week. I didn’t think the Indians had the horses to pull off a series win over the Yankees. That said, anybody who watched the four game series would have been struck by two things. The Indians put themselves in position to win in all four games despite iffy starting pitching matchups coming into the series. Tribe fans everywhere can only be pleased in the pitching efforts of southpaws Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey who were called up from Buffalo to make spot starts. But the question remains: when is this team going to start to hit?!?
Travis Hafner and Ryan Garko looked God-awful in the series. Hafner is missing fastballs that are right down the middle and up in the zone. He keeps fouling them off. I don’t understand. Why aren’t meatballs ending up in the second deck in right? I know they used to end up there. Check this one out. I called this home run by the way. Yeah, I was 21 years old, still calling a home run on every pitch to the plate when my favorite players were hitting. ( http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/media/player/mp_tpl_3_1.jsp?w_id=430232&w=2005/open/topplays/archive06/061405_colcle_hafner_hr_350.wmv&pid=mlb_tp&gid=2005/06/14/colmlb-clemlb-1&cid=mlb&fid=mlb_tp350&v=2) Hafner is in a 7 for 37 slump although Garko’s got him beat with his 0 for 23 streak. I promise to take some time over the next several days and analyze what I think Hafner might be doing wrong. Below are some other thoughts that hit me while watching the games from the Yankee series.
While watching Friday’s game: Yankee commentator Michael Kay loves to reference crappy television sitcoms: “An interesting thing about Paul Byrd, he bears a striking resemblance to Kelsey Grammer, the star of the hit show Frazier.” Just moments later while the camera pans the crowd, a woman wearing glasses in the likeness of Drew Carey is spotted: “I think somebody stole Drew Carey’s glasses,” Drew Carey, star of the hit sitcom, The Drew Carey Show. WOULD YOU STOP CALLING OUR FIELD THE PROG, Michael Kay? It’s bad enough the naming rights of the stadium were sold to Progressive Insurance but now we have idiots coming in calling it the Prog. Moments later, as if to drive an icicle into my eye, Kaye spits out this gem: “Welcome back to the Prog, that’s what they call it here in Cleveland now. I’ve listened to or watched 85% of the games this year and I have yet to hear this God-awful phrase. Even the radio voice of the Indians, Tom Hamilton rarely calls it Progressive Field. Nope, he likes to use the phrase, “At the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.” I love Tom Hamilton. This guy likes Tom Hamilton too: http://youtube.com/watch?v=bi9mRcjtICY Despite giving up three monster home runs, Paul Byrd tightropes through 5 2/3 innings. Jhonny Peralta comes up big with a three run homer off a poor changeup from Andy Pettitte. Peralta’s homer masks another mediocre performace by the offense, but a big win nevertheless. While watching Saturday’s matinee: David Delucci, I mean Jeremy Sowers, is charged with three earned runs after Jorge Posada’s three run triple to left. Delucci’s poor read and route to Posada’s liner turns a lineout into the slow catcher’s first triple. It spoils a fine effort by Sowers who ends up with a no-decision. Any other runner and we would have had an inside-the-park grand slam. That would have been interesting. The Tribe seems to be having better at-bats over the last several days. Joe Buck mentions that the Yankees have $45 million dollars on their bench. Ohh yeah, I’ll take Jason Michaels as our ace in the hole any day. What’s wrong with HAFNER!? Ian Kennedy is throwing 90 mph fastballs up in the zone and he’s late on it. In ’05, he’d already have a homer and a double off this guy. All of a sudden, his contract looks like a disaster. Get pissed already Hafner. Most inventive product pushed on us today: A Touch of Gray I didn't realize that dying your hair “a little less gray” get you a “Summer of Love!” I wonder if I would see equal success were I to give the product a try. Victor Martinez, the only guy who I really trust at the plate, wins a back-and-forth affair with a basehit to left. He’s such a good hitter. I rest easy when he’s up to bat. Although I’d be lying if I wasn’t a bit concerned by his inability to drive the ball thus far in 2008. He’s hitting .364 but only slugging .416. That’s four extra-base hits and zero homers.
Favorite part about Saturday’s game: Grady Sizemore hurting his ankle in the ninth inning. The trainer comes out and starts trying to lead him off the field. Sizemore refuses to leave the middle of the diamond. You see the trainer make this face as if to say, “Yeah right, you can stay in this game.” So Sizemore walks out to the outfield grass behind second base and starts doing sprints back and forth. The trainer leaves the field and Sizemore scores the winning run. He is so good.
This loss falls squarely on my shoulders. If I blow off a birthday brunch for a friend, we scratch a run off Wang. This guy will never impress me. Sinkerballers are great but they are truly dominant. Wang is like a Derek Lowe, a guy who can pitch really well but who you really don’t feel that great about pitching in a big game. Although, I don’t know how the Tribe manages to strike out nine times against him. This offense is truly befuddling. At least, C.C. is back pitching well. Sizemore doesn’t play for the first time since 2004.
Monday The Indians decided they were content with a split when they woke up this morning. The team had every opportunity to pound Mike Mussina into oblivion and they let him off the hook and handed him a generous victory. The Yankees score four runs in the top of the sixth and manage to hit the ball out of the infield once. Our left side of the diamond, Peralta and Blake are where “deer and antelope play” and infield hits too. This team is driving me insane. That five game winning streak from last week seems like a mirage. This team is not hitting. Let’s fire our hitting coach. It worked in 2005. http://www.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050604&content_id=1075793&vkey=news_cle&fext=.jsp&c_id=cle