Chi-Town, My Kind of Town
If I ask my friend Jon his weekend plans and I receive the reply "Chi Town" via either text or email, I know he is visiting his fiancee in Chicago. That is just his personality, simple one word answers or short phrases to explain his feelings, emotions, or even destinations.
That two word coupling worked out great for the Tribe this past weekend. When your favorite club is in desperate need of a positive series (a team littered with aging veterans and suspect pitching), just hope "Chi-Town" is on the schedule.
The Tribe looked a lot better over the weekend, taking two of three from the south-siders. Maybe it took the truly "Hot" Carl Pavano to set the tone for the series (nine inning shutout). Or possibly the return of Pronk, who homered in his first game back into the lineup, which helped charge up the Wigwammers.
The most probable answer is that the White Sox are just about as good as the Indians right now, but that is why you play the games. The Columbus contingent has been playing pretty well lately, and the bullpen, sans a shaky outing by Luis Vizcaino Sunday, threw effectively.
Let's look back at the good and the not so good against the White Sox.
Not So Good
Mark DeRosa has been a decent addition to the club, but his .329 OBP ranks 12th on the team (below even our boy David Dellucci). He does have OK power numbers (nine HRs, 38 RBI) but he's a man without a position. The team has more than enough position flexibility, so strike while the trade iron is hot and start a bidding war for DeRo.
Valbuena looked pretty good at short yesterday, so Jhonny won't have to mind the six-spot hopefully too often. His wife is hot, though.
The man with the silent H is still in a bit of a funk. He went 0-for-7 in his two starts during the series, with a big error on Saturday. Jhonny needs to be put back at third for good to allow him some stability.
Peralta tends to heat up in the summer months, so jerking him around the infield will probably not be good for his weak psyche.
Also, I would love to know the Indians' ERA with Peralta at short. I bet you it is higher than when anyone else plays there. Have Valbuena play short, and let Barfield get an audition for a week at second until Asdrubal comes back. Bounce Jhonny between third and DH with only one start a week for him at short against a team with a bunch of lefty hitters.
We all know what Ben Francisco is: a fourth outfielder that shows glimmers of greatness but more than likely is average at best. He went 2-for-12 with two walks against Chicago with two walks.
He is not a leadoff hitter (.329 career OBP), so move him down where he belongs at the bottom of the order. That way, he won't put too much pressure on himself because I have a feeling he does.
When he batted third or fourth last season, his stats went down dramatically. If you look at his stats from 2009, I almost guarantee he hits better at the bottom of the order.
The Columbus Trio all played major roles in the victory Sunday. Chris Gimenez went 1-for-4 with a home run and moved a runner to third by hitting to the ball to the right side of the infield.
Luis Valbuena went 1-for-2 with a sac fly, a walk, two RBI and looked pretty good playing shortstop for the first time in the majors.
Trevor Crowe went 1-for-4 and made two amazing catches out in center, one of which with the bases loaded robbed White Sox rookie Gordon Beckham of his first major league hit. It was destined to clear the bases with two outs in the eighth. If the rookies play this well, (along with David Huff's first ML win), the Indians can make a run to .500.
I have developed a new found respect for Jamey Carroll. The guy goes out and does his job, whether at second or third base, never gives up on an at-bat, is playing with a sprained finger, and leads by example.
Carroll went 5-for-9 with two doubles and three RBI over two games and looks to be a very solid two-hitter for the time being. He always works the counts and usually puts the bat on the ball.
He is a guy the club should consider re-signing for 2010 because of his position flexibility and toughness. Jamey is the perfect utility infielder.
Carl Pavano continues to amaze, throwing nine shutout innings Friday to help start the series off on the right step. Pavano struck out six while only allowing two walks and three hits.
Trade rumors will start to circulate about him, but the Indians will keep him on the club up until the July 31 deadline because the rotation is just too decimated by injuries (Laffey,Reyes,Lewis) and ineffectiveness (Carmona).
If the Tribe are completely out of it, then Pavano can be shipped on out.
The Royals come to town Tuesday for a three-game series. The pitching matchups are as follows:
Tuesday: Brian Bannister vs. Cliff Lee
Wednesday: Gil Meche vs. Carl Pavano
Thursday: Zack Grienke vs. Jeremy Sowers
Should be interesting to see if the Indians can string together another series win before interleague play starts up again over the weekend. Hopefully I can text Jon "KC" and that will mean a three-game sweep of the Royals.
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