Indians Woes: Cleveland Scores Nine Runs, Still Loses

Kevin HolzContributor IMay 24, 2008

For one glorious three-game stretch in the 2007 ALCS, the magic was indeed back.  We "upset" the Yankees, what with our tied for best record in baseball and all, ending the Joe Torre era. We won three of the first four of the ALCS with a potential clinching game at home.

Then Josh Beckett and the Red Sox woke up and won seven games in a row to clinch their second World Series title since 2004.  Indian fans, heartbroken sure, took pride in the team's accomplishments and looked forward to the next season.  Then the Indians did nothing in the offseason, including the failure to lock up Cy Young winner C.C. Sabathia to a long term deal.

Well, the next season is 48 games in, and the Indians flat out stink.  The offense has been more of a disappointment than anything I can recall in recent Indians years.  The starting pitching, though, has been phenomenal.  There are two reasons the Indians aren't in last place of their division:

1. They play in the A.L. Central.  Major League Baseball, along with the banning of pine bats and home run instant replay, is putting forth is best effort into trying to convince us this division doesn't exist right now.  If Selig had a choice, I would imagine that he would rather see a second wild card team from the East or West make it into the playoffs as opposed to the eventual undeserving-of-a-playoff-spot A.L. Central winner.

2. Arguably the best starting pitching any team has gotten this century.

Then for one day it seemed, all was right with the Cleveland Indians, at least from an offensive standpoint.

They put together nine runs, five more total than the recent series against the White Sox, in which the Indians got swept.  The only problem was, the pitching gave up 13.  Oh, and Fausto Carmona got hurt.

The Cleveland Indians pitching staff was the reason for this loss, continuing the losing trend that Indians fans may grow accustomed to if something isn't done about it soon. 

However, this seems to be the first time that the pitching was the cause for the loss.  The other 25 losses are on the offense.  And I'm pretty sure like 19 of the 22 wins are thanks to the pitching.

Here is a sample of what the Indians are putting out in the field night in and night out, and they are losing these night games:

Grady Sizemore is batting leadoff with a lean .261 average and .373 OBP.  Nice.  He is, however, tied with Jhonny Peralta for the team lead with home runs in eight.  The dude is a good talent, but a natural No. 3 hitter.

Speaking of home runs, Victor Martinez, the cleanup hitter, is hitting .300 with NO HOMERS!  The backup, Kelly Shoppach has more home runs, in 80 fewer at-bats.

Hafner looks like a deer in the headlights when the ball is over 90 miles per hour.  He swings at pitches that are clearly out of the strike zone and looks flat out lost.  He's batting .219!

Asdrubal Cabrera is batting a scintillating .172 and still plays every day.  Defensively great (note his unassisted triple play), he needs to be sent down to work that bat.  Remember Josh Barfield?  Why not give him a chance?  Oh, that's right, young talent dies under Eric Wedge.  Brandon Phillips anyone?

Jhonny Peralta looks bored at the plate and looks like he's swinging a five iron.

Casey Blake still plays for them?  He starts daily too?!

Ben Francisco is the lone bright spot on a team that looks void of happiness.

They have David Delluci on their team, and he plays a significant amount too.  'Nough said.

Mark Shapiro didn't do much this offseason, and it shows.  This team can't do anything, but they are only 4.5 games back at the start of the day.  The division is there for the taking; it's time to make something happen.  As the 2006 Cards proved, all you have to do is get to the playoffs, and anything is possible.

With the Indians starting pitching as good as it is right now, they have some players that are expendable and could bring in some power hitting lumber.  Paul Byrd is worth as much as shipment of HGH right now on the trade market, so he's a keeper. 

However, there is a certain lefty that could be traded to help bolster this offense.  No, it isn't Aaron Laffey.  No, it's not Cliff Lee.  It's that big guy, that free agent to be.  You know?  Last year's Cy Young winner, C.C. Sabathia.

C.C. isn't going to stay, Cleveland fans.  He's gonna rake in more money than Johan and the Indians can't compete in that buying market.  Why lose him for nothing?  Think about the amount of lumber the guy could bring in return.

From other blogs and sites, it seems the popular route is Laffey, but quietly this young'un is throwing as well as anyone on the team right now, save Lee.  Keep him; he's not going anywhere anytime soon.  Westbrook was having his best year in a while, before he got hurt.  Lee is a miracle.  Carmona, hurt right now, is still the "Ace" of the future.  Byrdie won't be around after this season, so he's got no value.  But C.C.  What about C.C.?

Much is being said about what the Indians are going to do when Westbrook comes back.  Laffey has been too good to get out of the rotation.  He doesn't deserve Buffalo.  He deserves, and rightly so, Cleveland. 

One idea is a six-man rotation.  It could work, but more good pitching isn't what this team needs right now.  It's hitting.  C.C. would bring in hitting.  Dangle him to a team that needs pitching (Mets) and see what hitting you can get in return.

It needs to be a young bat, but someone who has proven himself. The benefit of C.C. is that you can steal a great bat from a team that needs temporary pitching.  You can be picky with C.C. and bully around teams that need pitching.

The Indians have talent on the farm.  It seems that top prospect Adam Miller has been just that for years now, a top prospect.  It's time to give him a chance.  Jeremy Sowers is a perfectly capable four or five starter for years to come. 

At the beginning of the season, trading the big guy was only an option if the team was out of contention.  If the season has proven anything the starting pitching, sans C.C., is still as good as any other rotation.  Why not?  A rotation of Carmona, Lee, Westbrook, Laffey, and Byrd doesn't have the same star power and isn't as good, but is still perfectly capable.  Especially if this offense hits the way it can, and with a jolt of energy will. 

It's only June, but have you seen any signs of life on this team?

I'm not saying fire Eric Wedge, like some are.  Firing the reigning A.L. Manager of the Year is a horrible idea, from a PR standpoint, at least.

This is a team that won't clinch the playoffs with C.C. Sabathia.  Then Cleveland will watch him pull a Jim Thome on them and see him sign for more money elsewhere.  Why not try and clinch it this year without him?

I understand most won't agree, but let me ask you this fans, remember C.C. in the playoffs last year?  Specifically the ALCS, when the games mattered?

Yeah, I'm trying not to either.


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