Cleveland Indians' Bullpen Woes are a Must Fix

Matthew Van WormerContributor IMay 27, 2008

Joe Borowski returned from the DL a few days ago and has looked like a different man.  He hasn't given up a run, he's gotten a save, and he's only given up a couple of hits. The rest of the bullpen has continued to struggle. So much so that Jensen Lewis lost his spot and was sent back to Triple-A to work some things out.

With Fausto Carmona going on the DL, the Indians were able to bring up two arms, and they chose Edward Mujica and Scott Elarton. One of those two has pitched since joining the Major League club and his ERA is already at 27.00

Scott Elarton came into the game against the White Sox on Monday night and was promptly batted around the yard. In his first four pitches, the White Sox got three hits and ended up scoring three runs in the inning to win the extra-inning contest, 6-3, as the Indians cold bats continued to struggle.

But with starting pitching from Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia, and Paul Byrd, shouldn't the Indians be able to pull out a few squeakers?

This is a team that had 20+ one-run wins last season. The difference: the bullpen. Raffy Right (Betancourt) was untouchable, Raffy Left (Perez) was dominant, and when the eighth inning came around and the Indians had a lead, the game was already over.

Now, we fans hold our breath every time Eric Wedge comes to the mound and signals to the *gulp* bullpen. A collective groan went up last night as Paul Byrd was sent to the showers for the lefty-lefty matchup of Perez and A.J. Pierzynski. 

There were two outs in the inning and Paul Byrd was in line for the win. He had let two runners on, but Wedge trusted that Perez would get the job done and get out of the inning with the 3-2 lead. Sure enough, Perez gave up a hit to the lefty at the plate and the game was all tied up.

I'm sure Wedgie is still banging his head on his desk after last night's bullpen debacle. But you can't place all the blame there. The Indians had plenty of opportunities to score last night, leaving 13 runners on base, nine of them in scoring position.

Derek Shelton, please start cleaning out your office. Sooner or later, the ax is going to fall, and it won't be on the reigning AL Manager of the Year. The .230 team average is the worst in the Majors, and we don't have our pitchers hit! Although, I'm sure C.C. is begging to get in there and take a few hacks to help his own cause.

Last night's loss was a huge blow, as the Indians are now at their low-water mark for the season, five games under .500. But on the bright side, they are only five-and-a-half games out of first. But with the lack of hitting and the blowing of leads, that could be ten and a half any time now.