To say that Luis Valbuena is under performing so far this season is a major understatement.
Now he is really on the hot seat after he was a major reason why the Indians lost Wednesday afternoon to the Toronto Blue Jays 5 to 4.
At this rate, it may not and should not be long before Valbuena finds himself in Triple A Columbus.
As if his .175 batting average was not alarming enough, Valbuena’s defense has been even worse.
For all intensive purposes his error in the ninth inning with 2 outs lost the game for the Tribe today. Toronto’s Aaron Hill hit a routine ground ball right to Valbuena for the potential game winning out, but instead the ball went through Valbuena’s legs into the outfield scoring Fred Lewis from second base. Adam Lind, the next batter hit a 2 run home run and the Jay’s spoiled the Tribe’s chance for a rare win. And just to prove how poor he is playing, Valbuena added a second fielding error later in the ninth, just in case fans were not angry at him enough.
But even if you take away today's game, he has been struggling in the field. Valbuena has consistently had trouble completing double plays this season because he is throwing the ball in the dirt to the first baseman on the turn. This has cost the Indians runs in a few games, one being as recent as last Friday night against the Twins. Valbuena’s poor throw Friday cost Fausto Carmona 3 runs in the second inning and today his error cost Fausto a win.
In the home opener Valbuena showed his limited range moving to his right when a grounder got by him towards second base. A Rangers runner was on second base and came around to score and take the lead in the fifth inning. It looked like he had it all the way until the ball got past him. In a tie game, you have to at least knock that ball down and prevent the run.
Magnifying the glaring situation is infield prospect Jason Donald in Columbus. In 26 games, Donald is hitting .323 with 9 doubles, 2HR’s, 17 RBI’s, 7 stolen bases and No errors in the field. Donald was acquired in the Cliff Lee trade last season, so fans are very eager to see him in the big leagues. Now seems like the perfect time to bring him up to replace Valbuena.
Luis Valbuena is still a young player and may turn things around, but at the moment he should not be in Cleveland. It would serve him and the Indians better to straighten things out in Triple A. With the Indians trying to save money and the price of gas close to $3.00 a gallon, why not car pool Valbuena and the ineffective Rafael Perez down to Columbus. The Indians may even find a fan to drive them there for free.
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