The Indians have their final home series of the season and being just two games below .500, that’s definitely a goal worth shooting for in what was a disappointment. The Indians went from favorites to last place to being one of the better teams in baseball in the second half in a truly bizarre season. Still, the .500 mark isn’t something I would have thought possible back in July and while the Indians are done from a playoff standpoint, this is all we really have to cling to.
My nephews little league season wound down a few weeks ago but I definitely know where I’m going to get his Christmas present. While driving on a trip to Cincinnati, we stopped in at Baseball Rampage and I tried out one of the bats in their state of the art cages. I’ll be buying my nephew some baseball gear including most likey a glove and I can’t decide whether to make the drive or just order from their website. I might have to go down there because they literally had hundreds of baseball gloves to choose from.
The Indians are struggling to win in interleauge. They have watched the Tigers and Twins pull away as they slip further and further back. The Indians have been unable to win, despite playing well enough to keep themselves in the game. For example in the game Sunday, the Tribe racked up eleven hits in a losing effort. The need for improvement is imminent. The Indians must manufacture runs and execute in order to get back into the playoff hunt.
While in this long portion of interleague play, the Indians have slid down the AL Central ladder. The Indians have posted a 4-7 record thus far during this round of interleague. While the Indians have struggled to win, they were in most of the games. One at bat could have changed the outcome of at least five of their losses. While they are losing, the Indians are showing more patience at the dish and appear to be shifting to a small ball approach. They have a lot of work to do now as they find themselves in dead last in the Central division, half a game behind Kansas City.
The Indians were in two out of the three games, but the Rockies persistent offensive attack proved too much for the battered Indians lineup. The Indians were unable to hold the Rockies under four runs in any game of the series and that is a hard way to win a game. The Indians will continue their road trip tonight, heading to LA to face the Dodgers. The Indians have Cliff Lee on the mound, looking for his eleventh win, against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw is a 6’3″ twenty year old with one decision for a loss and a 3.75 ERA. The Indians have a definite advantage on the hill, but the offense has to show up.
Josh Barfield underwent surgery on his left middle finger yesterday. Barfield is expected to miss six to eight weeks of the season. Barfield is only one of the problems that got worse for the Indians. Fausto Carmona pitched three innings in class A and complained about hip pain afterward. Camona will be examined Wednesday by the team physician and for now, an attempted rehab start has been put on hold until further evaluation. Travis Hafner will also be examined to determine the status of his shoulder. On top of all these injuries, the Indians continue their struggle on the road. The Indians dropped the first of a three game series in Colorado and a six game road trip.
The Indians finished up a three game series against San Diego with a 7-3 win over the Padres. The Indians managed to hold off the streaking Tigers, for the third spot in the division, even with their battered lineup. The Indians have been winning with their offense, they are averaging over six runs a game in the last two series. Not to take anything away from the pitching which has been nothing short of superb, with an ERA of under 4.5 in the last six. You can’t help but be impressed with the perseverance of the Tribe during this injury plagued season.
Victor Martinez was placed on the 15-day DL on Thursday following his MRI. Martinez will have arthroscopic surgery performed on his throwing arm today to remove loose objects from the arm. Martinez is not alone on the DL, he joins Travis Hafner, Josh Barfield (who was just called up Monday), Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona. All of which are extremely valuable parts of the lineup. The Indians are in for a tough ride if they cannot stay healthy, but they managed to win easily against the Twins on Thursday. They manufactured twelve runs in the win and a spectacular pitching performance from Aaron Laffey (filling in for the injured Jake Westbrook). This is the time for the little guys to step up, the injuries are going to force the Indians to play as a team and play some small ball.
The Indians made a change in the lineup that involves bringing a little more consistency to the plate. The Tribe made a call to Buffalo to bring up Josh Barfield from triple-A. The move appears to be a good one on paper, with Asdrubal Cabrera batting just .184 so far this season. Defensively Cabrera has been solid, but with the pitching staff that Cleveland has, I think that the move to increase offensive production is a good one. Barfield went 0-4 in his first game up and sat out the game last night. With his replacement going 3-4 with one RBI. Barfield should not be discouraged, he knows he can play and so does the team. Barfield played for the Indians last year and had a .243 BA and added 50 RBIs to the lineup last year, as well as three long balls. Not spectacular numbers, but an improvement on what Asdrubal Cabrera has produced thus far this year.
The Indians had won two straight games going into last night and have a chance to win the series against Minnesota in game three tonight. Game one was a great game for the Tribe, with plenty of offense and a stunning pitching performance from C.C. Sabathia. Game two proved to be another story. The Tribe had offense, but Paul Byrd was terrible in his three plus inning outing. If the loss wasn’t bad enough, the catcher Victor Martinez left the game with what the trainers are calling an inflamed right elbow. Martinez is scheduled for an MRI today and we will know more about the severity of the injury.
Jeremy Sowers made the start for the Indians in place of the injured Jake Westbrook and gave up five earned in four innings of work. Five was all Detroit needed as Armando Galarraga gave up two runs in his five and two-third innings. Galarraga was a rookie this year and not even in the rotation, he now has the most wins on the Detroit pitching staff in ’08. As for the Indians, they are looking for a win tonight against Dontrelle Willis to avoid dropping yet another series.
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