I've been sitting around my house in a drug/concussion induced haze all week, so I had something in common with the Indians this week...the haze, not the drugs or the concussion. Yeah, a week with a long road trip from Baltimore to California, struggling starters AND relievers, blown leads and blowouts, with a sprinkle of Fausto in between, making a whole lot of fans thank their lucky stars, and make a few current starters sweat a bit. Yeah, pretty much just an ordinary week of Tribe baseball.
It's funny how nearly a decade of winning baseball still couldn't wipe out a lifetime of losing baseball before it. Of course, the head injury may have left me with some gaps. Enough aobut that...let's get rolling...
Jason Davis was designated, and then, ultimately traded to the Mariners. Originally, I was going to discuss why so many people had mentioned Davis in such detail, being that Davis has never been much more than a project, and not a very good one. There wasn't anyone who wanted him to succeed more than I did. Still, the facts on Davis are pretty plain. He was drafted in 1999 as a 21st round pick. From that point on, Cleveland handled him in accordance to what Davis was doing on the mound. Davis brought some incredible heat. As nearly every pitcher blessed with a 95 plus fastball, he was equally cursed with a wild arm. In '03, Davis started 27 games, and was a respectable 8-11, but wasn't anything special. Then began the rubber band work from starter to reliever, that Cleveland has been known for since the Julian Tavarez days. Still, if Davis had shown any potential at either, there wouldn't have been the shuffling. Last season, Cleveland committed to Davis as a relief pitcher, and he responded with a horrible first half, and a much improved second half. The ultimate issue this year, is that he didn't pitch himself into a lock, and didn't have any waivers left. He had a month to prove himself, and he didn't. Now, he's gone. The bonus? Cleveland dealt him to Seattle for a player to be named later. As Rick said so eloquently in the previous post here, Seattle isn't known for their trading prowess. Who will Cleveland get? Certainly a minor leaguer, and we'll know by May 20th. Hopefully Davis won't do anything until then to cost us a potential major leaguer in return.
Is Fausto Carmona a stopper? Here's what I can tell you. Before this season started, the biggest question was this kid's head. I don't need to tell any of you his issues last year in the pen. Well, Carmona kept leaving the ball up in the strike zone, and Oakland made him pay for it. The Fausto from last year, would have given up. The Fausto from THIS year, put it behind him. He went seven innings, and got a HUGE win for the Tribe. This SHOULD be the win that ticketed him for a full season as a starter.
So, if Fausto is STAYING, then what happens when Westbrook comes back? Is there a bigger question right now, than this? Actually, there is, but I'll get to it in a second. There really isn't much different from a couple of weeks ago when all this babble began...except for Carmona's huge outing after getting popped early and Sowers continued poor showing over his last two starts. So it's easy, right? Just demote Sowers, and keep Carmona? I still say no to that. Sowers was too good last year to think this is permanent. Sure, the hitters may have adjusted to Sowers location, but if Sowers is as good as I think he is, he'll readjust. So, then what? I don't know yet, but I DO know that we have a couple of weeks to figure it all out. Personally, I'd prefer to go to a six-man rotation at this point. I've always been the guy that says things will work out, and they usually do. The thought of having Sabathia, Carmona (as he is right now) and Westbrook 1,2,3, makes this season extremely promising. I do believe that Sowers is the real deal. We'll see if I'm right.
Grady Sizemore was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Was I the only one that saw Sizemore on the cover after pulling the magazine out of the mailbox, and immediately thought, "NOOOOO!" I know, it really wasn't a prediction cover, but there's something a little scary to me about magazine covers. Somewhere, Joe Carter and Cory Snyder probably had flashbacks. I have a future post ready for Sizemore, but I need to let this one pass. Still, a good article. Combine that with a feature piece on Larry Hughes, and you figure that SI has done it's Cleveland duties for the year.
Cleveland is playing on the tight rope. You've heard it here from all three writers, and every other blog site you happen to go to. Cleveland isn't playing near their best ball, and were winning, and winning a lot. Then came this road trip. 10 games in 10 days. That, coming off of one of the strangest April's in Indians history. The bats start to fizzle. The bullpen begins to struggle. The media begins to slam the Indians "slump." Um, are you all new to road trips? A tired team will get a much needed off day tomorrow. I have a feeling we are going to see a better team on Tuesday. Still, the Indians have to begin clicking better on offense. It's been over a month now, and there is no sign of the Tribe bats even catching smoke, let alone fire. Still, I've seen the BEST of teams look like dogs thanks to a long west coast road trip.
These dogs better start barking soon though.