Monday, September 3, 2007

Game 136: White Sox Shut Out Indians Win Streak

The Cleveland Indians had their eight game winning streak ended abruptly, as the Chicago White Sox and Jose Contreras shut out the Tribe 8-0. It just wasn’t pretty.
Jake Westbrook, the hottest Tribe starter (and that is saying something), gave up 11-hits in his five innings against the American League’s worst hitting teams. He gave up only four runs, three of them earned. He was a fighter last night, but repeatedly left his pitches up high. He’s most effective with the slider low, and he just didn’t have it consistently. I like this pitching staff because it wins. But more than that, this staff is loaded with guys that can make bad situations not so much. If the offense had been there early, Westbrook did enough to keep the Tribe in the game.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Game 135: Cleveland’s Byrd Baffles White Sox for Complete Game Shutout

How good was Paul Byrd today? Up until A.J. Pierzinski walked in the eighth inning, Paul Byrd faced the minimum batters. After Jerry Owens was caught stealing in the fourth inning on a perfect throw by Byrd battery-mate Kelly Shoppach, Byrd retired the next 12 batters in a row. He was that good.
With the 7-0 complete game shutout over the White Sox, Byrd’s second this year, Byrd moved to 14-5. He has won his last four starts, and seven of his past eight. He has walked 23 batters…not during that span, BUT THE WHOLE SEASON. Of all the Tribe starters, he has the highest winning percentage, to go along with second on the team in wins, with fourteen. He’s tied with Fausto. Now, raise your hand if at the beginning of the season, you thought Fausto and Byrd would have 28 wins combined on September 1st. Okay, now those of you that have your hands up…put them down liars. Sure, Byrd has his bad outings, but in between those rare occurances, Byrd has been an exceptional pitcher this season. He’s been much better than his 4.19 ERA suggests. Byrd is as old school as you get, and you can tell that the Indians want to win for him. Sure, they want to win for all the others as well, but there’s something about Byrd that maybe makes the team buckle down even more. Maybe it’s the old-school windup. Maybe it’s the old school jersey pants that only go down to the knees. Maybe it’s the way he throws strikes. Whatever it is, Cleveland scores for Byrd, and when he pitches like he does tonight, it makes for an easy win.

Cleveland Calls Up Four Players from Buffalo

September 1 means september call-ups, and the Indians called up four players to help during the stretch run. Ben Francisco was recalled to play some outfield for Cleveland. He had a pretty successful year when he was brought up earlier, and certainly has the skills to stay with the big club. There just isn’t any room. Mike Koplove was brought up to help the Indians in the pen. Koplove started his career with Arizona. Cleveland picked him up this season, and he’s been solid in Buffalo. He was 4-2 with 14 saves in 51 appearances there. He was up briefly with the Tribe Cliff Lee was also brought back for a spot in the bullpen pitching long relief, as well as making some spot starts to give the starters some rest. Luis Rivas was more than a bit of a surprise. Rivas was signed at the beginning of the season to compete for the utility slot. He lost out to Mike Rouse. I can’t quite figure out why they brought up Rivas, and he wasn’t on the 40-man roster. Since the 40-man roster is full, Cleveland will have to take someone off. Stay tuned for who that is over the next day or two.

Game 134: Cleveland Agitates Ozzie G with Big Comback Victory

The sure thing every year in the American League Central is that at some point, Ozzie Guillen is going to blow up on his club…more than once. This past week was no exception, as he hammered his Sox for their pathetic play. There is some speculation that Guillen’s style has worn thin with his players, and management, and that he may find himself out of a job if the White Sox don’t find a way to win over the last month of the season.

Cleveland was only happy to add to the anguish.