Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Sunday Drive with 22-4, hope for the starters, and THE DIATRIBE

There truly haven't been many better weekends to be a Tribe fan than this one. The Indians have walked into New York City and just blitzed the Yankees as they opened up their new, $1.5 billion dollar dalliance into the ridiculous. Who would have thought that the opening day blitz was just a welcome mat to the massacre that was produced yesterday, when the Indians poured a can of 22-runs on the hapless Yankees pitching staff. Sure, the Indians lost 6-5 to the Yankees in the midst of the two blowouts, but talk about maximum effort to beat a team. The Yankees were forced to hit five home runs to score those six runs.

Today's game is still just icing on the cake for me. On the hill is Carl Pavano, who has been vilified in New York City as the potential anti-christ. The boos that he has received this weekend have been nothing short of spectacular. Even better has been Pavano's handling of the situation. He seems to be taking a sardonic pleasure in it, as have his teammates, who have been razzing him relentlessly about it. My favorite comment from Pavano came the day after the opening festivity-Pavano-boo-fest, courtesy of writer, Anthony Castrovince's blog, Castro Turf:

Carl Pavano had a little press conference in the dugout this morning. He talked about that "ovation" he received yesterday and joked that he might need a riot squad with him to walk the streets of this city. The highlight came when Yankees GM Brian Cashman approached Pavano to say hello, and Pavano asked him, "Were you one of the ones booing me yesterday?" Cashman replied, "I was booing in the seventh inning."
I don't know what to expect from the former Yankees pitcher today, but if he manages to beat the Yankees in New York, talk about your icing. Either way, The 40-ish (37 and counting) runs that the Indians put up against the Yankees won't be forgotten any time soon.

More on the Yankees new $1.5 million band box, the starters, the offense, and The Diatribe, after the jump...

Raise your hand if you have spent at least an hour laughing about the joke of a stadium the Yankees are stuck with for the near future. It truly is a beautiful park, if you can afford to go to a game. Of course, if you gave any idiot $1.5 million dollars, that idiot could build a beautiful park. What's been amusing to me about the whole expenditure is how that figure is tossed around as though it's been earned. I can't count on all my appendages how many times I've heard, "The Yankees 85 years has earned them this stadium." I'm sorry, isn't it a baseball stadium?

What I found most amusing (discounting the Saturday beat-down) were all the empty seats in the lower decks. I suppose you could make a case on Friday, with it being an afternoon game, that people were working. Of course, the opening series for the Yankees new stadium SHOULD bring in the people, right? So either Yankees' fans weren't interested in the game (doubtful), or couldn't afford the tickets (likely). And what was the excuse when the same thing happened on Saturday? It's just another case of ownership not taking into account the real people that actually come to games. Gone are the days when a father and son can just walk into a game and find an affordable seat somewhere close to the action. What a joke.

On top of that, when you actually look at the field of play, the Yankees could have a very interesting season in Year 1. I know that both the Yankees and the Indians have outstanding offenses, but what I've witnessed, in April mind you, is pretty far beyond just the offenses. In the three games played there thusfar, there have been 17 home runs hit. Now fast forward to the summer, when balls carry better. Yeah, I know, the Yankees better give Dave Kingman a call. It will be interesting to see how pitchers like CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett handle this new stadium, and how the balls seem to carry better.

I'm not all that surprised that the starters are struggling, are you? Everything that I've read about the Indians since the end of last season predicted the ailments we're seeing now with the front five. Most predicted that Lee would be more of a battler this year, than the Cy Young ace we saw last season. Most predicted that Carmona was more of a battler than he was for that one brilliant season, now more than a year past. Most predicted that Pavano would likely pitch like a roller coaster ride. Most predicted that Anthony Reyes is a stubborn pitcher, who has a wind up that will ultimately shred his shoulder and his elbow. If he would ever just learn to pitch. Most predicted that David Huff would be the #5...oh wait...Scott Lewis...Aaron get my point.

Huff looks to be warming up a bit in AAA, and I'll make a wager that he shows up on this roster before June. I'm hoping that Laffey finally puts it all together. I'm hoping that Reyes will finally start to pitch, and stop trying to throw the ball through steel. I'm hoping that Jake Westbrook comes back healthy. I'm just hoping that the starters don't destroy an already struggling bullpen. So far, it hasn't been good for many pitchers, starters or relievers. Something has to give though, or this offense will be wasted.

Terry Pluto threw up a nice piece today, but I'm going to focus on what he said about Michael Brantley.

Michael Brantley was hitting .290, but minor-league director Ross
Atkins said Brantley "has hit the ball as hard as anyone" for the
Clippers. The team's leadoff man, Brantley also had five walks in 31
official plate appearances. "It's one quality at-bat after another for
Brantley," raved Atkins.
Matt LaPorta is a given in this lineup at some point over the next 12 months, but I truly think that Brantley is the guy that will make the Indians lineup go from being something above average, to something special. I keep thinking about this kid with a near .400 OBP at the top of the lineup, in front of Sizemore, Hafner, Choo, Martinez, Peralta, DeRosa, get my point. Add LaPorta or Crowe or whoever you want...but wow, what a difference a kid like Brantley could make.

Finally, every week I plan on talking up a Tribe blog that stands out above the rest. It's not going to be equal opportunity posting either, but blogs that actually do stand out to us here at Sons of Geronimo. So the first weekly SoG award for blog of the week goes out to Paul Cousineau over at The Diatribe. What I like the most about the blog is that PC is a fan, and that's what comes out in his posts. It's not about posting every day, or posting after every game. It's about posting when he has something to say about something that's happened (10-2 or 22-4), someone that's said something, or his normal "Lazy Sunday" posts which combine all of the above. I've never been a big SABR guy, but the diatribe throws up some SABR-metrics that aren't trying to smack you in the face.

Paul and Tony Lastoria from Indians Prospect Insider, also have a weekly Blog Talk Radio show every Thursday Night at 9:30, usually with multiple minor league guests, as well as Tribe Talk. If you haven't checked it out yet, you can do so RIGHT HERE, at Blog Talk Radio's The Cleveland Fan Live.

Here's to the Cleveland Cavaliers, for going up 1-0 on the New Jersey Nets yesterday. Aren't they supposed to beat the Wizards in the first round anyways, then have the rest of the NBA whine that the only reason why they won is because of injuries? Speaking of which, Kevin Garnett is out for the playoffs, and the Celtics lost in overtime to the Bulls and that Rose kid from Memphis. Boy, they aren't trying to make this kid the next big thing, are they? It's a long series Chicago, and I wouldn't get to used to winning.

With all that said, have a fantastic week of baseball everybody...

and don't forget to check your rearviewwindow for the Yankees' home opener. If you look close enough, you'll see it crying, a lot.

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