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Indians Indians Archive The Weekend Wrap
Written by Brian McPeek

Brian McPeek

Wrap copyThere’s very little to talk about this week in Cleveland sports other than the Indians, unless you’re talking about Jimmy Halsam’s potential indictment (and I’m not). So let’s look at the Tribe and a reclamation project that appears to be working out better than we could have hoped. Just for kicks we’ll also look at LeFlop James and two golfers acting like….well…like a couple whiny and spoiled golfers.

It’s The Weekend Wrap.

Tribe Still Riding the Wave

Some random and brief thoughts on the past week of Indians baseball:

~ Anyone surprised that Angel Hernandez reviewed the replay of last Wednesday’s disputed home run by the A’s Adam Rosales and still got it wrong probably doesn’t know of Angel Hernandez. I’ve heard a dozen interviews all basically stating that he carries himself like he’s far more important than he is and that he’s an arrogant prick who doesn’t believe in the replay system. Truthfully, I find it hard to believe that anyone would purposely ignoe the video evidence and call that a double based solely on ego, but it wouldn’t stun me and it might be the only feasible explanation.

~ What’s scarier than an egomaniac umpire like Hernandez is the fact that four umpires in the Angels-Astros game didn’t know a substitution rule that any Lake County Class A umpire would know and understand. It may be time for another leaching and bloodletting of umpires to get some fresh umpires in the game. It seems like about every decade some of these guys get fat, lazy or decide they are bigger than the game itself and the profession needs to be ‘cleansed’. So cleanse it. Post haste, please.

~ I’m not buying the Ubaldo stock. No way. No one’s happier than I am that he’s won three straight decisions but I’m watching a guy who’s not dominating hitters so much as surviving most of them right now. I’ll take it and I understand that his strikeout numbers against Detroit do not support my argument, but I’m still seeing the same 91-93mph stuff from Jimenez that I saw when he was getting lit up in April. I just don’t see the results he’s gotten the last two weeks as being sustainable unless the velocity continues to climb.

Like I said, I’ll take what he’s don’t the last three starts all day, every day, and I hope he’s reverting back to the form that once made him dominant. But I just don’t see that guy out there. I see a guy still struggling to figure out where 2010 Ubaldo went and why 2013 Ubaldo seems to have to rely on smoke and mirrors instead of 97-98mph hard stuff that made every other pitch a bad guessing game for hitters.

~ I’m also not ready to anoint Scott Kazmir as the MLB Comeback Player of the Year just yet. But I’m a lot closer to buying big on Kazmir than I am on Jimenez. And velocity is again the reason. Take a look at this article from February 13, 2013 that Drive Line Baseball (@drivelinebases on Twitter) was kind enough to forward me on Kazmir.

It’s from a blog by the guys at Dynamic Sports Training, where Kazmir went to try and revive his career after he was released by the Angels. A couple key points as lifted from the article, but by all means, read it for yourself:

The first thing everyone wants to know about Kazmir is his velocity. After his release, Scott’s velocity had dipped into the low 80’s. I know. I've caught his bullpens since his release from the Angels. I can say that the last time we got on the radar gun, he registered 93mph on the gun with only his warm-up pitches being under 90mph. That was this fall. Today, he consistently registered 92-94 on the radar gun and topped out at 96mph. The tempo in his delivery, which was very slow and off-balance last year, has returned to the smooth, athletic-looking delivery and follow through that Rays fans had been accustomed to watching.

            The next thing people want to know is about his slider that was so dominant at one time. When he was released, it was a cement mixer with little break if any at all. I remember several bullpen sessions based soley on the slider that would not come around. Zero break. ZERO. As of the last bullpen he not only has depth and lateral movement back, but it is very sharp. Today, it was on display in BIG fashion. It was sharp and fast at 84mph (his fastball topped at 83mph in a Dominical Winter League game two winters ago).”

So why did Kazmir lose that velocity in the first place? Well, Drive Line Baseball believes it’s an age-old dilemma for pitchers in that Kazmir had command issues and the advice of MLB coaches was to slow down his delivery. That led to the velocity drop, didn’t lead to better command, crushed his confidence and resulted in one of the brightest prospects in all of baseball a decade ago being out of the game at 29 years old.

And while you credit the Indians for bringing Kazmir in and you credit Terry Francona and Mickey Calloway for giving Kazmir the extended opportunity in the spring, you really have to give Kazmir himself all the credit in the world. Not only did he give himself over to the guys at DST to reshape and rebuild him but he also went all out in terms of strength and conditioning and rebuilt his body to where it needs to be.

It’s a great story and it is work that resulted in Kazmir striking out 10 Oakland A’s this past Thursday with the last three of his 102 pitches registering at 95, 95 and 96mph on the gun.

Hold your breath and hope for the best with Kazmir. The Indians have a long and proud history of rehabbing guys like this who either never make it back or who have minimal success. Getting a solid year from Scott Kazmir, and this version of Kazmir being the guy who he was almost a decade ago as opposed to some broken down former fire-baller now trying to get buy on breaking stuff and balls, well, that would be a huge bonus for the Indians this season.

Either way, that’s a guy I can’t help but root for because of the work he’s put into getting back to where he was and maybe even going beyond that. Stay healthy, kid.

~ Good to see Asdrubal Cabrera heating up and getting some big hits for the Indians this past week. You can see Cabbie and Jason Kipnis starting to get it rolling a bit and the Indians already dangerous offense will benefit greatly with those guys putting up just ordinary Cabrera and Kipnis numbers.

~ Get well soon, Vinnie Pestano. The later innings are a little more exciting than I prefer without you locking down that 8th inning.

~ Dear Chris Perez: nothing wrong with the occasional 1-2-3 ninth inning.


On a Loop

I love watching this video of Nazr Mohammed shoving LeBron James.

I love it because I like seeing guys finally quit capitulating to LBJ and because it supports the fact that at 6’8”, 260lbs, LeBron James may be the biggest wussy to ever walk an NBA court.

For God’s sake, Nazr Mohammed has trouble forcefully closing a screen door and yet LeBron went sprawling and falling like he was the midget in a dwarf-tossing contest Friday night in Chicago.

He flopped. And then he lay on the floor and waited for guys who actually have scrotums and testicles to stand up to Mohammed for him. That really isn’t surprising at all. LeBron is about the phoniest bad ass to ever suit up. He’ll scowl and flex and roll his shoulders, but he’s not a guy who will stand up for himself on the floor.

Players see this and privately laugh and roll their eyes with regard to LBJ. Guys who actually have backbones in the NBA think LBJ is a joke. Not in terms of his talent and ability. They know he’s as gifted as anyone to ever play basketball. But they also know he’s a fraud and a poser when it comes to the menacing stares and his tough guy act.

James probably has another five years at the top of his game athletically. When he starts hitting the downside of his physical prime you can bet your house that guys are going to take a run at him. Guys are going to fear him less for the retribution he can exact on the court as his skills wane and they’ll remember how much of a phony he was on the floor.

I love watching what James does on the court. In a basketball sense he’s the best and most complete player I’ve ever seen. As a human being he’s a fake and a fraud. But basketball will end one day soon enough for LBJ. And then he’ll have to live out the rest of his life as what he truly. Here’s hoping he improves that part of his game, though it might be more fun to watch if he doesn’t.


Jesus. Listening to Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods whine and cry about Tiger’s lack of etiquette (and it was clearly Tiger’s lack of etiquette that caused this row) reminded me of Sheldon and Leonard from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ arguing over some math equation or having a disagreement over some comic book.

These two guys have had their puds rubbed by media members and hangers-on since they hit puberty, have enjoyed silver spoon living for the majority of their lives and yet they can’t play nice in the sand box for five freaking hours without coming off as petulant little girls who both want to play with the same dollie.

And Woods was wrong. Not only should have he waited a few extra moments before hitting his shot out of the trees and the rough, but he should have enough balls not to blame the marshal for allegedly giving him bad information.

Replays clearly show that never happened and that Woods simply selected his club and moved toward his golf ball while Garcia was still in his approach and swing. There was no marshal telling Tiger he was clear to play. The fact Tiger invented that point is just another indication that he’s unwilling to take accountability for the error and that, despite apologies and ‘responsibility’ for his actions a couple years back, he’s still a selfish prick who doesn’t really care about anything other than himself. Any apologies or ‘accountability’ he took for his promiscuity and infidelity a couple years back sure seemed insincere at the time and designed to save what few endorsement deals he had remaining after most sponsors dropped hi like a tap-in par.

Don’t take that as a defense of Garcia. Garcia is pretty much the Euro version of Tiger but without that certain something (courage, calm, clutch?) that actually allows him to take ridiculous talent and turn it into ridiculous results. Yes, Garcia wins and he’s disgustingly wealthy. And yes, he’s been at the heart of some thrilling European Ryder Cup wins, but bottom line is Garcia’s individual career has been disappointing in terms of winning majors and winning when the pressure is greatest. He flat-out gagged away the 2007 British Open and blamed on bad breaks and bad luck. He’s always been more than willing to look everywhere but in the mirror when it comes to his failings and his whining this weekend fits the form he’s kept since he was a kid.

But these guys apparently can’t understand how petty and childish they look when they spend their time sniping at each other and crying about one thing or another. Woods was wrong for taking that shot at that time and inventing some imaginary marshal who told him to proceed. Garcia was wrong for being a bitch about it and not addressing the issue with Woods directly instead of in the media.

Shut up and golf, girls.

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