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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 4/14 - 4/16
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
 Did this team become the 1968 Indians and no one told me? I would say it reminds me of the '95 Tribe's struggles against left-handers, but nothing reminds me of the '95 Tribe, least of all a left fielder whose OBP outstrips his SLG.

1) Nice game, but you still have to carry the bags

Fausto Carmona tossed six quality innings to get the only win of the series, striking out 4 while yielding a handful of singles. In a series where the Tigers did most of their damage via the longball, it was refreshing to see a pitcher keep the ball in the park. I'm not sure Carmona is ever going to look like a dominant Ace, but he sure hits spots well. Kind of like what Paul Byrd was supposed to do ...
By the way, Fabulous Ferd has been put on the DL with an injury that appears to have been a surprise to him, allowing us to keep Carmona and Jason Davis on the big-league roster. Has this become the NBA? (Note that I am not necessarily to objecting to keeping the guys with 1.50 and 2.25 ERAs over the guy with the 17+ ERA.)

2) Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's not a sinkerball!

It's tempting to draw some sort of Big Important Conclusion from Jake Westbrook giving up 6 extra-base hits, including 3 homers, and generally leaving the ball up in the zone. I think the most reasonable conclusion is, "He had a bad day." I'm not necessarily shaking this off as nothing to worry about, since his GB:FB ratios have been significantly lower than last year's or the year's before, but I think sometimes you have to simply shrug it off. Giving up three taters in Comerica is no small feat, however, considering that two of them were to Brandon Inge, who bats ninth, and one was to Curtis Granderson, who is not Chris Shelton. (Actually, Granderson has plenty of pop.)

3) My Favorite Player Needs Support!

What, is this supposed to be some sort of amusing karmic balance where the guy who goes 18-5 because of run support gets a cosmic "Neener neener!" on the day when he actually makes it to the eighth inning? One mistake pitch, or we might still be playing.

I'm still concerned about this guy pitching in the heat of summer in any smaller ballpark, though. 13 fly balls to 3 ground balls? Does his fastball go up? Maybe he throws a six-seamer.

4) We have chocolate, we have vanilla, and this month's special is the Chris Shelton Ripple.

He may be the flavor-of-the-month, but Chris Shelton's 4-for-11 weekend dropped his average to a paltry .479, and he produced the only run in Sunday's game with his 8th bomb. Batting sixth, behind such lumiaries as Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge. You know, I don't care how hot Carlos Guillen is, or how much improvement Omar Infante (at DH!) has shown, with Shelton at the plate this month, I might just pull out the widest selection of Super Gunk imaginable.

5) I always liked that guy!

Todd Hollandsworth went 2-for-5 in his debut as a starter, including a pair of doubles and RBI and a spectacular homer-robbing grab in the outfield. I knew signing that guy was a good move! Why, as far back as February, I was telling anyone who would listen that ... well ... um ... okay, I was bad-mouthing him pretty much any chance I got. I'm not hypocritical, I'm mercurial. Yeah, that's it.
Okay, you got me. He had a great game, and I still dislike the signing.

6) The return of the bullpen

Fat lot of good it did, but it was nice to see the bullpen actually throw some strikes. Raffy struck out the two he faced Sunday to get out of a jam (and set up the Major Argh), and struck out two more (10 strikes, 2 balls) in support of Carmona on Saturday. Matt Miller struck out four guys in two innings and didn't manage to hit a batter, umpire, or mascot. Jason Davis continued to look like a major-league pitcher: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 K, 0 R, 0 BB, 3:1 GB:FB. Looks like that "both" thing is coming through ...

7) Well of course your average went down, you only went 1-for-3

Casey Blake this weekend: 2-for-3 with a walk, 1-for-3 with a walk, 1-for-2 with a sacrifice. And he even got to move up out of the ninth slot (to eighth! Woo woo!), although an admission that your batting skill outstrips that of Kelly Shoppach is not exactly earth-shattering encouragement. More like, "I see, you're walking on TWO legs! Good for you!"

8) What's that pumpkin doing out there with the carriages?

Eduardo Perez would probably have looked worse had he been wearing a chicken suit, but that's about all I came up with. A pair of 0-for-3s and 2 GIDP on Friday, one with the bases loaded. Great googly moogly! Perhaps Rogers and Maroth each developed screwballs. Or perhaps betting on the 36-year-old ex-Devil Ray to play a significant role isn't the soundest wager of 2006.

(Note: this heading was going to be attached to Aaron Boone until he went 2-for-3 Sunday.)

9) Argh Factor: 8

After Boone gets on and Blake moves him to second (BTW, is there a hotter hitter than Blake and I missed it? I understand playing the percentages, but is Blake getting on base at a .500 clip or not?), Martinez draws a walk to set up the top of the order. Which promptly watches one strike three (Sizemore) and waves at another (Michaels). Isn't the top of the order supposed to be better than the bottom?

10) Jinx Dept.

This is where I do not mention Victor Martinez.

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