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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 5/22
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
It's a good thing I like to drink.  Because I feel genuinely sorry for the stone cold sober Indians fans that have been forced to watch the transgressions of the past week.  The only good part about a losing streak like this?  Buff gets even funnier.  Today on The B-List, we'll take a trip around the human body, discussing each player's contribution in terms of how functional a body part they can be compared with.  Ready?  Let's begin! 
Indians (22-25) (3rd 4.5 GB CHW)001000000121
White Sox (26-20) 10000002X381

W: Linebrink (1-0) L: Laffey (2-3) S: Jenks (12) 

Today on The B-List, we'll take a trip around the human body, discussing each player's contribution in terms of how functional a body part they can be compared with.  Ready?  Let's begin! 

1) Aaron Laffey 

At this point, Aaron Laffey is the only pitcher in the rotation within a lucky ground ball's placement of having no poor outings.  Given the performance of the rest of the staff, this is a pretty impressive accomplishment. 

See, it's not just that Laffey has good counting stats: it's also that Laffey has built these counting stats on the back of having no real letdown: in his four starts since the first, he has given up 1, 0, 1, and 2 runs.  You can count the first start and still not find an outing in which he gave up as many hits as innings pitched.  His double to Haley Joel Osment in the first was only the second extra-base hit he's allowed in 33 2/3 innings.  His season WHIP is under 1.00 at 0.89, his season ERA of 1.60 hides two unearned runs (one on an egregious error by Laffey himself), but even then his RA is 2.14, plenty good enough.  And his 20:6 K:BB ratio, although not good in terms of raw K-rate, is still quite excellent at 3.33. 

Laffey scattered six hits, and the fact that the first two were to the first two hitters of the game led to the first run (on a groundout).  Still, he got out of that inning by whiffing both Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome with a runner in scoring position, and after that was largely brilliant.  He erased one single with a double play, and the two men to reach third did so with two outs and were stranded.  His second run came after he faced a single batter in the 8th and let him single.  (Toby Hall?  3-for-3?  Toby Hall?) 

I'm not entirely sure what to make of Laffey's low GO:FO ratios this season.  For the season he's at 1.86, which is good for a normal pitcher, but strangely low for Laffey: last night, the ratio was 9:6.  The optimist in me would like to believe that Laffey has determined he can keep hitters more off-balance and get through a third pass through a lineup if he doesn't depend so heavily on his sinker.  I don't know if that's really true, though. 

Anyway, Laffey is now 2-3 on the season: in his first loss, he was victimized by fortune and defense, in his second by Casey BlakE, and in his third by a combination of offensive woe and bullpen inheritance.  The Indians have scored 2, 0, 12, 4, and 1 runs in Laffey's starts; this marks the 4th consecutive start Laffey has gone 7 innings.  That's pretty darned valuable. 

The body requires two basic things to move: muscles that contract and something to attach them to.  Mammals use rigid bones to act as the anchor for these muscles.  Note that muscles only contract or relax: in order to perform movement in two directions, you need paired muscle groups, like your biceps and triceps in your upper arm.  If your arm is bent and you straighten it out, you can have the largest, most powerful bicep in the world and it does you zero good: all it can do is relax during that movement.  Laffey isn't necessarily the anchor of the entire team, but he did make it go, something he's done before. 

Analogous body part: skeletal musculature 

2) Grady Sizemore 

Cleveland's run (singluar) scored when Grady Sizemore was able to stroke a double off left-hander Mark Buehrle in the third inning with men on first and second.  It's a shame two runs didn't score, but it wasn't really That Kind Of Double.  After a flurry of extra-base hits, Sizemore has settled back into a more pedestrian set, although his last two hits have been doubles.  Still, he slugged .423 in April and is slugging .431 in May, using a March homer to propel his SLG up to .438 on the season. 

I think it may be time to consider Sizemore less of a .300/.400/.500 .900-OPS player and more of a .275/.375/.450 .825-OPS player.  Is this completely fair?  Probably not: Sizemore slugged .484, .533, and .462 in his previous three seasons.  But I haven't really seen anything from Sizemore this season that suggests that the .533 was truly more than a career gork.  I guess what I'm saying is, Sizemore, like Jhonny Peralta, may have peaked in terms of power early, and now needs to be thought of as a Very Good Player rather than Elite. 

By the way, Sizemore still struggles mightily against lefties, hitting them at a .186/.352/.349 clip, so the double off Buehrle was especially encouraging. 

The lungs of the body circulate air, allowing the red blood cells to release waste products like carbon dioxide and have the iron-rich hemoglobin bond with free oxygen (in the form of O2 molecules).  Oddly enough, the air we breathe has about 18% oxygen, and what we exhale still has on the order of 12%, so we are not particularly efficient metabolizers of oxygen.  Still, the lungs are vital, and when they fail, the only options (artificial respiration) result in the near-total immobilization of the body. 

Analogous body part: lung 

3) Victor Martinez 

Victor Martinez had to leave the game after his second at-bat with an unspecified finger injury, described as "non-baseball related."  This is baseball-speak for "he punched something." 

Martinez is already temporarily immortalized in a YouTube video of him kicking a plastic container of sunflower seeds, then getting his foot stuck in the container for nearly a minute.  I have no doubt that this part of the season is frustrating Martinez, because this part of Martinez' season is frustrating ME.  Martinez is still hitting .300 on the season, but with an OBP of .344 and a SLG of .357, he has become a very, very slow Juan Pierre.  His hot start masks a May in which he has hit .207/.266/.259, which is truly pathetic.  He is still looking for his first home run this season.  In a very real way, part of this is his platoon split: normally a player with little if any difference from the two sides of the plate, the switch-hitting Martinez is hitting .243/.295/.291 as a left-handed batter, while punishing left-handers like Buehrle from the right side at a .459/.487/.541 clip.  This difference is humongous, and I have no good explanation for it.  However, since he has almost thrice the plate appearances from the left side, it bodes ill for the season. 

The stomach is the primary engine of the digestive system: it doesn't provide any actual nutritional or energy because it is solely used to break down ingested food both chemically (through stomach acid and other enzymes) and physically (through vigorous churning motion).  It is the small intestine that absorbs the nutrients in the food so that their chemicals can be used via the Krebs cycle to provide energy to the cells of the body, and deliver other chemicals like vitamins, proteins, and fats to various metabolical processes.  In a normal year, I would describe Martinez as the small intestine, delivering the energy and building materials to the body of the team, but this year, he is simply ... 

Analogous body part: stomach 

4) Ben Francisco 

Francisco's hit was no more than a bunt single, but ... that's part of the point, isn't it?  That if you aren't doing as well as you'd like and see an opportunity, you take the opportunity?  Francisco came into the game hitting a robust .340, which is frankly unsustainable.  Francisco is no more a .340 hitter than he is a puffer fish, but he is a good hitter and he is performing well.  His first at-bat involved fouling off a pair of 3-2 pitches before grounding out, and getting to 3-2 from 1-2.  His second at-bat was one of those "game of inches" moments where his liner to short was caught with runners on second and third: although you might say he didn't do his job scoring the runner from third with one out, a small variation in the flight of the ball and he'd have driven in two runs with a single instead. 

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Francisco is an All-Star waiting to happen and that all our corner outfielder problems are solved, but I will say that he looks like a legitimate major-leaguer.  He doesn't have enough at-bats to discuss splits in any real meaningful way, but he does currently have over a .300 average against both right and left-handed pitching, both at home and away, and both in April and May.  I don't see a reason not to consider Francisco an everyday player for this team at this time. 

Men tend to think of muscles as being in your upper body, thinking of the showy biceps and pectoral muscles of bodybuilders and professional wrestlers, but the largest muscle in your body is actually your gluteal complex, otherwise known as the buttocks.  Past that, the thigh muscles are also larger, which only stands to reason being that they are the primary support and regular motion drivers.  Still, the upper part of the back and shoulders are capable of supporting a lot of weight, but only in tandem with the large muscle complexes described earlier. 

Analogous body part: upper back and shoulders 

5) Ryan Garko 

Ryan Garko drew a walk. 

The spleen is an organ which helps filter blood by destroying old red blood cells and acts as a storage system in case of accident.  It can be safely removed from the body, although the body is then more prone to certain kinds of infection.  The really interesting thing about the spleen is that if it is removed, you will have no spleen. 

Analogous body part: spleen 

6) Asdrubal Cabrera 

Asdrubal Cabrera drew a walk. 

Analogous body part: spleen 

7) Jhonny Peralta 

Jhonny Peralta drew a walk. 

Analogous body part: spleen 

8) Franklin Gutierrez 

Franklin Gutierrez drew a walk. 

Analogous body part: ruptured spleen 

9) Casey Blake 

Casey Blake did not draw a walk. 

Analogous body part: spleen 

10) Kelly Shoppach 

Shoppach replaced the injured Martinez and accomplished nothing of value, although he did commit an error. 

Analogous body part: spleen 

11) Travis Hafner 

Hafner has been performing much better of late, having a May OPS of almost .900 as recently as early this week after a dreadful .637-OPS April.  However, his 1-for-12 series against Chicago was punctuated by a pair of strikeouts last night, driving his May OPS back down under .750. 

Look, objectively, Hafner may be a spleen, but I'm more frustrated with him because of a variety of factors, mostly that he can't drive pitches that he used to punish.  More infuriating, he doesn't drive them not because he makes poor contact, but because he makes NO contact, either missing entirely or watching it go by. 

The appendix is a vestigal organ, possibly from our post-reptilian ancestors, and was potentially used as a foreign object filter much in the manner of a gizzard in birds.  It no longer serves any useful purpose, and it's only function is to get infected, rupture, and flood the body with potentially life-threatening poison.  Its removal has no impact on the body and is celebrated with the consumption of ice cream. 

Analogous body part: appendix 

12) David Dellucci 

David Dellucci pinch-hit for Franklin Newtierrez against the right-hander Scott Linebrink, who sports a reverse platoon split.  He promptly struck out. 

He then trotted into the field and made two of the feeblest, most pointless, excruciatingly ugly throws from the left field position I've seen since my days as a second baseman for the Polish American Club team in the North Hills Little League in Akron, Ohio.  I am incapable of more rational thought on the subject of David Dellucci. 

The human body is a complex thing, but in fact it's a lot more complex than you might think.  There are estimates that if you counted all the cells in your body, no more than 10% of them would be actual human cells.  In concert with these cells with complex 46-chromosome DNA, many trillions of cells belong to species of bacteria and other life that work in tandem with us: they help us digest food, they help us moisturize our skin, and sometimes, hey, they don't help per se, but rather form a more simple relationship like using us as a place to live.  Most of these cells aren't noticeable in any way, and have simply evolved alongside humans and other life forms to be part of a beautiful and complex system of living. 

Some are noticeable. 

Analogous body part: tapeworm 

13) Eric Wedge 

Analogous body part: Trypanosoma brucei 

14) Department of Corrections Dept. 

It was not the Ford Pinto that had the wheel fall off my father's car, but rather his Plymouth Duster.  After having the wheel replaced, the car was given to my uncle, who drove it for another 100,000 miles.  Meanwhile, the Pinto retained possibly the ugliest paint job in human history, even to my colorblind eye. 

15) Completely False Statement for the Google Search Engine 

Mark Shapiro does not exist.  Actually, this is Tom Mastny.  Fire Craig Breslow.

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