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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 9/11
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
Zach Jackson: mook.  Brendan Donnelly and Juan Rincon: mooks.  Eric Wedge: mook.  The B-List: not a mook.  Enjoy.
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Orioles (65-80) 00302010X6111

W: L. Cormier (3-3)   L: Z. Jackson (0-3)   S: J. Miller (1)

Short column due to a tremendous collective overreaction to Hurricane Ike in Austin: Ike is serious ... if you live within 200 miles of the Gulf Coast. Which Austin isn't.

1) I'm thinking of a number between 1 and Mook + 1

After getting the first half of the set of "F*#& You"s after Sowers' outing Tuesday, Zach Jackson completed the set last night by throwing a thoroughly ordinary, pointlessly dismal start for his third loss of the season. Okay, it wasn?t really all that bad, but if you're going to say that Jackson is better than Sowers, then watch Sowers toss 8 shutout innings while Jackson gives up 5 in 6, well, that's not really what one considers "corroborating evidence."

Look, here's the problem: one of the things that I liked about Jackson over Sowers was that he had significantly higher ground ball rates. Sowers posted a 12:5, while Jackson split evenly at 8:8. I lauded Jackson's superior K:BB ratio and pooh-poohed Sowers': Sowers posted 7 Ks and 1 BB in 8 IP, while Jackson walked and struck out 2 apiece. Neither guy gave up a home run, but the fact that 4 of Jackson's 8 hits were for extra bases (3 doubles, 1 triple) doesn't speak well to keeping the ball from being hit solidly. Yeah, a couple of those were more down the line than wall-pounders, but ... c'mon, it wasn't good.

One thing that strikes me about Jackson is that he has the same Sabathian propensity for the Inning of Crap: after two pretty good innings to start the game (0 hits, 1 BB, 4 groundouts, 5 of 7 first-pitch strikes), Jackson gave up a triple-double-single-double sequence that gave up as many runs as Cleveland scored all game. Through the first five innings, the Orioles fouled off 11 pitches and missed ZERO. And after the Tribe tied it up at three because Lance Cormier can't field his position, Jackson ended up coming right back and giving up a single and a double to start the two-run rally that effectively ended the game. (The runs scored on a groundout and an error, but it still wasn't very good pitching.)

If there is a silver lining to all this, it is that this start was kind of out of character for Jackson: not in its overall mookitude, but rather that Jackson's command was noticeably different from his other starts. The fact that he had a flat GO:FO ratio and ended up walking two guys shows that he didn't have the same stuff he'd had before that. To his credit, he battled through without having his good stuff, and in the 6th, after having fallen behind, Jackson got his first two swings-and-misses of the game, throwing first-pitch strikes to each of the four hitters in getting through the scoreless inning with a pair of Ks.

Ultimately, Jackson may be that swingman/fifth starter kind of guy that might end up in the pen when all is said and done, but I still say that if you're looking at signing a veteran of the Paul Byrd ilk, don't bother: Jackson can do that for a whole lot less.

2) Now I'm thinking of a number between Bastard - 1 and Bastard + 1

Let me say this: in 2008, Brendan Donnelly is bad.

It?s not necessarily his fault, and it's not necessarily permanent. He's returning from UCL replacement, and command is the last thing to return. Donnelly's primary problem this season has been elevating the ball: he can't get on top of anything and his fastball is simply not good enough to blow past people at the belt. And nobody's slider works at the belt. He gets some reps, he might return to form, although the fact is he's 37, older than Paul Byrd (by months) suggests that this isn't altogether likely. But why do the reps have to be now, for Cleveland, in September? Why not in winter ball or Winter Haven or with Jonathan Winters? Why trot this guy out at this point in the season? Especially at the expense of Jon Meloan and Eddie Moo and anyone else you DON'T know what to expect from?

And Juan Rincon ... Juan Rincon ... Juan Rincon made 58 appearances in 2003, then three straight seasons of seventy-plus: 77, 75, 75. Sure, he can still throw in the mid-90s. Good for him. He's not totally finished. But look: he was bad in 2007. Bad, bad, bad. And he still made 63 appearances! He's been ground to a nice, fine paste, spread on crackers, and fed to ravenous beavers, who rejected him and used him to cement pieces of wood together to seal their dam. Forget it! Sometimes appearances AREN'T deceiving. Juan Rincon is of no help this season and is so unlikely to be of help NEXT season as to be without redeeming value.

To use one of these guys in a September game is just poor long-term (and I would argue short-term, insofar as they are bad: bad, bad, bad, bad, bad) strategy. You could possibly, possibly, POSSIBLY make an argument that you're trying to win a game, but you'd be making a very bad argument: look at their ERAs. Have I mentioned that they're bad? They're bad. But in terms of getting Meloan's feet wet or maintaining some semblance of balloon-plus sharpness on Mujica or anything else that MIGHT HAVE SOME GODDAM VALUE TO THIS TEAM NEXT SEASON, using one of them in a real, live game is counterproductive.

To use both of them in the same game is tantamount to Fan Abuse. Eric Wedge, I aim the title of this item squarely at you.

3) Positive signs from negative players

Here at The B-List, we specialize in writing off players too early based on too-small samples, then embracing them as valuable contributors based on too-small samples, then expressing frustration based on even smaller samples still. Part of the philosophy behind the column has always been to try to act as a sort of Fan Barometer, to give voice to the day-to-day emotions, frustrations, and exultations of the everyday fan. Mind you, few people you know actually talk like this and are still allowed to drive motor vehicles, but it remains the philosophy nonetheless.

To this end, let me come right out and say that I consider Josh Barfield and Andy Marte to be incredible mookish schmoes and of extremely limited value to anyone involved in major-league baseball. I don't like them as players. Barfield has an infectious smile and Marte has ... I dunno, two hands ... but anyway, in terms of thinking of them as starting 2B or 3B, I thoroughly disagree. I don't like watching them play. I think we must (and can, without severe machinations) do better.

This having been said, I will say that Josh Barfield had a pretty good game last night, smacking a single with a runner on base and eventually scoring a run by showing some speed. Even though he lined into a double play in the first with runners on 1st and 2nd, he hit the ball quite well and I blame Mike Aubrey more than Barfield for that.

Marte, on the other hand, had a VERY good game. In fact, in three trips to the plate, Marte singled twice, walked once, scored a run, and produced Cleveland's only actual RBI. I mean, you really couldn't do much better than that.

4) Shouldn't Effect follow Cause?

And for this, Marte was rewarded with a prime seat to watch Jhonny Peralta pinch-hit for him in the 9th.


I know that this "worked," insofar as Peralta got a single off "Not That" Jim Miller. But ... why are you pinch-hitting for Andy Marte there? I mean, I understand that Peralta is hitting .276 and Marte is hitting .214, but as far as I can tell, you have three options:

a) You can decide that Marte has no role with the Indians and not play him
b) You can decide that Marte has a role with the Indians and want him to develop as much as possible
c) You can jerk around in between

Here's my philosophy on (c): consider (a) to be one side of the west-bound lanes of the Ohio Turnpike. Consider (b) to be the other side. (c) is in the middle. You are an opossum. Guess which option yields the least value?

This has happened a lot to Marte (pinch-hitting in the late innings, often with JAMEY CARROLL). Just f*@&ing release the poor bastard. Or DFA him: if he sneaks through waivers, let him play in Columbus (the end of the Beefalo Era is upon us). If he doesn't, so what? You obviously hate the guy anyway. How much are you going to miss him?

5) Gold flake or grasped straw?

Overall, it's hard to say that Shin-Soo Choo had a good game: he grounded into a double play, struck out once, and couldn't throw out a runner at home (although, admittedly, with the dive he needed to catch the ball, that would have been a spectacular play). However, with one out in the 8th, Baltimore brought in left-handed reliever Jamie Walker to face Choo and Hafner. Choo watched the count get to 2-1, fouled off three straight pitches, then singled to right.

This shows me a couple things: one, that Choo can hit a lefty, and two, that the team is interested in Choo hitting lefties. The confluence of these two things suggests that Choo could be an everyday player next season, and if he hits next season like he has this one, that'd be a heckuva step-up from what we've gotten from right fielders in the past couple of years.

6) I did not know that

Rich Rundles can strike out two guys in 2/3 of an inning.

7) I would pay to see this

Ryan Garko and Mike Aubrey in a footrace. Winner gets to barbecue and eat Juan Rincon.

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