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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 5/12-5/14
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
Six losses in a row. Three to the Royals and three to the Tigers. Buff angry. Looking for a bright spot, he did supply me with a new quote of the day in this column. "Danny Graves designated for assignment. I will miss him in the same way political cartoonists miss Dan Quayle."
Another mixed bag for the Indians this weekend: the offense sucked on Friday, but then sucked on Saturday, and then to change things up, it sucked on Sunday.  There are many flavors of suck, although, truth be told, they all taste pretty sucky.

1) My Favorite Player is a banana!

Go to the store and buy seven bananas.  Make sure they're just slightly green: nobody wants to eat a green banana.

The first banana on the first day is a little bit off: it's not quite sweet enough, and a little firm, but it's still edible.

The second, third, and fourth bananas are damned good.  Bananas are high in potassium, you know.

The fifth banana, well, it's starting to get black spots on it, and it's a litle soft in places.  It's still edible, no problem, but the apples are starting to look pretty good in the fruit bowl.

The sixth banana is not very attractive.  You get lucky now and then and it ages better than most sixth bananas, but it is rapidly going to the dogs.  It is time to reconsider buying so many damned bananas at one time.

The seventh banana gets tossed without even peeling it.  It is a disgusting mess, not even a fruit any more, but rather an odious collection of bruises, spots, mealiness, and general unpleasantness that should be discarded almost without exception.

And this is Cliff Lee's pitching.  Now, how many times are you going to throw away the seventh banana when the sixth banana is only good half the time anyway?

2) Rain, rain, go away

Actually, the rain's no so bad.  "Tigers, Tigers, go away" would be more appropriate.  Although at times, the Indians' version appeared to be, "Brain cells, brain cells, go away."  We need a new rhyme.  How about, "Brain cells, brain cells, come the fuck back?"  Given a choice of the three, I'd rather have brain cells, rain, and no Tigers, or brain cells, Tigers, and no rain.  Rain, Tigers, and no brain cells was not a particularly satisfying experience, quite frankly.

3) Singling out Casey Blake

How many times was Casey Blake singled out for his performance last season?  I can't remember another player more consistently vilified, since Aaron Boone got some passes over the summer.  Well, all Blake did was pound two homers Friday, get a hit Saturday (one of five for the Indians, total), and stroke another hit to go with a pair of walks (one intentional, no one wants to face Blake with runners on base, after all) on Sunday.
How does this single Blake out?  Because he was the only consistent offensive force the whole bloody weekend.  Only Sizemore and Boone reached base in all three games, although each did it without the benefit of a hit in one of the games.  Ed Perez got a hit in each of the two games in which he played, but his egregious misplay lost Sunday's game virtually single-no-handedly, so no soup for him.

4) Baseball is a game of inches

Hafner's drive to the wall looked like it might win the game Sunday, but it didn't.

Eduardo Perez looked like he would play first base Sunday, but he didn't.

Jhonny Peralta looked like he hit a foul ball, but he didn't.  For a guy with such a big, round head, the internal workings seem to be less functional than you'd expect.

Perez and Hafner thought they would go to second base Friday, but they didn't.  Okay, maybe baseball is a game of feet sometimes.  Yards.  Furlongs.  Parsecs.  (Boo.)

5) It's the pitching, stupid

Well, except when it's not.  The only truly weak performance was Lee in the seventh inning of Friday's game: Johnson crusied Sunday until Perez botched the play, and if Sabathia throws more games in which he goes 8 innings with 10 Ks, 1 BB, 6 H, and a 74:38 strike-to-ball ratio, is anyone going to complain a whole lot?  Oh, by the way, the bullpen?  6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB (neither by Gil Blundermota), 5 K, 0 R.  I am oddly sanguine about the relief pitching with Cabrera back to form, Betancourt returning soon, and the Mullet getting the wazoo.

However, it has been determined that scoring zero runs is not as conducive to winning as you might expect.  Or exactly as conducive, depending on how many neurons fire.

6) Adventures in managerial head-scratching

Jason Michaels got three hits Friday.  He has raised his average to .287, and although he is not the most powerful tool in the shed, he is looking more comfortable at the plate.

Ninth inning Saturday.  Aaron Boone walks to lead off.  Sizemore comes into the at-bat 2-for-4, being one of the few guys this weekend who reached base.  Ferd Rodney is throwing gunk.  Smoke, but gunk.  He threw exactly zero strikes to Boone (he would finish a sterling save with 6 strikes in 15 pitches, which is Mota-esque).  So, to recap: you are down one, you have a man on base, the pitcher is struggling, you have a speedy leadoff hitter up, followed by a 2-hitter who struck out against Speedball Maroth but has been handling faster stuff.

Naturally, you bunt on the first pitch.

Look, this is not Part Nine Thousand of my running diatribe against the Value of the Bunt.  I hate bunting, blah blah blah.  Everyone is tired of hearing about this.  I'M tired of hearing about it, and I'm a very self-centered guy.  But until Rodney throws a FIRST STRIKE, shouldn't you not bail him out by giving away an out?  Isn't that just preposterously dumb?  Let's say you let Rodney throw: either he continues to scattershot around the plate, or he finally starts grooving the ball: the man is like thirteen years old, it's not like you have the Crafty Veteran out there setting Sizemore up.  He was throwing gunk!  Let him continue!  I can't go on.

Anyway, Hollandsworth did not look good replacing Michaels: I understand the point, but pinch-hitting is a tough way to make a living, and Michaels isn't bad against righties this season.

By the way, after Hollandsworth, Peralta saw five pitches.  He swung at zero.  One was a strike.

7) Ducks in my eye!

We left 8 on base Saturday, including 4 in scoring position.  We left 11 on base Sunday, including six in scoring position.  Six!  I will now pierce my toungue with a paper clip.

8) Silver Lining Dept.

We turned three double plays on Sunday, and a total of five over the series.  I like double plays.

9) Get the Hands Team out there!

We committed three errors Friday and now lead the American League.  I am less partial to errors.

10) Now that the wino has staggered off, it turns out this gutter is pretty comfy

Minnesota took two of three from Chicago to waft into third place in the AL Central.  I had left them for dead, which made for a surreal experience as they waved on their way by.  (They still smell bad, though.)

11) Ode to a Mullet

Danny Graves was designated for assignment.  I will miss him in the way political cartoonists miss Dan Quayle.

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