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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 6/13
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
As Buff says in today's open, "sometimes the other guy is just good". In his look back at yesterdays 1-0 loss to the Pinstripes, Buff takes a closer look at a great performance from Wang, and the tightrope job of Paul Byrd. We find out his new whipping boy is Todd Hollandsworth, and that Fausto Carmona is developing into a pretty good reliever.
Hey, sometimes the other guy is good.

1) That Jason Wallenda is a piker

Johnson's tightrope act had nothing on Paul Byrd's last night: Byrd put the leadoff hitter on base in each of the first five innings.  He loaded the bases in the first, put a guy in scoring position with no outs in the second, put the first two guys on in the third, and threw exactly zero 1-2-3 innings.  He threw 115 pitches in 7 innings (73 strikes, a sort of Mediocre Paul 63.5%), walked three guys, and fielded his position in his customary adventurous style.

And if you looked at the box score alone, you'd have credited him for a great outing, giving up 6 hits, striking out 6, and giving up only the solo shot to Robinson Cano to lose 1-0.

This sort of like being a "hard luck" pitcher without the hard luck: this is actually being an extremely lucky pitcher and making one mistake too many.  Still, working out of jams is a valuable skills, and Byrd executed that very, very well.  The fact is, you give up 1 run in 7 innings and that's a Very Good Outing, somewhat independently of how you did it.  Byrd is the only pitcher in the rotation not to have a severe clunker (giving up at least 7 runs) in his last 5 starts, so although I'm not going to annoint him our Ace or anything, Byrd is hardly a weak spot for these Indians.

2) How Not To Productions presents: working the pitcher

I always wanted to start my own series of instructional books, sort of like the "... for Dummies" series, except that the focus would not be on what to do right, but rather on what I've already done wrong.  There are plenty of people out there willing to show off their knowledge, but far fewer who are willing to share their mistakes, which are often more illustrative anyway.  I even have a name for the series: How Not To Productions, including (but hardly limited to), How Not To Repair Your Toilet, How Not To Study For Your History Final, and How Not To Cut Your Own Hair.

Anyway, the Yankees bring you today's lesson: in the first inning, Johnny Damon drew a leadoff walk.  In fact, Paul Byrd threw at least two balls to four of the first five hitters.  This is not a man having a sharp night at the ballyard.

In the second inning, Byrd went three balls to two of the four hitters: the Yankees took four strikes looking, suggesting that they knew that Byrd was having trouble finding the plate.  Perhaps they've even read the B-List in the past to know that a non-strike-throwing Byrd is a soon-to-be-beaten Byrd.

In the third inning, five Yankees came to the plate.  Each hit the first pitch.  Three were out.  After this, Byrd was locked in a threw much better.  How not to, indeed.

3) How Not To Productions presents: keeping your 4th outfielder job

Todd Hollandsworth entered the game hitting .192.  Given a spot start for Jason Michaels, going up against a power sinker pitcher and a defense built on hoping a lot, his course of action was clear: work the count, try to drive the ball.

Not only did Hollandsworth ground out three times, dropping his average to a sparkling .182, he did so by swinging at a 2-0 pitch (in an inning where Wang threw more balls than strikes) and a first pitch (which a .180 hitter should not do because he sucks).

I am ready for the Todd Hollandsworth Era to end.

4) Argh Factor: 37

The Indians had a few legitimate chances to score last night, including a couple guys left in scoring position, but the one REAL shot they had was after Grady Sizemore's double, advancement on Blake's lineout, and Hafner's intentional walk.  First and third, one out, all we need is a fly ball, or a slow roller, or (heaven forbid) an Actual Hit.  Thankfully, our hottest hitter, the guy with the 10-game hit streak and the June OPS of about six million is at the plate, Victor Martinez.

Who grounds into a double play.

Hey, this isn't getting on Vic's case: Wang pitched a good game, and induced 14 groundouts.  He is Jake Westbrook with a little more consistency. 
But boy, that sucked.

5) Credit Where Credit Is Due Dept.

Ramon Vazquez laid down two acceptible bunts last night to advance Aaron Boone to scoring position each time.  On one sacrifice, he actually bunted two foul first, meaning that he bunted successfully with two strikes, which is not stress-free.  Given some of the struggles we've had in this department (notably Jason Michaels), that's good to see.

Unfortunately, it's also the best use of Ramon Vazquez plate appearances.

6) An absence of suck

Fausto Carmona threw 8 strikes in a 10-pitch perfect inning of relief, including a K of Alex Rodriguez.  It obviously had no bearing on the outcome, but it didn't suck, which makes it stand out from other recent bullpen appearances.

7) Adventures in General Managing I

Jason Davis was sent down to Beefalo in favor of Jeremy Guthrie, because Lord knows, Guthrie would have held the White Sox to only four runs in 0 IP on Sunday night.

Seriously, I'd like to see more of Guthrie and less of Davis, but this is not exactly a high-impact move.

8) Adventures in General Managing II

Since Scott Sauerbeck was DFW'd, we have a limited amount of time to trade him before simply releasing him.  Here are the ten top offers so far:

j) Adrian Beltre and Matt Lawton's black bag for Sauerbeck and Andy Marte
i) Carl Pavano and Randy Johnson's cane for Sauerbeck and Jeremy Sowers
h) Kyle Lohse
g) Jason Grimsley and 6 pounds of cactus
f) Alfonso Soriano, Jose Guillen, and an anger management counselor for Sauerbeck, Grady Sizemore, Ron Belliard, Cliff Lee, and a restraining order keeping Eric Wedge at least 50 miles from RFK stadium at all times
e) Kyle Lohse and Nick Punto
d) Russ Ortiz
c) David Wells an 60 cases of beer for Sauerbeck and 40 cases of wine
b) Doug Mientkiewicz and Asterix Burgos-Ghali for Sauerbeck and Ben Broussard
a) Two Kyle Lohses

I do not envy Mark Shapiro in this case, except insofar as these offers deserve roughly equal consideration.

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