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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 6/16-6/18
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
Being an Indians fan this season is about as fun as drinking Drain-O, except with much worse side effects. In his standard Monday edition of The B-List, Buff breaks down the Indians weekend series against the Brew Crew, which saw them get swept in a very painful fashion. My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
Doofus, doofus, doofus,
My feet are made from clay.
Doofus, doofus, doofus,
Like doofus I will play.

-- Cleveland Indians Chanukkah song

1) They call me Mister Westbrook

Sometimes it's easy to tell when a pitcher is "on:"

R Weeks struck out swinging
C Koskie struck out swinging
C Lee struck out looking

Gee, is that any good?

In the second inning, Jake needed help, but in the third, two more Ks.  In the fourth, 3 straight groundouts.  Fifth, 2 groundouts and a K.  In all Westbrook produced 22 outs by pitching (Gutierrez hosed Bill Hall at home, and Westbrook picked him off, which marks a very Clevelandesque day on the basepaths for Mr. Hall), and two were in the air.  That's ... well, that's really, really good.  Five hits, no walks, and just one unearned run thanks to Wickets Broussard, and that's a real gem by Westbrook.  Any time you drive in more earned runs than you give up, you have to consider that a successful outing.

2) Move us to the NL!

Much is made of our excellent first-base platoon, hitting somewhere in the .325-.330 area and being the top-hitting position on the team.  Well, make that second-best hitting position: each of the three Cleveland pitchers went 1-for-3, including a double by Westbrook, with 3 aggregate RBI.  Sure, Byrd stranded a couple in scoring position, but so did Gutierrez and Peralta.  Sabathia is a credible enough hitter that he was left in to hit for himself ... and then was replaced on the mound by Ferd Cabrera.  Given the supply of available pinch-hitters, this was a perfectly good strategic move: this says more about our bench than anything, but Sabathia really is a pretty good hitter (his stats from previous years of interleague play validate this).

3) False accountability

I appreciate Paul Byrd claiming that his bad pitch to Prince Fielder in the 6th was the difference in the game.  And sure, it would have been different entering the ninth inning up 3-2 instead of tied 3-3.  But we lost 6-3, guys.  And if you want to say that Wickman would have done a better job closing with a lead than Betancourt did trying to preserve a tie, you might want to pull up a box score from Saturday night's game.  Byrd's game was Pretty Good (3 runs in 6 IP), but Byrd didn't leave all twelve of those guys stranded on base, he didn't ground into any double plays, and he certainly didn't give up any three-run jacks.  It's better to focus on what you could have done better than to point fingers, so he has that going for him, which is nice, but ... I dunno, it just rings a little false so say, "I blew the game with that one bad pitch."

(It certainly was a bad pitch, though, I'll give him that.)

4) True accountability

When the Indians pursued Trevor Hoffman in the off-season, I blanched, because I thought he was too expensive for too little a payoff.  I wasn't even that thrilled about bringing Really Big Bob back, because I thought we had enough in-house alternatives to close.  How hard can it be?  Three bloody outs.  Jake Westbrook can get three bloody outs.  Paul Byrd can get three bloody outs.  Give the ball to Raffy or Ferd and let's move on.
Now I find out that Ferd has to put someone on base before he believes he's really in a baseball game, and Raffy can only pitch effectively in innings whose number ends in a consonant, and RBB has blown up into a parody of himself who walks the first couple guys and then continues to suck.

This is not entirely fair.  Heck, it's not even remotely fair.  Wickman was terrific for the first two months, with a clean save record and the only reliable guy out of the 'pen.  He was, really.  But that's two games he flat-out blew out his sizable posterior, and I'm frustrated.  So sue me.

(And the wind whispered, "Rafael Perez.")

5) A pond choked full with ducks

How can you get thirteen hits, three walks, and a wild pitch, knocking the opposing starter out after three innings, get to face both Jeremi Gonzalez (ERA: 7.36) and Dan Kolb (seasons removed from flukitude: 1.5), and score three runs?  Three!  We made Brian Shouse look good (I live in Texas, I know this to be false)!  We made Derrick Turnbow look like Jake Westbrook!

Aw, hell, I know how: we're the Indians.

6) Nice wheels!

Grady Sizemore hit a triple off Gonzalez and also stole a base.  That's fast.

7) Silver Lining Dept.

Perhaps Jhonny Peralta's toughest days are behind him: all he did in the three-game series was go 8-for-13 with two doubles and a home run.  He didn't walk, and he struck out in every game, but 8-for-13 is 8-for-13.

8) Nice hose!

Franklin Gutierrez did not make much of an auspicious appearance, collecting two hits in the three games, but he did gun down Bill Hall at the plate, which deserves a rousing, "Eh."  (He gets more when he climbs over the Mendoza Line.)

9) Managerial Head Scratchers

Aaron Boone second?  Twice?

Tim Laker on the roster?  (Three more stolen bases, including one to spherical Prince Fielder.)

Pinch-hitting Broussard for Laker with Sizemore coming up at the top of the order pretty much begged Ned Yost to bring in Shouse: Laker had a hit and is hitting .308 in (very) limited duty, do you want Laker facing Kolb or Broussard facing Shouse?  Ugly.

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