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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 6/21
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
Thank you Mother Nature. For sparing Indians fans of another 30 minutes of torture. We've been through enough. In today's B-List, Buff waxes poetic on bad infield defense, CC "giving up", and the fine major league debut of Edward Mujica. He also gives us an update on everyones favorite ex-Indian (Jason Johnson) and continues his eerie obsession with Neifi Perez. And this ... may be one of his best quotes ever: "Todd Hollandsworth is still in the two hole. I will now fry my eustachian tubes in butter and eat them on toast."
But doctor, I am Pagliacci!

1) How many infielders fit into one of those little circus cars?

Because there certainly is enough clownish behavior going on.  With men on first and third, Ben Broussard grabs the routine chopper, looks the runner back to third, and throws home.  Okay, it wasn't that egregious, but it was pretty bad.  You have to get an out there.  You have to.

With the bases loaded, Ron Belliard ranges to his left, scoops up the ground ball, and ... does nothing whatsoever.  Eric Wedge helpfully explained that the ball spun in his glove.  I would like to believe that unless the ball morphed into sulfuric acid or a post-hypnotic suggestion froze Belliard or aliens abducted him and the "missing three seconds" were used for all baserunners to be safe, but the simple fact is, you have to get an out there.  You have to.  (Possibly two, let's not be greedy here.  I would have taken an action at that point.  The man looked like Liv Tyler acts: as if she'd just been struck in the face with a board.)

Amongst Jhonny Peralta's theoretical range, Aaron Boone's cast-iron skillet, Ben Broussard's coma-like situational thinking, Ron Belliard's uncanny ability to make errors with both hands, Ramon Vazquez' general ability to lack ability, and Joe Inglett's general ability to not exist, this could be the worst major-league infield.  It's certainly the worst Cleveland infield since the Jim Thome at third and Alvaro Espinoza at short version.  Force Carlos Baerga to play while holding a roast turkey and let Mike Hargrove play first, and we approximate the defense of today.  Somewhere, Jason Johnson laughs.  (We laugh back at him, but like Mary Poppins' uncle, we love to laugh.)

2) What might have been

If Broussard gets an out, and Belliard gets an out, you get Jones' single and Cedeno's flyout.  The Cubs score two runs, and Sabathia gets out of the inning, potentially with composure.  There's no guarantee we'd have scored more against Carlos Zambrano (does a Sabathia-Zambrano matchup set a major-league record for combined starting pitcher mass?) and prolly lose 3-2, but at least the Indians imitate a baseball team instead of Barnum and Bailey.

3) What actually was

Sabathia was disgusted at himself for losing his composure and blowing the game wide open after the defensive gaffes.  No left-hander should walk Todd Walker on 4 pitches.  No pitcher should give up consecutive singles to Henry Blanco and Juan Pierre.  As disgusted as Sabathia was at himself, the fans, by conservative estimate, doubled it.

I won't bother with the stats: what does one learn about a performance that involves giving up more runs than recording outs?

4) Welcome to the bigs!

The stats will tell you that Edward Mujica pitched 2 2/3 innings of fine, shutout relief.  This extends Mujica's personal scoreless streak through all levels of the organization in 2006 to 41 2/3 innings.  That's really phenomenal.

However, any outing in which you give up a two-run double to Neifi Freaking Perez is, by definition, awful.  Neifi Perez!  I will now remove my eustachian tubes with a ball point pen.

(Other than that, he looked quite good: I could get used to him in the 'pen.)

5) Managerial Head Scratchers

Wow, where to begin?  I guess I'm simply not as well-versed in the art and craft of baseball as I thought.  Neifi Perez in the lineup?  Bad idea.  Neifi Perez in the 8 hole?  Well, if Bad Idea One is in place, 8 isn't a bad place to stash him, at least with Henry Blanco in the lineup.  Neifi Perez in the 2 hole?  I can see why there was a thunderstorm: the cosmos were trying to strike Dusty Baker down.  (Now that Perez doubled twice, expect him to stay there, further exacerbating the Cubs' woes.)

Todd Hollandsworth is still in the two hole.  I will now fry my eustachian tubes in butter and eat them on toast.

As much as I might poke fun at Mujica for giving up a double to NEIFI PEREZ, I have to wonder if perhaps, just perhaps, there may have been a different way for Eric Wedge to have eased the rookie into his first major-league appearance.  You know, like maybe set him on fire, or staple his knees together.  Bases loaded, one out?  After two of the most gruesome defensive gaffes this ... week?  (Gotta be careful with comparative defense on this club.)  Hooray!  Okay, I guess if you want to see what the kid's made of, because you've written off the season ... my guess is, that could have been done differently.  (Not necessarily "better:" he could have brought in Gil Mota.)

6) Credit Where Credit Is Due Dept.

Ferd Cabrera looked good.  I've changed my mind: Jason Davis may be okay with an 8-run lead, but if the deficit is only 7, Ferd is your man.  (Seriously, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 0 R.  Virtually "masterful" in this bullpen.)

Ben Broussard hit two doubles and drove in a run.  At least we can call off the search party.

7) No Credit Where No Credit Is Due Dept.

Ramon Vazquez is down to .146, making him roughly 10% more forceful offensively than Franklin Gutierrez, batting (and on-basing and slugging) .136.  With Hollandsworth in the 2 hole, you could potentially start an inning with Vazquez, intentionally walk Sizemore, and make it through an inning not facing a hitter who hit over .205.  That's awesome.  Not good, I mean, I'm speechless.  In awe.  That's amazing ... ly wretched.

8) Jason Johnson Update

It was indeed the end of the Jason Johnson Era, as he is now a Red Sok.  We have acquired ... cash.  This is a double-edged sword: it is discouraging that we aren't using the currency to improve the team with players, even minor-league ones.  It is encouraging, though, that someone as worth-free as Johnson commands actual currency (and not zloties or something).  It is also encouraging that they didn't make us take J.T. Snow. 
(Small victories, people, think small victories.)

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