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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 9/8
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
The Tribe dropped a pair to the Texas Rangers yesterday, and Buff uses surprising brevity to describe the starting performances of Aaron Laffey and Carlos Carrasco. He also wonders how Texas is doing so well with such a feeble lineup, welcomes Lou Marson to the big leagues, names a sandwich after Jess Todd, and if you read very carefully, has a secret subliminal message for reliever Jose Veras.
Rangers (77-60)01121030311131
Indians (60-77)0001221129160

W: Feliz (1-0)  L: J. Lewis (2-4) 

Rangers (78-60)04210000310182
Indians (60-78)000012200572

W: McCarthy (7-2) L: Laffey (7-5) S: O'Day (2) 

Two of my fantasy league pitchers last night: Aaron Laffey and Zach Duke. 

The two Indians pitchers who did not give up a run: Tomo Ohka and Mike Gosling. 

May I start writing about something else now? 

1) Someone check the gas tank 

Aaron Laffey has only pitched 100 major-league innings this season, so it's hard to believe that he's totally out of gas or hasn't been plugged in or isn't synchronized with the iTunes server or whatever these whippersnappers use for power these days.  However, it's hard to consider yesterday's outing as anything but very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very bad. 

He gave up 6 runs on 9 hits and a walk through three innings ... then came out for another inning!  And gave up another run on three more hits, including a leadoff double! 

Four of his TWELVE hits were doubles.  His GO:FO ratio seems irrelevant because his OUT:HIT ratio was LESS THAN 1.00.  Isn't that pretty much the definition of terrible?  Unless you want to include the fact that he was bailed out by Tomo Ohka, which is also the definition of terrible.  Unless you want to point out that Ohka held the Rangers to zero runs and struck out three in 4 2/3 innings.  Which almost transcends terrible. 

2) Help for Jose Veras 

According to Orbitz, you can get a one-way flight from Cleveland to New York for as low as $271, but it's an overnight flight.  I recommend spending the extra $68 and going Delta, flight 6460, which leaves at 4:35 PM and gets to JFK at 6:29 PM. 

3) I will not buy this Carlos Carrasco, it is scratched 

I'm going to go out on a limb here and proclaim that Carlos Carrasco is not ready. 

He has stuff.  He has promise.  He isn't ready.  C'est la schmoe. 

4) Full-service column 

Priceline makes it very difficult to book a one-way flight.  I had to set the return date to August 2010, which is not desirable.  I will look more carefully for one-way options, Jose. 

5) Dept. of Incredulity 

Here are some of the "hitters" in the Rangers' lineup from the second game: 

Andruw Jones, .217/.327 AVG/OBP 
Taylor Teagarden, .210/.272 
Chris Davis, .215/.263 
Esteban German, .150/.261 

Four guys hitting under .220, three of whom have OBPs under .275. 

In fact, the highest AVG in the lineup was Marlon Byrd's .286.  The highest OBP was Nelson Cruz' .348. 

Think about this: I know that Mike Young is injured (as is Josh Hamilton, but his season has been lousy), but the Rangers had ZERO hitters with an OBP over .350, which is something I consider sort of the "good line."  For reference, Cleveland had FOUR such hitters in their lineup (Brantley, Carroll, Cabrera, Choo).  If Kelly Shoppach were a Texas Ranger, he would have the SECOND-HIGHEST OBP IN THE LINEUP.  Kelly Shoppach!  Who is largely indistinguishable from a pound of chicken fat as a hitter this season! 

This is a lineup that a mother could only love unconditionally.  Once a condition were placed on it, even a mother's love would evaporate. 

Every player in the lineup had a hit. 

The lineup collected 18 hits and scored 10 runs. 

Esteban German drove in two runs, giving him 2 RBI for the SEASON. 

The lineup batted NINE-FOR-EIGHTEEN with runners in scoring position.  Chris Davis was 3-for-3! 

In the first game, the lineup was better in that it included hotshot rookie Julio Borbon (.329/.390), stalwart Ivan Rodriguez (.271/.333), and Omar Vizquel (.284/.335).  How ridiculous is it that with Young out they have to play Omar Vizquel at third base?  I mean, OUR third baseman is hitting .272/.331/.407, while Omar is hitting .284/.335/.368, showing ... um ... wait, I lost my train of thought there. 

How is this team 78-60 and fighting Boston tooth and nail for a playoff spot? 

6) A more relaxed option 

Mr. Veras, Amtrak has a wonderful train, the "Shore Limited".  Sure, it departs at 5:20 AM and takes thirteen hours to arrive at Penn Station, but the price of $67 can't be beat, and there's a dining car.  Consider starting that memoir, or the Great American Novel.  You know, you can print out an arbitrary number of challenging Sudoku puzzles at  I like the Hard and Evil levels, but really, it might be nice to print out a wide variety. 

Don't forget to charge your iPod! 

(The other trains leave Cleveland at 2:04 AM.  I find this prohibitive.  I will keep looking.) 

7) Around the bullpen 

Jensen Lewis actually pitched pretty well: he recorded four outs and didn't' give up a hit, but the batter he walked scored when Chris Perez grooved a meatball.  That's pretty good stuff, really. 

Chris Perez was not very good, yielding a bomb to Marl Byrd after walking a guy.  He did strike out two, but the bomb was not very good, especially in an 11-9 game.  Perez was due a clunker after being dominant for a long time, and he's still one of the best we've got. 

Mike Gosling posted a 1-to-1 pitch-to-out ratio. 

If you go to Subway and order a Jess Todd, make sure you specify whether you want extra marinara sauce on it: I believe you can get a footlong for only $5 still, which is a pretty good deal.  Buy your own chips and drink elsewhere, though: that's a ripoff. 

8) Broader advice for Jose Veras 

You know, there's no reason to limit yourself to New York as a destination.  You know what's lovely this time of year?  Albuquerque, New Mexico!  The altitude helps mitigate the southern clime, and the temperatures really aren't that hot this time of year.  According to Travelocity, you can get a 6:10 PM flight on American (flight 3332) that gets to Albuquerque at 10:45 PM, or a 6:30 PM flight on United (6133) that arrives at 10:39.  I'd do the United flight: if you got a wild hair, the connector is in Denver and you can just get off there.  Don't get involved in the Colorado-Colorado State discussion, though: it's closer to Boulder, and the Rams beat the Buffs, so there might be some sore people there.  Wear purple: it's attached to neither school, and people might think you're a Rockies fan.  They like that. 

Of course, if you head to Albuquerque, don't forget to try the green chiles.  They're really good. 

9) Welcome to the bigs! 

Lou Marson is in kind of a tough spot: not only is he competing with Shoppach, Wyatt Toregas, and Chris Gimenez for the catcher spot next season, but hotshot Carlos Santana was just named the Player of the Year in his AA league and was raking at Columbus as well. It remains to be seen how well his defense would play in the majors, but there's little question that Santana is the Catcher of the Future for the Tribe.  Not only that, but Marson will always wear the stigma of being one of the guys in the Cliff Lee Deal, which wasn't very popular from an emotional standpoint. 

To his credit, Marson seemed to slot into Columbus relatively seamlessly, and yesterday, he collected a hit (an opposite-field double) and a walk in his first three trips to the plate.  He subsequently struck out and hit a rope right at Ian Kinsler to end the game, but it was still a nice debut. 

Interestingly enough, the Rangers decided that the Carlos Carrasco/Lou Marson combo was rife for abuse and decided to spend most of the day trying to get extra bases from them.  Borbon stole second, and Elvis Andrus stole both second and third, but Andrus has 26 steals on the season and is obviously good at it and Borbon already has 13 in 23 games, including a ridiculous 4-steal game against Boston and a 3-steal game against Joe Freaking Mauer.  And the Rangers ended up on the "negative" side of the ledger (according to the readily-accepted 67+% success rate required to be positive), getting Kinsler and Byrd picked off by Carrasco.  I'm not sure how this plays into Marson's catching ability: I'd like to pretend that his previous work with Carrasco led him to call the pickoffs. 

Niuman Romero showed up and struck out.  Um ... huzz. 

10) Are you up for a little adventure, Jose? 

Neptune!  Think of the exciting possibilities of travelling four billion miles to live on a planet of solidified methane!  What a pretty blue it is!  And if you travel at 99% of the speed of light, the trip will take hardly any time for you, while I will die before you get back, making this an acceptible use of resources for me.  Dress warm! 

11) Exciting Excitement 

Michael Brantley blasted his first extra-base hit of his major-league career, where by "blasted" I mean "hit in the manner of a Grady Sizemore throw to the plate."  Okay, it was a bloop double down the right-field line.  It was hit off Neftali Perez, so I totally take it. 

Matt LaPorta hit his 4th home run of the season off nominal closer Frank Francisco in the 9th inning to draw the Tribe within two. 

Asdrubal Cabrera hit his 36th double of the season and drove in a pair of runs.  He then hit his 6th homer of the season in the second game, driving in two more. 

Kelly Shoppach, Shin-Soo Choo, Brantley, Andy Marte, and LaPorta each had two-hit games.  Travis Hafner had a THREE-hit game with a walk.  The only runner he drove in was Travis Hafner. 

The Indians went a combined 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position.  Scoring runs was not really the primary problem yesterday.

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