The Cleveland Fan on Facebook

The Cleveland Fan on Twitter
Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 8/3
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum

Josh Beckett was upset last night that he got to hit two players while the Indians didn’t hit anyone, so it was clearly the Indians’ fault for … um … I dunno, missing?  He pitched a whale of a game, and he’s very talented, but why is he such a sexual organ?  Is there a purpose to this behavior?  Anyway, David Huff made his umphant return and Lou Marson did something unbelievable and generally speaking it was a pretty dull game.

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Indians (45-62) 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Red Sox (61-46) 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 X 3 8 0

beckettW: Jerkwad (3-1) L: Huff (2-10) S: Penisbon (25) 

“Bet $100 on the Mike Lowell/Bill Hall/Lou Marson trifecta.  Then retire.” 
-- Time traveling me from the future to past me yesterday 

1) Steve Buffum is a loutish idiot! 

A brief dissertation on the purpose of this column. 

The B-List is meant to accomplish any number of things.  It might point out things about a game you may not have noticed.  It tries to chronicle important plays and make notes about what they imply about the likelihood of future success.  It strives to make you laugh every so often. 

But more than anything, I’m trying to keep a sort of “running diary” of how it FEELS to be a fan of the team at any given time.  If done well, you should be able to pick up a column from the past and get an impression about what the “Zeitgeist of the times” (as my friend once errantly put it) was.  It overreacts to success.  It WAY overreacts to failure.  It generally tries to be objective and fair, but only so far as a fan is likely to do so.  I’m not a journalist.  When Jhonny Peralta grounds into what FEELS like his fifteenth double play in a row, THAT’S what I want to get across.  I’ll leaven this with objective stats and valid comparisons, but when Oldberto Hernandez was coughing up leads, he wasn’t necessarily the worst pitcher on the staff, just the most FRUSTRATING.  I try to admit when my impressions are wrong, or at least countered by evidence.  If I miss an opportunity to do this, it’s not malicious.  Calling someone a “fungus” is kind of malicious, true, but again, I’m trying to get across a certain fan-like feeling and, given the choice, erring on the side of humor.  The goal is to be able to flip through a year’s worth of columns and re-experience the ups and downs and ebbs and flows of the Fan Experience.  And fire Eric Wedge. 

Anyway, this having been said, I generally rag on David Huff more than is warranted.  Although I can’t point out a particular example that was grossly unfair, my “body of work” on the subject is probably, overall, harsher than Huff’s performance actually warrants. 

(And as an aside, to be explicit, I try to keep these things PERFORMANCE-related.  David Huff may be a great GUY.  He may be a lousy GUY.  I have no idea.  I can’t make any attributions to Huff’s character that would have any validity at all, past “I think he needs a haircut.”  I feel pretty comfortable talking about his K-rate and his GB%, though.) 

Huff pitched pretty well last night.  Sure, he lost his 10th game of the season.  He needed 104 pitches to get barely into the 6th inning, where he ended up walking a guy on four straight pitches after having him down 0-2.  He only struck out 2 hitters, which is the same number of hitters he walked, which is the same number of hitters he allowed to homer off him.  He gave up 3 runs in 5 1/3 IP, which is two outs short of a Quality Start.  He gave up 7 hits with the 2 walks for a game WHIP of 1.69, which is plainly awful (and exactly what his season WHIP is, too).  And he got 3 ground ball outs as opposed to 11 fly ball outs, which is not just a terrible ratio, but is especially dangerous as a left-handed pitcher pitching to a right-handed lineup in Fenway Park. 

On the other hand, he held the Red Sox to 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.  He held them to 2-for-10 with runners on base.  Sure, one of the 2 hits was a two-run homer by Mike Lowell, but if that had been a solo shot instead, he still would have lost the game because the offense “supporting” him was putrid. 

I think the fairest thing I can say about Huff’s performance is that it points out that he has both strengths and weaknesses.  We tend to focus more on the weaknesses, especially when a guy has an ERA hovering around 6.00 with a 2-10 record.  And honestly, those are bad numbers that aren’t a product of luck or bad defense: he’s pitched honest 6.00-ERA ball.  But he DOES have the stuff required to get major-league hitters out, and he DID do an excellent job with runners on base.  Doing well with runners on is going to be CRUCIAL for Huff because he IS prone to giving up home runs: limit those to solo shots and you can Blyleven your way to a winning record anyway. 

But it also goes to show just how SMALL the margin of error for Huff seems to be.  He may have thrown only two bad pitches all game.  But those two pitches were SO bad as to end up being two home runs (and three runs overall).  While it would appear in the early stages that Josh Tomlin can use his command of his stuff to enlarge that margin of error, Huff’s is still razor-thin.  It’s worth remembering that this is a guy who has a GRAND TOTAL of 37 starts and 203 2/3 IP in the majors.  David Huff is not necessarily a “finished product.”  I pointed to Cliff Lee as an example of a development cycle, and without resorting to “Huff could be the next Cliff Lee!” hyperbole, it isn’t ridiculous to suggest that writing Huff off after two hundred major-league innings is foolhardy. 

Anyway, I want him to pitch better.  I’ll probably still hit him with a cheap shot before the season is over.  But he’s not a talentless putz. 

2) Steve Buffum is a loutish idiot II! 

The Indians scored one run last night, because Tofu Lou Marson hit a 400-plus-foot homer off Josh Beckett.  Beckett was awfully dominant last night, giving up 3 hits in 8 innings, posting 8 whiffs against zero walks (although he did hit two batters).  To get a hit off Josh Beckett last night was quite the accomplishment, and to hit one 408 feet is a fine accomplishment even if Kane Davis comes out of retirement. 

I won’t repeat the whole philosophy again, but Marson has drawn a bit of a short stick from The B-List over the months.  He really is a pretty bad hitter.  He went down to Clumbus and actually hit worse than he has in Cleveland.  But lots of teams have catchers who don’t hit well (catchers with 100+ PA with lower OBP than Marson: Wil Nieves, Koyie Hill, Gerald Laird, Humby Quintero, Jeff Mathis, Rod Barajas; only the first three also SLG less, though), and Marson has a whopping 68 games and 209 AB on his major-league resume’.  A.J. Pierzynski has actually under-VORPed Marson this season, -6.9 to -5.7 (twice as many PA, though).  I had graduated from college when Marson was born.  And catchers GENERALLY take longer to develop than other position players because of the demands of their jobs. 

The “high hope” for Marson was always as an OBP guy who could catch well: in this regard, the real shock at the beginning of the season was how awful he looked at playing defense.  Right out of the chute, Marson’s inability to catch a “movement” pitch like Jake Westbrook’s sinker resulted in FOUR wild pitches.  FOUR!  And when Marson was still foisting a .250 OPS (OPS!) on us near the end of April, well, that’s truly bad. 

Marson has a long way to go for me to consider him a real asset to the club.  And I stand by “Tofu Lou,” because he is bland and it’s catchy.  But he homered last night under some very difficult circumstances, and good for him. 

3) My God, how saccharine, where’s my cheap shot?!?! 

Okay, enough of that. 

Why did the Red Sox get all up in arms about Jensen Lewis’ pitch?  That looked like his normal command to me. 


4) On pots and kettles 

What exactly was Josh Beckett’s problem last night? 

He hit a guy in the first inning. 

He hit a guy in the THIRD inning. 

The guy he hit in the third inning stole a base because he threw at the next guy, too. 

And then he’s all up in arms because we MISSED two guys?  Has he lost his mind?  Does adrenaline override whatever pea-sized restraint he’s got in that overheated head of his?  What a jerk. 

5) Understated 

Lewis’ single pitch aside, the Indians’ bullpen of Justin Germano and Joe Smiff combined to through 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing only one single. 

I’m gonna go out on a limb and proclaim that Justin Germano is Just Some Guy.  He’s made 35 starts, many of them in the San Diego Commemorative Graveyard and has a 5.16 career ERA with a 1.43 WHIP.  This is not exactly stop-the-presses stuff.  His career K-rate is 5.37, and his career K:BB ratio is 1.76 (kind of “meh”).  He pitched in Japan last season.  This seems more like Tom Mastny than Colby Lewis. 

In two games for the Tribe, though, Germano has been a revelation: 6 Ks in 4 1/3 IP, a 6:1 K:BB ratio, 2 hits allowed, and no runs.  In his first game, he absorbed the remainder of the game after Masterson choked on fumes, and in this one took over for Huff with a runner on.  Is he more likely to contribute to the club in 2011 than, say, Lewis, or Hector Ambriz?  Well, I’m pretty tired of Hector Ambriz, but I have to think there was a reason that Germano has not seen the light of the majors until July 30th

Amusing small-sample split: Germano is holding right-handed hitters to a .000/.100/.000 line for a .100 OPS. 

6) Small victories 

Jordan Brown, Matt LaPorta, and Tofu Lou were the only players to face Beckett and never strike out. 

Matt LaPorta and Shin-Soo Choo each hit singles. 

The Indians only made two outs with runners in scoring position, never hit into a double play, and only left 4 men on base.  (They had 5 baserunners and went 0-for-2 with RISP.) 

The players showed remarkable restraint and did not punch Beckett in the face.

The TCF Forums