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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 8/24
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum

It is one thing to give up a homer to Jack Cust: Cust is a Three True Outcomes All-Star and does this sort of thing.  It is embarrassing enough to give up a homer to Covelli Crisp, but Crisp is currently outslugging Shin-Soo Choo this season, which is excessively embarrassing.  To give up a homer to Jeff Larish, Tigers castoff, called up from AAA and with an OBP of .235, is simply absurd.  In today’s B-List, Buff outlines an innovative plan to get Gio Gonzalez the Cy Young in 2011. 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Athletics (62-62) 0 2 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 5 10 3
Indians (50-75) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0

gio2W: G. Gonzalez (11-8) L: Carmona (11-12) 

The concessions stand at Not Jacobs Field is now selling “Oatmeal on a Stick,” because it combines the three things that remind you of Indians Baseball: a useless piece of wood, blandness, and Fail. 

1) The Brett Favre Plan 

At the height of the absurdity in the Brett Favre Comeback story last season (or, at least, what we THOUGHT was the height, but turned out to be but a foothill), my wife and I discussed the idea that the NFL was handling this all wrong.  Brett Favre is obviously a huge commodity in the NFL, and to limit him to one team per season seems like a waste of a valuable resource. 

Now, when I was young, we would play a lot of Nerf™ football in the back yard.  Mostly it was two-on-two or three-on-three, but you’d have the 3-Mississippi rush plan and “two-below” touch and poorly-defined sidelines and really it was just an excuse to run and throw things.  But sometimes you’d have an odd number of guys, which necessitated the designation of an “All Day Quarterback,” picking the guy with the most accurate arm and letting him throw all the time for both teams.  If you had five guys, it would be Joe and Tom vs. Nick and Jeff, and Rob would throw passes to whomever was on offense at any given time.

With 32 teams in the NFL in a 16-game season, this is set up perfectly for Brett Favre to be the All Day Quarterback, whereby he would be assigned to a game (say, Houston-Kansas City) and play with each offense during the entire game.  The next week, he’d travel to New York to play QB for both the Jets and Bengals, and then to Seattle for a Seahawks-Rams tilt.  This way, he would play QB for your team during the season, and everyone would get to see Brett Favre throw footballs, which at the time, based on the coverage by ESPN and other outlets, seemed like the sole justification for having an NFL at all. 

This plan doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to the Brett Favre, or even the NFL, although I understand the terms to be synonymous.  Consider 2011, when MLB decides it would be a good thing to develop a new young pitcher who could finally wipe Bob Gibson’s magical 1.12 ERA season off the books for good. 

On Opening Day, Oakland will trade Gio Gonzalez to the White Sox for a Player to be Named Later.  Gonzalez will open the season against the Indians (we ALWAYS play the White Sox first, it seems), and will shut them out.  Now he is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. 

After the game, Chicago trades Gonzalez to Boston, where the Red Sox skip Josh Beckett’s normal turn to allow Gonzalez to face the Indians.  He will shut them out, and will be 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA. 

Gonzalez will then proceed to be traded once (potentially twice) per week, to whomever is facing the Indians during his normal turn on four (possibly five: got to keep him fresh) days rest, where he will shut out the Indians and win the game.  MLB will strongarm all teams into allowing Gonzalez to pass through waivers in August so that he may be traded freely.  And at the end of September, after his 34th win, he will be traded back to Oakland, and it will be announced that all the Players to be Named Later were actually Joe Shlabotnik, who will have a wonderful story to tell on, having been assigned some fifteen uniform numbers or so, depending on how many interleague games are required for Gonzalez to pitch against the Indians in each of his starts. 

At 34-0 with a 0.00 ERA (he will end up allowing 7 unearned runs, because he does still play for Oakland, after all), Gonzalez will be awarded the MVP, the Cy Young, and a duchy off the coast of Monaco. 

Ironically, Oakland will still miss the playoffs, because their offense is lame-assed. 

The plan can be tweaked slightly if Brett Favre wants to pitch for the Brewers, Twins, or an expansion team in Favre, Mississippi.  (He, too, will shut out the Indians.) 

2) Thinking positive: the players who got more than one hit 

Click here for the list. 

3) Pointless Bonus Fausto 

Fausto Carmona didn’t pitch exceptionally well, giving up 4 runs on 9 hits in 6 2/3 innings.  On the flip side, despite the pair of homers, he didn’t pitch poorly, either.  I was encouraged by both the 5 strikeouts and the 2 walks: that’s a solid ratio, and he threw 70 of his 117 pitches for strikes.  He had pretty good command, and flashed a usable changeup to go with his more standard sinker/fastball fare.  He got his 11 ground ball outs to 4 in the air, induced a double play, and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 4th by getting Cliff Pennington to fly out to right.  Granted, Pennington sports a .703 OPS and bats 9th, but loaded bases are loaded bases. 

But after having thrown 107 pitches through 6 innings, Carmona trucked back out to the mound to continue throwing some more (down 3-0), and gave up a leadoff double to Covelli Crisp, a guy who had homered off him earlier.  He got the next two batters, ended up throwing only 10 pitches in the inning, is an enormous person who is becoming a de facto workhorse, and the results in the 7th were perfectly acceptible. 

But … why was he out there at all?  What exactly are we trying to accomplish here?  To see if Carmona is really a workhorse?  To acclimate him to the 120-pitch mark?  Because you honestly thought we had more than a cursory chance to actually win the game?  Because Tony Sipp and the Merrye Bande of Mookes required more time to warm up?  I’m not being a Pitch Count Iconoclast or complaining about ruining Fausto’s arm or anything like that, but I’m just wondering … well … f(@&ing WHY? 

4) Thinking positive: the players who got an extra-base hit 

The list can be found here. 

5) Mano a Failo 

I try to be careful to avoid the Fundamental Attribution Error as often as I can.  I understand that in a two-party matchup, to attribute a big majority of the credit/blame/influence to one of the parties is unwarranted.  Sometimes the other guy just does a good job. 

Note this, however: Jack Cust is hitting .238/.289/.357 off left-handed pitching.  He has exactly one home run off a left-hander.  The one he hit last night off Tony Sipp. 

Tony Sipp has allowed 10 home runs in 48 innings this season.  That is beyond awful, crossing the border with the Principality of Awful and heading right into the Protectorate of Kane Davis.  Left-handers hit .189 off Sipp, which is great … except that because of 13 walks, a hit batsman, and FIVE homers, they also post a .315 OBP (not great) and a .459 SLG (Kane Davis). 

By the way, someday I would like to see a player card for Jack Cust that says: 

Bats: Left 
Throws: No

6) Thinking positive: the players who did not strike out against Oakland pitching 

Click here for the surprising result! 

7) Inside joke explained 

(It was Lou Marson.) 

8) A bright spot in the void 

Justin Germano has now pitched 10 games for the Cleveland Indians.  In 14 2/3 innings, he has allowed 6 hits, 2 runs, and 0 earned runs.  He holds opponents to a batting line of .122/.232/.143, and only one of his hits allowed was for extra bases (a double). 

Is he really this good?  Of course not.  Brett Favre isn’t this good.  A 0.68 WHIP is not sustainable, and neither is a 0.00 ERA.  But is it unreasonable to suggest that Germano may have found a niche as an effective relief pitcher rather than as a marginal starter?  I don’t think that’s unreasonable, no. 

9) And the wind whispers, “Justin Masterson” 

I’m just sayin’. 

10) And the wind whispers, “David Huff” 

You can’t always trust the wind, but it sounds somewhat wiser than average. 

11) And the wind whispers, “Jeremy Sowers” 

Well, c’mon, it’s the wind. 

12) Thinking positive: at least we don’t have to face Gio Gonzalez again 

Gonzalez: 1.27 WHIP, 3.24 ERA, 11-8 W-L 
Trevor Cahill: 0.99 WHIP, 2.54 ERA, 13-5 W-L

The Indians’ chances tonight can be found here.

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