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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 8/10
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
Improbably, the Indians have now won two games in a row for the first time in over a month, and managed to outscore the Browns 14-7 last night. In todays B-List, Buff hits on the offensive explosion last night, and the continued emergence of one Ryan Garko. In addition, our old friend Fausto was back in the fold with a couple of effective innings of relief, and Buff has thoughts on that as well as other items from last nights game.
Today (and for the next 364), I am the Meaning of Life, according to Douglas Adams.

Keep those submissions pouring in for the Most Misused Player contest: right now, Ellen's entry (also known as The Entry) holds a substantial lead over those from Lyndon Johnson, Neils Bohr, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

1) Everybody hits!

And everybody scores, too: each of Cleveland's nine starters had at least one hit and scored at least one run.  I suppose it's hard not to in a game in which a seven-run inning provides only half the scoring.  In all, Cleveland pounded out 17 hits (8 for extra bases), drew 5 walks, and got hit with a pitch.  Complaints about leaving 8 runners on base smack of avarice.

The biggest offensive stars weren't even Cleveland Indians at this point last year: Jason Michaels banged out two doubles and a single and scored three times, Shin-Soo Choo continued his strong play going 3-for-5 with 3 RBI, and Ryan Garko hit his first major-league home run and a bases-clearing double to drive in four runs.  Some guy named Hafner did okay, too, although it's hard to tell whether he's really part of any future plans.  There is no truth to the rumor that the ball that Carrasco hit him with had to be removed from play because it was dented.

2) An 8-run lead does wonders for one's confidence

Cliff Lee started the game in typical fashion: strong but annoying.  The first four Angels hitters were retired on fly balls or popups before Juan Rivera struck out looking.  Two more flyouts in the third preceded a two-run shot by Rivera in the fourth.  At this point, Lee appeared to make an adjustment, inducing three consecutive groundouts that had me scrambling for confirmation that the GameCast I was following hadn't been replaced by some other pitcher.

After the Indians exploded for 7 in the bottom of the 4th, Lee changed his strategy once more: why throw a pitch out of the strike zone with an 8-run lead?  Even Vlad Guerrero can't hit an 8-run homer.  So, in the fifth, Lee threw 12 strikes and 2 balls and got two swinging Ks; in the sixth, he threw 9 strikes and 2 balls and got Garret Anderson to bounce into a 4-6-3 DP.  He was a bit less accurate  (and gave up a pair of hits) in the 7th, but that may simply have been The Banana coming to the fore rather than any desire to nibble.

In all, Lee actually had a 1:1 GB:FB ratio, 5 Ks, and 0 BBs in 7 nice innings: even the home run wasn't a bad pitch, but rather a pretty good piece of hitting by Rivera.

3) That guy looks familiar

Who was that guy who finished off the game?  He looked a lot like Fausto Carmona, except he threw more than 2/3rds of his pitches for strikes and didn't walk anybody.

Giving up 4 hits in 2 innings isn't exactly "dominant," but 2 scoreless innings beats that holy hell out of Carmona's last four outings.  I'll take it.  Nice play by Choo in the 8th to keep it scoreless, though.

4) The value of deep depth

Two players came off the bench to make plate appearances for the Tribe: Frank Gutierrez, spelling St. Grady, and Andy Marte, who took over for Aaron Boone at third when Boone slid over to second after Joltin' Joe Inglett sprained his foot.  In contrast with the everyone-hits-everyone-scores example set by the regulars, Gutierrez bounced into a double play and Marte struck out, making their appearances about as bad a humanly possible.

I am hoping that Inglett's injury renders him "day-to-day" rather than any sort of extended DL stint, because I fear that the option is to call up Ramon Vazquez.  (They wouldn't do that to me, would they?  With Luna on the roster?  I'm graspin' at straws here.)

5) Ouch!

Starter Ervin Santana had to leave the game after five pitches as Jason Michaels drilled him in the leg with a line shot up the middle.  Later, Victor Martinez was seen doing the Fred Flintstone "Yabba Dabba Yi, Ai-yi-yi" dance after being hit in the foot on the same pitch that My Sir Izturis flailed at an bonked a spectator with the flung bat.  This doesn't count Inglett's foot, or the fact that Aaron Boone played.

6) Adventures in fortune

S-S Choo absolutely creamed a ball with runners on first and second, but it bounced over the fence for a ground rule double.  I'm not saying that Victor would definitely have scored on the play, being a catcher, but it was annoying to have him HAVE to stop at third.

Still, Joltin' Joe then sent a ball screaming and soaring to ... second base ... to score Martinez, so the net result was the same, anyway.

7) Stats corner

Michaels' two extra-base hits raise his slugging percentage almost all the way to .400, meaning that he is almost, just slightly, scarcely, barely, completely inadequate for a corner outfielder.

Ryan Garko not only went 2-for-3 with 2 R and 4 RBI, but he walked twice, meaning he is no longer a member of the exclusive "AVG > OBP" club.  He is, however, hitting .417/.467/.833, making him the Small Sample Champion of the 2006 Cleveland Indians.  In contrast, S-S Choo's .340/.426/.574 makes him barely Jim Thome.  What a piker.

I was surprised to see Kevin Gregg stay out there for 64 pitches, since he'd pitched the night before, but it turns out that his usage pattern this season has been totally insane and the observation serves only to show how little attention I pay to the Angels.

8) Department of Corrections Department

Reader Sean "Buddy" Cowley knew off the top of his head that My Sir Izturis was, in fact, NOT the first Angels' player to have a "Z" as the second letter of his last name, naming Joe Azcue.  Not only did Azcue play for the California Angels when I was quite small, he played for the Indians before his stint on the West Coast.  I have no real point here, except that Buddy has an impressive, if completely useless, body of knowledge at his disposal.

However, Cleveland DID sport five players with double-letters in their last names last night, and I dare anyone to find me a lineup with more.  Not because I doubt it happened, but I'm curious to see if anyone knows more worthless piffle than Mr. Cowley.

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