Wednesday, April 6, 2011
You might want to cover your eyes
By David Schoenfield
Cleveland Indians fans, I know you have it in you. I know it won’t be easy. I know your owner is a cheapskate and you traded away CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee and nobody thinks your team is any good and you’ve basically thrown out baseball with the Monday trash. I’m sure a bunch of you probably gave up after that Opening Day debacle.
Understand: I feel your pain. I’m from Seattle. You haven’t won a World Series since 1948? My team has never even reached one. You lost LeBron? We lost an entire franchise.
AROUND THE SWEETSPOT NETWORK
Pro Ball NW
Michael Pineda made his much anticipated debut and didn't disappoint. He started his career off with a bang by striking out two All-Stars in his first inning of work -- Ian Kinsler on a slider and Josh Hamilton on a changeup. For the most part he was able to keep Ranger hitters off balance with some quality sliders while his fastball proved to be tough to hit even when it wasn't perfectly located. He had a few hiccups along the way, just as you'd expect from a rookie and far-from-finished product, but survived. 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 4 K, 1 BB, 7 grounders to 6 flyouts, 85 pitches.
Fire Brand of the AL
While adding the two best hitters this offseason the Red Sox also entered the season with an abundance of left-handed hitters. This could cause problems in 2011 if not handled properly and so far I don't think it has been. First Im going to look at setting the best lineup and then the best "platoons" to get the most out of our options.
The Platoon Advantage
If we've learned nothing else from Randy Newman, it's that short people got no reason to live. Except perhaps for the Kansas City Royals' new reliever, Tim Collins. Collins is generously listed as 5'7" tall, and is one of the shortest pitchers in baseball history (if his listing is accurate, which it isn't, he would be tied for 22nd all time).
But I was at the gym watching the Indians host the Red Sox, and all I saw were empty seats. Yes, I know it was a Tuesday night and it was 42 degrees. Attendance was announced at 9,025, but that must have included groundskeepers, concession workers and the drum.
I’m not expecting sellout crowds like the good ol’ days in the ‘90s. I attended a couple of games back then. What a fun team of mashers -- Thome and Manny and Bad Albert. The crowd was fantastic, the Jake was rockin’ and I daresay there have been few teams to receive that kind of support. So give this team a chance. Shin-Soo Choo is one of the best all-around players in the game, Carlos Santana is going be monster force in the cleanup spot and even Josh Tomlin looked pretty good.
So once the weather warms up, let baseball back into your hearts. Go to the ballpark. Don’t make me cover my eyes when I see those crowd shots from Cleveland.
Now, to be fair ... that’s not the only thing making me cover my eyes early on this baseball season.
Josh Beckett: I was not impressed with your performance Tuesday night. Or your waistline. That baggy uniform didn’t hide anything, and you labored through 106 pitches in five innings, walking four batters. You seemed hesitant to challenge hitters. That looked like the Josh Beckett of 2010.
Kevin Youkilis: You’re a great hitter. Love the whole Greek God of Walks thing. But you’re a third baseman now. Did you hang with Josh all offseason? As a third baseman, you need to be quick on your feet.
Rafael Soriano: Just guessing here, but Hank Steinbrenner probably doesn’t like his $10 million setup man blowing four-run leads.
Oakland’s defense: Two more errors Tuesday, leading to an unearned run in a game the Blue Jays won in the 10th inning. That’s nine errors in four games.
Closers: You guys have been terrible. We actually made it through a day without a blown save in the ninth inning. But then Grant Balfour had to go and blow Oakland’s 6-5 lead in the 10th inning. Please, just one day without a blown save. Show me it can be done.
Yovani Gallardo: How dare you pitch a complete game! You make me cover my eyes in shame, showing up your teammates like that. Since when do starting pitchers go nine innings? You even scored the Brewers’ only run? Don’t you know this is a team game? Quit being so selfish.
Cole Hamels: You’re not holding up your end of the bargain.
Fredi Gonzalez: For the love of OBP, please move Jason Heyward higher in the lineup. Thou shalt not bat your best hitter sixth.
Manny Ramirez: You’re 1-for-16 with four strikeouts and no walks. How are the Rays supposed to be the Little Engine That Could if you’re hitting .063?
Red Sox fans: Actually, I’m not covering my eyes. I’m covering my ears. I can hear the whining all the way down here in Connecticut.
Photo Of The Day
No, Chris Coghlan cannot fly. But this soaring act earned him a catch -- and a Web Gem.