Stay for a Nightcap! Seriously Cleveland?
- The party line from the Indians is that Matt LaPorta needed to get more regular at-bats, and that's why they sent him to Triple-A. But their approach this season has been mind-bendingly dumb. They are currently 11.5 games out in the AL Central, 14 games under .500. The wild card is already long gone, and realistically the division is too. But even if the Tribe were at .500 their approach to personnel on the active roster and their apportionment of playing time would be questionable at best. One quick look at their roster, especially their pitching staff, should have indicated that this team was a non-contender, and that the best use of their time would be to make sure that their young players got all the at-bats they needed. Signing Russell Branyan, no matter the cost, was just silly. Playing the LaPorta every third day because he got off to a slow start is the type of decision that dumb franchises make (see, for example, the Royals, the Orioles) that sets back the recovery process by an extra year. Sending Michael Brantley down after he got just 32 at-bats was unconscionable. The point here isn't that LaPorta has been any good this year - he hasn't. But Cleveland's approach hasn't put him in the best possible position to succeed, and giving him more Triple-A at-bats doesn't seem like a solution to me - it's a cheap confidence boost for him, nothing more. I used to be a big fan of what soon-to-be-former GM Mark Shapiro was doing in Cleveland, and while many of his trades have staying power in terms of value added, what he and his staff are doing with their current major league roster just boggles me.
A frequent saying by baseball insiders when justifying young players not getting playing time is that these guys are "... not on scholarship." Like many general sayings, it's a pretty trite commentary, and has nothing to do with the team's individual circumstances. There's a huge difference between the Rockies (for example) not playing a slumping Chris Iannetta or the Angels not playing a slumping Brandon Wood - both of these teams have a legitimate chance of winning this year. The Indians do not and never really did. I'd rejoin that if there aren't scholarships in the major leagues, there shouldn't also be tenure programs. What exactly are the Indians gaining by playing Russell Branyan and Travis Hafner? A sunk cost needs to get sunk.
- Carlos Silva's remarkable turnaround continues. It's easy to blow off this start because it was against the Pirates in PNC, but what about his 11 K's against the Cardinals in his last start? Is it really just about him throwing his curveball more and coming over to the NL? If so, that might explain Bronson Arroyo too.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka's good version showed up in Cleveland on Monday night. He threw eight shutout innings, giving up four singles and two walks while striking out five.
- Adrian Gonzalez broke up Cole Hamels' no-hitter in the seventh inning with a homer and then added one off of Danys Baez for good measure.
- Cliff Lee threw a complete game against the Rangers, allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out seven. He has a whopping 57:4 K:BB this year.
- Scott Kazmir allowed one run over 6.1 innings against the A's. Over 10 career starts in the Oakland Colisseum, Kazmir has a 2.53 ERA. The Angels moved back into first place in the AL West with the win.
- Blake Hawksworth's first major league start didn't go well, as he gave up six runs on seven hits and three walks over four innings. The man he replaced in the rotation, P.J. Walters, was worse though - with the same line, except with only one strikeout (against five for Hawksworth) and a homer allowed.
- Sean Marshall, converted (1).
- Heath Bell, converted (16).
- Brian Wilson, converted (15).
- Manny Corpas, converted (7). This was a one-batter special, coming in with a four-run lead and the tying run on deck with two outs.
- Chad Qualls, converted (11). Qualls had an ugly save, walking the bases loaded before getting a game-ending double play off the bat of Yunel Escobar.
- Brian Fuentes, converted (8). A rare clean inning, with two strikeouts.
Other Closer Outings:
- Billy Wagner pitched a shutout inning with the Braves trailing by three, striking out two while walking one.
- Dan Bard will serve as the closer while Jonathan Papelbon is out on bereavement leave for three days. Unfortunately for Bard's owners, the Red Sox used him in a non-save situation in the ninth on Monday and he allowed Austin Kearns' solo homer.
- Fernando Rodney gave up an unearned run on two hits, striking out two in his inning of work.
- Michael Saunders is the playing time beneficiary for the Mariners with Ken Griffey Jr. retired and Mike Sweeney hurt, allowing Milton Bradley to DH rather than play the field. Meanwhile, Chone Figgins dropped down to ninth in the order (and had three hits).
- Ian Stewart was given the day off against lefty Wandy Rodriguez, with Melvin Mora starting in his place.
- Cliff Pennington was given the day off at shortstop for the A's, with Adam Rosales starting in his place.
- Justin Smoak was given the day off against lefty Cliff Lee. He was 2-for-36 against lefties entering the game. He later had a pinch-hit appearance for the man that replaced him in the lineup, Joaquin Arias.
- Colby Rasmus (calf) sat out Monday night and was replaced in center field by Randy Winn.
- David Freese (ankle) will be out until Friday. Felipe Lopez is starting at third base, with Brendan Ryan getting the starts at shortstop.
- Rajai Davis left with a sore hamstring after hitting a triple, but later said he doesn't think it's serious.
- Chipper Jones had a cortisone shot for his injured finger and could return to action as early as Tuesday.
- While venting about the Indians above, I didn't mention Andy Marte, who got activated from the DL to replace LaPorta. He'll get a few token starts on the corners or DH whenever there's a lefty on the mound.
- Mike Carp got called up by the Mariners to replace Mike Sweeney on the roster. He started at first base ahead of Casey Kotchman on Monday.
- Ryan Theriot 2 (10,11); Alfonso Soriano (4); Josh Reddick (1); Trevor Crowe (6); Shane Victorino (13); Placido Polanco (3); Ichiro Suzuki (18); Chone Figgins (13); Conor Jackson (4); Chris Young (8); Erick Aybar (10); Rafael Furcal (9); Ronnie Belliard (1); Felipe Lopez (4); Randy Winn (1).
- Marlon Byrd (1); Jason Donald (1); Chase Headley (2); Joey Votto (4); Jose Lopez (2); Chone Figgins (4); Ryan Spilborghs (3); Brad Hawpe (1).
- Austin Kearns (5); Adrian Gonzalez 2 (12,13); Scott Hairston (2); Jay Bruce (8); Michael Saunders (3); Mark Reynolds (13); Bobby Abreu (7); Jake Fox (2); Blake DeWitt (1); Ryan Ludwick 2 (8,9).