W: S. Baker (3-6) L: Carmona (2-6)
1) Frank Zappa and Terry Bozzio wax poetic on Fausto Carmona
And diiiiiiiie .... Die, die, die, die!
Fausto is bad And bad is wrong And wrong is sinful And sin leads to eternal damnation And hot burning fire Hot burning fire Screams of agony Screams of agony Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
-- "I'm So Cute"
I'm not going to talk about his performance or do a lot of justification here. Everybody knows the score. Fausto Carmona is broken. Send him to the minors and fix him. There is no passionate argument. Shoot, I don't even see that there is a counter-argument. He's broken. Fix him. In the minors.
Here's a sweet stat: Carmona threw 28 strikes. The Twins swung and missed ONE of them.
3) Lineup Analysis
Here is our starting lineup from Thursday's game:
RF Ben Francisco: average-type guy, miscast as leadoff 3B Jamey Carroll: adorable untility infielder C Victor Martinez: All-Star LF Shin-Soo Choo: quality corner OF SS Jhonny Peralta: league-average shortstop DH Mark DeRosa: league-average 3B miscast as DH 1B Chris Gimenez: first career major-league plate appearance CF Trevor Crowe: aspires to be 4th outfielder 2B Luis Valbuena: Ethelred-style unready rookie
So, counting, we get (offensively):
1 excellent player 1 above-average player 3 averagy players, two of them miscast for their roles 2 fill-ins 2 complete neophytes
Offhand, I'm gonna say that having two above-average players is probably not excellent.
4) The deeper problem
You can blame injuries, of course. Okay, let's. Replace Valbuena with Asdrubal Cabrera: he is a quality middle infielder, clearly above average. That's great! Replace Trevor Crowe with Grady Sizemore ... oops, Sizemore has been awful. No real upgrade there. Conceptually, yes; practically, no. Replace, say, Gimenez with a healthy Travis Hafner and shuffle the positions. Okay, the HEALTHY version is above-average ... and also imaginary. Replace him with Ryan Garko, then? Below average. Kelly Shoppach? Backup catcher. Josh Barfield? Don't make me laugh. Better yet, PLEASE make me laugh. It will be a welcome respite from the combination of acid reflux and bitter tears I have now.
Here's where I actually have to give credit to the guys who play and the coaches: there is no way on God's Green Earth that this team should be above-average at scoring runs. Look at this lineup and tell me how we average over 5 runs a game. Don't give me that "the 22-run game skews our stats" crap, either: 56 games is enough to wash that away. That game changes our runs per game by 0.123. Hey, that's not totally insignificant. But if you take that game totally off the map, the Indians STILL average more than 5 runs a game. Their 292 runs is THIRD in the American League. THIRD! Sure, the 309 we've allowed is the Very Most Of All, but offense is not really the team's problem.
Yeah, yeah, it could be more consistent. Every offense could be more consistent. That's what consistent MEANS. It's the unattainable peak. This team scores runs. I'm not entirely sure HOW, but they DO. And there are a few obvious things we can/will do to improve it even more (including making it more consistent: you can always improve there). Cabrera is a big help. Hafner at some high percentage of himself would help. Sizemore healing would help (and shoot, he has shown some power still). Cutting bait on Ryan Garko for Matt LaPorta almost certainly wouldn't hurt and could potentially help a lot. Forcing DeRosa to accept a move to second after Cabrera comes back would help: a Peralta-Cabrera-DeRosa infield would have significantly more pop than a Peralta-Cabrera-Valbuena one or a DeRosa-Peralta-Valbuena one. Replacing Shoppach with Gimenez is a move I'd consider, although this isn't a huge priority or anything.
Prediction: this team will score 850 runs. That's plenty. I could be wrong, but if I'm wrong, it will STILL score 800 runs, which is ALSO still enough.
5) Taking one for the team
It's hard to get too upset that Tomo Ohka gave up a couple homers in his 4th inning of work to end up yielding 3 runs in 5 innings of work. Ohka has been a starter through his career, but I have to imagine that warming up to prepare to start is fundamentally different from throwing 15 pitches in the bullpen as Fausto Carmona is setting himself on fire.
I will say this: giving up a home run to Denard Span is nigh inconceivable, and I say this as a fantasy owner of Denard Span. Span does a lot of very useful things, but hitting home runs is not one of them. This is akin to giving up a homer to Jamey Carroll, or having your shot blocked by Earl Boykins.
Anyway, for three innings, Ohka was quite admirable, giving up two singles and a walk in facing exactly four batters per inning. Although he ended up giving up 3 extra-base hits and three runs (4 hits total) in the 6th inning, he made it through a 5th inning of work in 1-2-3 fashion. Impressively, Ohka did not futz around, attacking hitters with 18 of 22 batters seeing a first-pitch strike. Ohka only got 4 swings-and-misses and didn't strike anyone out, but the Twins are a high-contact team, and at the end of the day, he is still Tomo Ohka.
Anyway, when Fausto is sent down, the choice would appear to be between Zach Jackson and Ohka, and I pick Ohka's 1.30 WHIP and 5.40 ERA over Jackson's preposterous 2.08 WHIP and 9.35 ERA. Also, I'd rather have a second righty in the rotation than a fourth lefty.
6) This just in
Jensen Lewis has not become "good" since the last time I wrote.
7) Welcome to the bigs!
Chris Gimenez technically made his major-league debut Wednesday as a late-inning defensive replacement, and helped turn a double play but made no plate appearances.
Last night, he made plate appearances.
In the 7th inning, Gimenez capped the Indians' scoring with a solo shot off Scott Baker, a pitcher who largely throttled the Indians on 6 hits and 10 strikeouts in 7 complete innings. Gimenez added a single to raise his average to .500 on the season. Okay, it's 2-for-4. Give the man a break.
Gimemez was a guy I kind of wanted to see make the roster off his strong spring: he can catch and play field positions as well (I know he can play first, but I want to say he can play third and LF in a pinch). His hitting has always been suspect: he had a very good half-season in Akron last season (.339/.487/.537), but faltered upon being promoted to Beefalo (.272/.354/.374). I mean, .272 isn't bad, but .272 in Beefalo is not going to result in a .270 hitter in Cleveland. Gimenez doesn't give you the Three True Outcome pop of a traditional backup catcher (as Kelly Shoppach does, for example), but getting on base is still a valuable skill.
Anyway, he isn't going to make anyone forget Victor Martinez, or even Carlos Santana, but he might make me forget Kelly Whatsis or Ryan Someguy.
8) Everybody whiffs!
Congratulations to the Cleveland Indians, as each player who made a plate appearance struck out at least once! Huzzah!
By the way, Gimenez was the only player to have more than one hit. See items (3) and (4).
9) A hidden variable
Bill Hall is terrible. He is also awful, no good, and very bad. And I don't say this just because I am a fantasy owner: the larger ... well, yeah, I say this because I'm a fantasy owner. I hate Bill Hall's batting. My patience is gone.
Now, I suppose that Milwaukee could always simply place Mat Gamel at third base, although reports are that Gamel's defense makes Ryan Braun look like Mike Schmidt. I don't think that's a good option for Milwaukee. And, of course, moving Braun back to third would have disastrous consequences, like many unearned runs and Braun would die. Craig Counsell, bless his heart, is not an everyday third baseman.
What the Brewers need is a guy they can plunk down at third and not worry about it any more: a guy who doesn't need to platoon (like Hall), and who can handle the position (unlike Braun or Gamel), and play every day because he's not 53 years old (like Counsell, who admittedly has a bit of Jamey Carroll Adorableness about him, but still). And, of course, it would be great if the guy could be slotted right in immediately, without needing a lot of time to get used to the National League and especially the NL Central, where the Brewers are in a dead heat with the Cardinals. In fact, the Brewers are tied with the Cardinals (who need a third baseman), 2 ½ games up on the Reds (who need a third baseman), and 3 ½ ahead of the Cubs (who need a third baseman and/or corner outfielder). I mean, it's incredible: four teams, evenly bunched, all with the same basic need:
DeRosa continued his extra-base binge with a double off Scott Baker, showing his heady veteran clutchiness against a pitcher who was dominating the rest of the lineup, except for Chris Gimenez, who didn't know any better.
Of course, after being burned last season by "going for it" and trading for C.C. Sabathia then losing him, the Brewers' front office might be hesitant to grab a player, even one as versatile and clutchy as DeRosa. This would be a shame, not only because the fans of Milwaukee deserve another chance to support a winner, but because the division is so tightly-packed that one player, a player who would be useful to all four teams, could potentially mean the difference between enhanced playoff revenues and sitting home waiting for the Brett-Favre-led Minnesota Vikings to come to town. I mean, the Brewers will always play second fiddle to the Packers ... unless, of course, they show their fans that they're willing to do what it takes to win the NL Central.
It will be interesting to see what level of commitment the Brewers' front office has to their fans.
10) Completely False Statement for the Google Search Engine
Mark Shapiro has secretly promised each of his hitters a line of coke and a stripper each time they strike out, and Kelly Shoppach is now dead. This statement has no element of truth to it. Demote Fausto Carmona.