W: Sowers (2-5) L: Harang (5-8)
W: H. Bailey (1-0) L: Ohka (0-2)
W: Owings (5-8) L: Huff (3-3)
Lots of work to accommodate this weekend, short column results.
1) Tortured Analogy I
Looking for a movie to go to on a 103-degree afternoon, my family went and saw the "Transformers" film. First off, let me say that it speaks to the imagination used in this film that "Revenge of the Fallen" literally refers to a character named "The Fallen," so the title is less an allegory and more like "Revenge of Ted McPherson" or something. There is not much wit in this film.
In fact, there are huge pieces of the film that could simply have been left out. Entire characters add nothing to the plot. But the most striking thing about the movie is that many, many, many, many things blow up and fall down and are otherwise destroyed, and this becomes ... unspeakably dull.
I mean, look: I like a good "blow ‘em up real good" movie. But here, some directors seem to put a huge, 1%/99% ratio on the first and second clauses. I enjoy a GOOD "blow ‘em up real good" movie. It doesn't have to be capital-G "good," but it DOES have to have a point other than "even aircraft carriers can sink" or "Look, kids, Amos and Andy in robot form!" or "Megan Fox' breasts don't move much even when running full speed."
(As an aside, I would like the next "hot young actress" to have hips. It would make for an interesting change. It is easy to be highly distracted by Fox's gihugic lips or her John Elway Teeth or her very pretty eyes or her improbable breasts, but please ... really now ... is it too much to ask for human bone structure or maybe a small amount of actual body mass at this point?)
There are a lot of very pointless things in this film, and a lot of Very Bad Movie Logic, but at the end of the day, the thing that was most striking was watching the "climactic" ending battle scenes, and thinking, "Wow ... this is really boring. Does this movie ever END?" I mean, I have been trained over the years to expect that action scenes are exciting things, but Michael Bay has convinced me that action scenes enhance and punctuate a film. They do not make the film. It is the same basic sequence of BOOM ... then BOOM ... then THUD ... then WANKEL ROTARY ENGINE ... and my 16-year-old son next to me is groaning, and I am laughing out loud, and my wife is vainly trying to fire Michael Bay retroactively, and Great Scott, that took a long time to end.
Also, David Huff pitched.
2) Tortured Analogy II
My lawn is horrible.
I mean, there are good points about it. I've inserted those nice border edges along the sidewalk and the driveway: this keeps the grass from growing out onto the concrete and keeps the dirt from running into the street when I water it. We have some nice plants in a bordered area near the oak tree. But the fact is, when we bought the house, the previous owners had planted St. Augustine grass, which is a very nice kind of grass ... as long as you live in a place where it doesn't get too hot and it rains a reasonable amount.
Austin, Texas is not that kind of place.
Did I mention it was 103 this weekend?
Naturally, much of the St. Augustine is not very healthy. In fact, a significant portion of it is simply gone. I have a large dirt patch in my front yard. Somehow the back yard has managed to fill in the holes that used to be there (although, of course, not with St. Augustine, but with a more native type of grass from the woods in back of the house which I will identify as "grassy grass" because of my encyclopedic knowledge of horticulture). The front yard, the yard that everyone sees ... no. I have Big Dirt in my front lawn.
Now, obviously, at some point I need to resod the damn yard. I know this. I just keep putting it off. I mean, you certainly can't resod the yard while it's a hundred and goddam three outside: the grass would catch fire and kill the armadillos that dig holes in my yard. Okay, there is an upside, but not an upside that involves having grass in my yard. Once upon a time, a yard service guy said he thought there might be fungus in the soil, which I've since learned that, well, yes, of COURSE there is fungus in the soil, because without fungus grass cannot grow properly, but this might be the wrong KIND of fungus in the soil and result in large patches of No St. Augustine. I don't know, and I'm not going to replace it now anyway. Soon, though. Gotta do it.
Also, Tomo Ohka is still in the rotation.
3) Old Joke Dept.
Guy walks into the doctor's office.
"Doc," he says, holding his arm over his head at an odd angle. "It hurts whenever I do this."
"Well, don't do that," says the doctor.
In other news, Jeremy Sowers had the revelation that this large lead he was spotted allowed him to be aggressive in the strike zone, and this resulted in getting ahead of hitters, limiting the Reds to only six hits in 7-plus innings, 6 strikeouts, only 1 walk, and he was able to get deep into the game. Normally Sowers spends much of his time fretting, nibbling, and otherwise doing things that lower his chances of success.
Well, don't do that.
4) Welcome back!
In his first plate appearance, hitting leadoff against the Reds Sunday, fresh off his return from the disabled list, Asdrubal Cabrera singled, then later scored on a sac fly. Huzzah!
And then he proceeded to do nothing else of value, but ... c'mon, he got a hit and scored a run! Name me someone else who did that Sunday! (For CLEVELAND, wiseass.)
5) The surgence of Ryan Garko
On Friday, Garko got two hits, including a two-run shot off titular Ace Aaron Harang, scoring twice and driving in two runs. He was pinch-hit for late in the game, but shoot, we had a 9-1 lead at that point, and Chris Gimenez was going to be a defensive replacement anyway since Garko is still recovering from wrist and ankle injuries.
On Saturday, Garko didn't get a hit, but he did draw a walk and score and run.
And on Sunday, Garko got two hits and a walk in four trips to the plate.
Now, not all the news was good: he also made an error on a fly ball and generally looked like Pete Incaviglia's Little Brother out in left field, but offense from Garko would help a lot, especially since ...
6) Hard work paying off
... Mark DeRosa is now a St. Louis Cardinal!
Way to go, Mark! (And way to go, me!)
(Welcome to Cleveland, Chris Perez. Hey, look, Perez has 15 walks in 23 2/3 innings! That makes him the most-accurate Perez on the roster!)
7) Holy cow, what was that?!
Jensen Lewis had a nice-enough farewell performance, getting sent down this weekend in favor of Jose Veras and some Keeping The Ball Down Lessons. Still, he struck out a couple of guys in relief of Sowers.
But then, he remembered that he was Jensen Lewis and promptly walked the first two guys in the 9th. With a 7-run lead. Because he is not good at throwing strikes.
In comes Tony Sipp, also with slight blunderbuss tendencies, and then:
Three strikes taken, three fouled off, three missed entirely. 9 strikes in 13 pitches. 3 Ks in 3 batters.
That was better than ... well ... anyone else.
8) Welcome Part II
Veras came in and struck out two guys in a perfect inning. He is 28, so he may stay.
Matt Herges pitched 1 2/3 innings because the Indians hate me.
Mike Gosling is a guy.
9) The merciless reign of Normalcy
Luis Valbuena against Chicago: 6-for-14, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K.
Luis Valbuena since: 1-for-22, 0 BB, 5 K
Valbuena is only hitting .210 against right-handers, which is good, because against lefties he is a pitcher. (He hits .100.)
Now that DeRosa's gone, Valbuena is pretty much here for the duration, but goodness gracious, he has looked horribibble in these past two series.
10) Worth a mention
After being called out for the five hundred fifty-fifth time, Jhonny Peralta had at least a hit in each game, including two each on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Grady Sizemore got exactly one hit in each game. He also drew at least one walk in each game (4 total), which makes for a nice skill set pairing. He was also caught stealing for the 7th time this season. Stop sending him.
Shin-Soo Choo gunned down Jerry Hairston Jr. trying to score.
Raffy Perez, Joe Smiff, and Kerry Wood pitched a total of 4 innings on Sunday WITHOUT WALKING A SINGLE BATTER.
In six at-bats, Ben Francisco only struck out three times. His hit total was zero.