Big Weekend Allows Tribe to Gain on Sox
What? It’s true.
The Indians went into Kansas City on Friday trailing the first place Chicago White Sox by 6 games in the AL Central. When the smoke cleared on Sunday evening they were only 5 games back.
This is what happens when you’re good enough to win a game over the weekend while the White Sox are in the process of being swept by Tampa Bay.
Or lucky enough. Whatever the case may be.
That will about do it for the good news.
How bad were the Indians this weekend in Kansas City? Well, apparently they were bad enough that once their plane landed in Kansas City Travis Hafner decided not to de-plane. I’m not sure if it was premonition of games to come for Hafner or whether it was a legitimate injury, but the Indians DH returned to Cleveland on Friday night and landed on the disabled list with a mysterious shoulder injury.
That’s too bad. Because Hafner’s bulk would have been useful in trying to help pry Grady Sizemore off the left-center field fence after Sizemore collided with the wall at full speed while tracking down a Jose Guillen laser off Joe Borowski for the game’s final out.
The Indians hung on to win Friday night’s ballgame 5-4 despite their best efforts to lose it. Despite entering the game with a 12 game losing streak and some internal strife the Royals only fighting amongst each other on Friday night was at the bat rack as they all were eager to take their hacks against Borowski and his ‘hanging fastball’.
Not a single Royal swung at missed at an offering from the Tribe’s closer and Borowski gave up a double to Royals 2nd baseman Esteban German that missed being a homerun by about 6 inches. How difficult is that to do? Well, it was German’s first double of the season in 45 at bats. After the double by German, Alex Gordon hit another seed off Borowski directly at Ben Francisco in left. That set the stage for Guillen to actually hit a ball off Borowski too hard and with too much top spin, allowing Sizemore to make a tremendous catch to end the ballgame. The effort probably cost Sizemore about three years off the back end his career and he did sit down on the warning track for a few minutes after the out was recorded and until the bells stopped ringing, but hey, Joe Borowski just gets it done right?
Borowski isn’t the biggest problem on this club. Hell, at this point he’s not even in the top 5 as far as major concerns go. The reason being that given the inability of the offense to actually score, plus the bullpen’s inability to hold a lead, Borowski doesn’t have the opportunity to blow too many ballgames.
But make no mistake: Joe Borowski is awful.
Spare me the stories of his 45 saves last season. Spare me the “He just gets it done” song and dance. The guy may have intestinal fortitude and he may be a gamer but he’s simply got absolutely nothing left to give at this point in his career.
Fresh off a stint on the DL JoBo has come back ‘healthy’ and struggles to hit 85mph on the radar gun. His breaking stuff, rather than being sharp, is what I would call “Frisbee-like”. Mix in those hanging sliders with his hanging fastball and you get major league hitters (and Kansas City Royals hitters too) lining balls all over the ballpark every single night.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say if Borowski was cut loose there would not be a single team interested in the 2007 AL saves leader for their closer role. And that would have to go down as unprecedented in major league history.
You think things are bad now? Wait until the offense does string a couple games together when they muscle up and score 3 runs and Borowski gives up the ghost in the 9th inning. We’ll have people jumping from bridges all across Northeast Ohio.
Not so Fast ‘Offense’
I have plenty of venom left for what poses as the Indians lineup these days. Sunday was a disgrace. In the 6-1 loss to the Royals on Sunday I counted exactly two every day major league ballplayers in the lineup. Sizemore was out of intensive care and in centerfield and Jhonny Peralta was playing SS. The rest of the batting order looked like it was pulled out of a hat filled with the names of extras from the movie ‘Platoon’ or from a 2004 Double-A All Star game.
Making matters worse was that the only ideal everyday major leaguer on the bench was Victor Martinez.
One look at the lineup had me turning off the television and actually seeking out work to do around the house. And for this offense I will never forgive the men that put this team together. I settled on patching in some areas of my backyard with top soil and grass seed. I came to this decision when I realized that there is no help coming to the lineup from the Indians farm system and that I could avoid Sunday’s game by planting the grass and also avoid future ballgames while I watch it grow.
Avoiding the violent headaches I get from watching this team and listening to people bitch about them is also getting expensive. Planting grass didn’t take enough time to ensure I wouldn’t be subject to watching the late innings. So, against my better judgment, I took the two youngest daughters down to the pond behind the house and did a little fishing. The 10-yr old caught a number of bluegill and sun fish. The 7-yr old caught two as well. Unfortunately she completely totaled two rods and one reel in the process.
Backbreaking labor and $100 worth of gear and tackle ruined because Mark Shapiro felt compelled to do nothing all off season in regard to addressing this team’s offense. I have half a mind to bill the Indians for the fishing equipment. But it’s still probably healthier (and less expensive) than mainlining Wild Turkey and Vermouth while watching this club ‘hit’.
There’s Hitting on the Horizon
Browns training camp is seven weeks away.
There is Some Hitting Going On Now
I’ve never paid a dime to watch MMA action. I’ve just never gotten into it and figured I’m doing enough every day to book my first class passage to hell without watching that. But CBS and Versus offered some free prime time MMA action on Saturday and Sunday night and I took advantage of the price and the opportunity to check this sport out for myself.
The bottom line: despite the fact there was some questionable decision making by officials during the Saturday fights I thought the action and entertainment value was terrific.
Kimbo Slice, the newest poster child for MMA, was handed a victory despite his opponent likely being able to continue but the action itself is riveting. People can complain about the fact it’s a blood sport and borderline savagery but from what I watched the doctors and the ring officials were extremely conservative in their decisions whether or not to allow a fight continue, more so than they are in boxing on many occasions.
Especially entertaining was the women’s bout between Gina Carano and Kaitlin Young. And before you go all Gloria Steinem on me with comparisons to mud wrestling and other such sexist thoughts, understand that these women both weighed in at about 140lbs of pure muscle and are schooled in multiple martial arts.