Short Nerd Chief

Tribe-White Sox Wrap II: Mostly Ugly

Posted by Fred on May 23, 2008

Another series of offensive ineptitude, another three-game sweep. This time it was the White Sox doing the honors, as the Tribe’s losing streak reached six. The offensive numbers truly do tell the tale: .145 batting average, .202 OBP, .229 slugging percentage, .431 OPS. The Indians had as many strikeouts (18) as baserunners(12 hits and 6 walks), and managed to score only 4 runs. The Detroit Tigers, who actually seem to have figured out how to hit, scored 30 runs in their most recent series; Cleveland has scored 26 runs in their last 11 games. This team simply has no chance of contending unless serious changes are made, and Eric Wedge’s claim that the team just has to battle through it looks more ridiculous by the day – one or two guys can be in a slump; when it’s a whole team and the “slump” has lasted for 47 games, it’s a serious defect in personnel, coaching or both.

The Good

One is tempted to say “nothing”, but there actually were a few decent performances against Chicago:

  1. C.C. Sabathia.  C.C. has clearly put his horrible start behind him, and had another good start on Friday night, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits over 7 innings.  He walked only 2 while striking out 8.  Unfortunately, he also gave up two solo homers, and with the current Tribe offense, that was more than enough to condemn Sabathia to another hard-luck loss.
  2. Aaron Laffey.  The good news is Laffey had another good start, also giving up 2 runs over 7 innings, yielding 6 hits while striking out 6 and walking 1.  The bad news is the offense couldn’t score runs for him either, and he also took a hard-luck loss.  The better news is that his value as trade bait continues to increase, and a healthy Jake Westbrook may mean the club can package Laffeyfor a hitter with a batting average actually north of the Mendoza Line.
  3. The Rafaels.  The bullpen wasn’t anything worth bragging about in this series, but Perez and Betancourt showed flashes of their 2007 form, pitching 1scoreless innings.
  4. Ryan Garko and Michael Aubrey.  The closest thing the Tribe had to offensive heroes against Chicago was the first base combination of Garko and Aubrey, who combined to hit .333 with a solo HR.

The Bad

  1. The rest of the bullpen.  Outside of Perez and Betancourt, the bullpen was pretty bad, which is doubly dangerous when the offense can’t score any runs.  Masa Kobayashi gave up a run charged to Laffey and a run of his own yesterday, breaking a 1-1 eighth inning tie. Craig Breslow had as many homers (1) as outs on Wednesday. Jensen Lewis gave up two eighthinning runs on Monday, eliminating any chance the Tribe had of a ninth inning comeback against Bobby Jenks. In all, the bullpen gave up as many 8th inning runs as the offense scored in 27 innings.

The Ugly

  1. The offense, of course.  Other than Garko,Aubrey and David Dellucci (2-of-7), no Indian hit better than .200 for the series.  No hitter managed more than 2 hits in the 3 games. Asdrubal Cabrera, Franklin Gutierrez, Johnny Peralta, Kelly Shoppach, Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez were a combined 2-for-38 (.053) with one run scored and one RBI. 

Up next: The Tribe comes home after a road trip (in which they scored 13 runs in 6 games) for three against the Rangers.  Fausto Carmona (4-1, 2.25 ERA) starts against Kason Gabbard (1-1, 3.12) tonight. Carmona is coming off his best start of the season, in which he gave up no walks in a 4-2 loss to the Reds; prior to Saturday, he had issued 35 walks in 48 2/3 innings. Better yet, all but three of Carmona’s outs in the game came on the ground, which is absolutely vital for a sinkerballer like Carmona.  Cliff Lee (6-1, 1.37) tries to rebound from his only subpar start of the year on Saturday against Scott Feldman (1-1, 4.10).  In his five starts, Feldman has posted a 3.45 ERA, pitching at least six innings every time.  He’s never started against the Tribe, but has an ERA of 1.42 in five relief appearances.  C.C. Sabathia (3-6, 5.14) faces Doug Mathis (1-1, 10.13), who is filling in for injured ex-Indian Kevin Millwood.  Sabathiahas pitched well in May, posting a 2-2 record (that probably should be 4-0) with a 2.25 ERA.  Mathis pitched well in AAA (5-0, 3.42), but did not fare so well for the big club, giving up 9 runs (6 earned) in 2 innings against the Twins.

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