Tuesday, May 29, 2012

400 HR With One Team

White Sox 1B Paul Konerko has been on fire the last few weeks, having one of the best stretches of his entire career. He's made himself a viable American League MVP candidate. Sunday afternoon, Konerko connected on the 407th home run of his career, tying him with Duke Snider for 47th on the all-time list. More notably, the home run was also the 400th of Konerko’s career as a member of the White Sox (it is often forgotten that Konerko actually played briefly for both the Dodgers and Reds before joining the White Sox). Hitting 400 home runs with one franchise is a rare feat; Konerko became just the 24 player in history to accomplish it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Great Johnny Damon Experiment

In April, with the offense struggling, the Indians signed Johnny Damon to see if he could help. Damon was sitting at 2,723 career hits, looking to continue his quest to reach 3,000. Damon's fame has tended to somewhat outweigh his performance (largely because of his long hair and shaggy beard, he was a popular member of the 2004 Red Sox team that won Boston's first World Series since 1918) and I don't cotton to the notion of "Johnny Damon, Hall of Famer." That said, Damon has been a very solid player over his career, and consistent, certainly worthy of the "Hall of Very Good." In 2011 Damon was an above average hitter for Tampa, and the signing carried very little financial risk for the Indians, as only $1.07M was guaranteed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Cleveland Faithful Have Their Say

The other night I shared my thoughts on what Chris Perez said over the weekend about being booed by the hometown fans and about the attendance woes in Cleveland over the last couple years. Perez had already taken some grief for comments that were somewhat critical of fans and I expected he would take some more.

This evening the Indians hosted the opener of a three-game series against their biggest rivals, the Detroit Tigers. The Tribe fell behind early, but came back to tie the game and then take the lead. They were up 5-3 heading into the 9th, meaning Perez would enter the game and get his first taste of what his comments had wrought. The bullpen door opened, Perez stepped through it...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chris Perez Goes Off-Script

Saturday, Indians closer Chris Perez expressed frustration at being booed by Cleveland fans during a scoreless outing Thursday night. “Good fans are supposed to help you try to get through the inning,” Perez said. He was also critical of low fan turnout
this season, despite the Indians being in 1st place (the Indians entered the weekend averaging just 15,518 per home game, worst in the majors) and stated his belief that paltry attendance makes it more difficult for the team to add quality free agents, citing Carlos Beltran’s decision to sign with St. Louis as an example, “Nobody wants to play in front of 5,000 fans… You had a choice of playing in St. Louis where you get 40,000, or you can come to Cleveland.” Sunday morning, Perez arranged to speak with the media; many expected him to back off his earlier comments, instead Perez doubled down.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Your 1st Place Cleveland Indians

The season is now ~20% of the way over. We're still in the SSS (small sample size) portion of the season, meaning we shouldn't read too much into any of what's happened so far (Josh Hamilton, on pace for 75 HR and 194 RBI, won't actually reach those totals. Or will he??? ...No, he won't). 20% is enough to start looking at early season trends though. In that spirit, I tried to figure out how it is that the Indians find themselves in 1st place in the A.L. Central. I don't expect it to last (they were 30-15 at one point last year, with a big lead in the division, and wound up finishing 15 games behind the Tigers. There is a LOT of baseball left), but I wanted to see how they've done it so far.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chris Perez: Not So Bad (knock wood)

UPDATE: In his first appearance after I wrote this, Tuesday night Perez came into a tied game and gave quickly up 2 runs, sending the Indians to a loss. Classic jinx on my part.

Indians closer Chris Perez had a terrible outing on Opening Day, he gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks, blowing a lead and losing the game. It was a nightmarish way to begin the season, and even as I knew not to put too much emphasis on any one game (a mistake Opening Day lends itself to), I really felt Perez no longer had any place near an important game. Over the last year, his strikeout rate had crashed, while his flyball and line drive rates were noticeably up. I wanted him removed from his role as closer, until the time when (if) he could establish that he'd regained some of the control and velocity he'd lost during the previous year.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fewest Career Games to a Maddux

Friday night, for the second consecutive day, a Major League pitcher threw a Maddux. Perhaps we are at the dawn of a golden era for the Maddux. It could be that word has gotten out, and now pitchers are trying their damnedest to pull one off and gain membership in the elite club. That's the reach of this blog, the entire game is being changed by it as we speak (or not... probably not... certainly not)! Thursday night it was Philadelphia's Joe Blanton, who used just 88 pitches to mow down the Braves. Last night, it was Toronto's Henderson Alvarez, he shut down the Angels on 97 pitches, one night after his teammate, Brandon Morrow just missed a Maddux of his own with a 102 pitch shutout.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Two Madduxes in One Day

Thursday afternoon in Atlanta, the Phillies' Joe Blanton took advantage of the Braves' apparent hurry to catch their flight, and put them away on just 88 pitches, giving him the second Maddux of 2012. Hat tip to Joe Blanton! Over the last ten years, this is only the 11th Maddux on fewer than 90 pitches. Hours later, in Anaheim, during the last game of the night, the Blue Jays' Brandon Morrow was sitting at just 85 pitches as he headed out for the 9th inning. He had an excellent chance at throwing the second Maddux of the day! Alas, an 8-pitch battle against Erick Aybar all but ended that chance. Morrow wound up using 102 pitches to finish off his shutout. Close, but no cigar.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A.L. Central Players of the Month

Over at Southside Showdown, I took a look at the best (and worst) players in the A.L. Central for the month of April. I intend to do the same thing over here, but for the entire league, sort of a player power poll, the equivalent to a running MVP ballot.

Sadly, as I was finishing the article up, my pick for the worst player of April was starting his May off with his first home run of the season, kicking off what I would consider the worst inning of the Indians season so far. I guess he heard me.