Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Can this Byrd still fly?

Maybe I was wrong about Paul Byrd. Perhaps he still has a little bit left in the old tank. I've been hoping for a start like this from him for a while, for my own selfish reasons. Last night's outing wasn't pretty (with him they rarely are) but it was effective. Byrd went 5-1/3 innings and got the win as the Tribe beat the Angels 5-2. This is now the Indians' 7th win in their last 8 games after their horrendous 10-game slide. And this one ended a five-game winning streak for the best team in baseball.

"Every inning was a battle," Byrd said. "It was just one of those nights where nothing came easy... I flirted with disaster all night, and somehow came out on top. Rarely do I pitch well against teams I play for, so it's just nice to beat the Angels."
This game featured some rarities worth noting. First, Andy Marte hit another home run and got a single. That gives him a whopping 2HR and 3RBI on the year. But if you dig deeper into his game log, you'll find that this was his fourth multi-hit game since July 5. So maybe the increased playing time has made him more comfortable at the plate. And if that's the case, I guess I can see why Eric Wedge is so hesitant to move Jhonny Peralta (another HR for him last night) to third right now. So Ryan Garko will continue to be the odd man out, unless Casey Blake is moved before the deadline.

The other rarity from last night was Masa Kobayashi's 1-2-3 9th inning for the save. I don't have any statistics at my disposal (actually I don't really know where to look), but I'd venture to guess that there haven't been many 1-2-3 9th inning saves for the Tribe at all this year. In fact, the bullpen has saved only 16 of their 42 wins (38%) this year (compared to 49 of 96, or 51%, last year). But Kobayashi is now 4-of-6 in save opportunities and hopefully he can continue to get an extended look in the closer's role for the Tribe.

Maybe there will still be a trade market for Byrd, who fought hard on Monday night

Other Tribe Notes: Good news from the injury front - Fausto Carmona is expected to make his return on Saturday against the Twins. And Mark Shapiro has some options in free agency this winter, but how likely is he to pursue them? He also needs to determine which player will be the final piece of the CC trade.

Browns Update: Less than 24 hours until training camp opens and no news is good news. But here's a handy guide to camp in Berea. And the Browns have somehow dropped from #9 to #10 in espn.com's NFL power rankings, without even playing a game or holding a practice yet. Those rankings frustrate me to no end, yet I still look at them regularly.

Cavs Update: Not really breaking news, but LeBron James continues to be an all-around good guy. And he shares some thoughts on the 2008 Olympic team.
"Four years ago, I wasn't put in the position I could care. I didn't get to go out and play the way I could," James said. "This time I'm a captain and I know we are going to be a very tough team to beat."


sportsgirl132 said...

OH thank Heaven Fausto is coming back...especially if they make a move to trade Byrd.

So the Indians have played good ball against Tampa Bay before the break and already have one game against LA under their belts. Not bad.

I'll have to go through that link you provided on free agents. Obviously, the Indians will need to find a closer. I'm thoroughly baffled by Betancourt.I thought he would be the heir to Borowski's throne. Any idea if Joe Blow has landed anywhere? I've not heard anything...

As far as the Browns go...it's easier to stomach now that they're at least not in the bottom 5. I'll check that out as well.

chiefwahoo56 said...

I'm equally as pumped about getting Fausto back. And I'm wondering who will be plugged into the rotation if/when Byrd is moved... maybe this Ginter guy? He is pitching tonight and I really know nothing about him other than he pitched will before the break in his spot start.

We have played really well over the last 8 games and it makes the 10 game slide all the more frustrating.

At this point, I would keep Raffy Righty as the set up guy. He seems to come unglued too easily when he's not in his familiar role. Maybe he just doesn't have the mental make up to be an effective closer?