Monday, August 11, 2008

Busy weekend

It was a busy weekend for my wife and I as she earned her Master's degree from Bowling Green State University. But in between the trip to BG on Friday, the graduation party at our house on Saturday night, and all the overnight guests, we were able to see/hear some of the Tribe's sweep in Toronto over the weekend. It's been a recurring theme this year that the team seems to play some of its best baseball when I'm occupied with other things. So I wasn't all that surprised by the sweep, I just wish they could play like this when I'm actively watching.

We caught some of Friday night's game from the patio of the great BW-3 on East Wooster in Bowling Green. That was the site of many formative drinking nights in my younger days, so it was nice to be back there again watching the Tribe. Anthony Reyes made his Indians debut and gave us reason to think that one of Shapiro's trades may already be paying off. He was able to scatter 7 hits over 6-1/3 innings, while allowing only one run in the Tribe's 5-2 victory.

"I was excited just to start somewhere fresh," Reyes said. "I think with St. Louis, that was probably it for me. I was excited for the opportunity and just excited to be coming here, having a chance to come up here and compete."
On Saturday we heard most of the game from the Ohio turnpike while heading back home. Paul Byrd was outstanding yet again, pitching a complete game (on only 93 pitches), while allowing only two runs and 6 hits in the Indians' 4-2 win. That game also featured a bizarre ending, just when it seemed things might be getting a little dicey for Byrd. At this point, I'm hoping Byrd just stays on the team (and helps on the quest for a non-last-place finish) because he's not going to clear waivers in a trade.
"I feel good with where I'm at right now," Byrd said. "I'm very confident. I know my numbers aren't great for the overall season, but right now I feel like I can beat anybody. I feel like I'm at the top of my game."
Then Sunday's game was only seen in bits and pieces between all the Olympic-watching we were doing at home. Cliff Lee became the first Indian ever to start a season at 16-2 in the 4-0 win, continuing his stellar turnaround from a year ago. He went another 8 shutout innings yesterday, giving him 17 consecutive shutout innings against Toronto this year. David Dellucci and Jhonny Peralta gave Lee all the support he would really need in the top of the first inning. Lee is inching closer to becoming the Tribe's first 20 game winner in 34 years.

Lee has dominated the Jays (and everyone else) in 2008
"It's just easier when you're having success," Lee said of his superb season. "Things go easier, you have more fun. Things flow better when you're having success. I'm going to continue to just ride it out."
The Indians will look to build on their three-game winning streak as they return home tonight and finally get to play outdoors on natural grass (the dome road trip through Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and Toronto won't be missed, I'm sure). They start a four-game set against the Orioles tonight with Fausto Carmona starting for the good guys.

Browns Update: I haven't blogged since Thursday's preseason opener so I wanted to give a few quick thoughts...
  • Our first-team offense looks unstoppable by anyone not named Mother Nature. I can't wait to see these guys on the field again.
  • Braylon Edwards makes at least one spectacular catch per game. If he stays healthy (more on that below) he might get 20 TD's this season.
  • I wouldn't worry too much about our DB's giving up big plays to the Jets. Most of the guys that were on the field at that point will be selling insurance or playing in NFL Europe (if it even still exists?) soon.
  • I wish everyone would just cut Brady Quinn some slack, including Chudzinski. Everything he does seems to be hyper-analyzed by the fans/media, and overprotected by the coaching staff. Let him air it out, and let him make some mistakes in the preseason. He needs to learn more on the field, and he will no doubt be needed in a big spot at some point in the future.
  • And speaking of Quinn, his value went up a few notches after watching Ken Dorsey struggle through the fourth quarter. Somehow his 8-for-26 and 2 INT's don't even begin to tell the story of how bad he was out there.
So now on to the bad news. You knew it would happen sooner or later - a freak injury to a Brown. We really cannot afford to go into battle without Edwards, so let's all just hope and pray for no staph infections, no unexpected arthroscopic surgeries, and please no "teeny, tiny fractures to the non-weight bearing bones" to any more of our Browns.

This is not a sight that any Browns fan was looking forward to...

The Browns also signed two safeties yesterday to try and shore up the depth in the defensive backfield. And K2 is looking to help a rookie teammate. Don't forget that it's Monday, which means it's time to chat with Tony Grossi at noon.

Cavs Update: LeBron did his best and almost came up with the Olympic highlight of the day on Sunday (the US men's 4x100 swimming relay team narrowly beat him out) with a resounding and-1 alley-oop dunk. And he did help lead Team USA to a resounding rout of China in their basketball opener with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Team USA takes on Angola tomorrow morning in their second game.