Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hitting rock bottom

I thought the Tribe hit rock bottom this season on July 9th when they lost their 10th consecutive game. It seemed at that point that things couldn't get much worse. They had blown a bunch of winnable games during that stretch and finally slid to 16 games under .500 before partly righting the ship and rattling off four straight wins over Tampa Bay just before the All-Star break. The worst of the season was over, right? Time to look toward the future and watch some of the younger guys fight for spots on the team next year. At least that could be interesting to watch. But there was nothing interesting about yesterday's game in Tampa Bay. A more proper way to describe it would be sickening.

The Indians officially hit rock bottom yesterday around 4:00 PM when their bullpen completely imploded. Holding a 7-4 lead heading into the 9th inning it felt like things were safe and they would escape taking two of three in the series against the resurgent Rays. But then Edward Mujica, the latest experiment in the great closer search of '08, was handed the ball. Just nine pitches later, Eric Wedge was forced yank Mujica from the game with the score tied at 7 and still no outs. Masa Kobayashi got the call and did Mujica one better, allowing three more runs on just 8 pitches and not recording an out. Final score: 10-7. The Rays danced around near home plate and the Tribe headed off to Toronto to continue their awful season. Thankfully we are spared from watching the 'pen again today as the Tribe has the day off in Canada.

Next up, Kobayashi to complete the implosion

I should note that the bullpen can't be completely blamed for this one. Indians hitters were nearly as awful (excluding Jhonny Peralta who was a stellar 5-for-5), leaving 18 men stranded on base. It's just a continuation of the year-long theme of zero clutch hitting and disastrous bullpen work. And that's a great recipe for a last-place finish.

Other Tribe Notes: Ryan Garko was benched yesterday after not running out a ground ball in the second inning, just to round out the Tribe's great day. Garko has really been a mystery to me this year. And some injury updates and call-ups yesterday. I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict that Brendan Donnelly will be getting a shot at the closer's role in the near future. He can't be any worse than the other candidates have been.

Browns Update: FINALLY, we get to see the Browns on the field in some real game action (at least as real as the preseason can get). They will take on the Jets tonight at the Stadium in a 7:30 kickoff. Thankfully the Brett Favre saga didn't end until yesterday, but I have a feeling it will still be somewhat of a media circus surrounding the Jets. Romeo Crennel is looking forward to assessing his players in a real game setting. And Brady Quinn promises to remain a patient understudy to DA.
''I want to see how the rookies react to the environment with people in the stands and it actually counting,'' Crennel said. ''Also in the preseason, the tempo of the game increases. . . . So I want to see how they handle that. Will they hit? That becomes an important thing — and how they handle getting hit.''

Cavs Update:
The Cavs released their 2008-09 schedule yesterday. They will be the very first game on the NBA schedule this year, opening in Boston on October 28th with revenge on their minds. The Cavaliers will be featured on 25 national TV games (not including games aired on NBATV). They also get another Christmas Day game, this time against their bitches, the Washington Wizards.

LBJ & the Cavs will look to spoil the ring ceremony on 10/28

Also of note, Bud Shaw agrees about the lunacy of LeBron playing in Europe. We will get to see LBJ take center stage on Sunday when Team USA plays China in their Olympic opener.