Thursday, October 20, 2016

Trust in TIto

OK, because I am a little slow on the keyboard this morning this post may seem like I am just piling on.

I want to preface this by saying that I have lived in St. Louis since I was 27, or most of my adult life.  I have seem PLENTY of great, HOF-caliber managers from the magician Whitey Herzog who always got the most out of every player to Tony LaRussa who really knew the game and how to put a team together and get them through the season to now Mike Matheny who is doing some amazing things with, frankly, not very overwhelming talent, again getting the most out of his players.   That doesn't even count Joe Torre who was drummed out of town as being inferior to the average St. Louis manager.

So believe me when I tell you that Francona has shown this year that he is in a class with those guys, all of whom may well end up in the HOF as managers some day.

As I said, I trust in Tito.   There is no angst on my part when I watch a game this year...totally the opposite of '94 and '97.  Maybe I am older and have gained perspective but I don't think so.

One of LaRussa's great assets was Dave Duncan.   So is Mickey Calloway to Francona.  I know the Indians' pitchers will be ready.

Hey, is there a chance that the pitchers on this staff will end up like so many of Dusty Baker's pitchers have in the past, total wrecks by the time Francona gets done with them?  Possibly.  Is it possible that Andrew Miller will never be the same again after the way he was used in the playoffs?  Possibly.    Did we trade too much for Miller.   Probably, if you take a long-term viewpoint.   For small market teams getting no one out of a draft class really does hurt your team.   That is essentially what will happen from the Miller trade.   So we are probably robbing Peter to pay Paul there.  But even if you hold that view you have to admit that in order not to make it totally suck, Francona had to make Miller pay off in performance.  He had done that, in spades.     No one at this point can doubt the Miller trade as, while we didn't need him at the time as we had 5 solid, deep-in-the-game starters, we don't now and we can see the extreme value in Miller when used the way Francona is using him...and so can all the rest of baseball.

Trust in Tito.  He has guided the ship this far.   He can get us the rest of the way.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

So, here we are up 3-1

Is there a type in your sports fan life where you just stop analyzing and just sit back and let it all happen?

Take it from an Indians junky who has spent a lot of my adult life trying to analyze every little roster move, draft pick, developmental decision, trade and player release....there is.

So, even before today I placed myself in Terry Francona's hands, so to speak.   Not in a religious way but, nonetheless, in a sense in a spiritual way. 

I am at peace with this season, whatever comes next.

We have gotten to the brink of the World Series with, essentially, two starting pitchers.  We have had limited offense in this series and yet are one win away from the World Series, with our opponent, if we get there, being more in doubt than at any time this season.

Tomorrow they hand the ball to Ryan Merritt.  If they need to play another day it will be Josh Tomlin in Game 6 and then, if they need to go the distance, Corey Kluber in Game 7. 

Let's hope we don't have to go that far.   Remember, familiarity is not necessarily a good thing and, in fact, there is no pressure on Merritt as even if we lose we go back to Cleveland having to win one of two.

Terry Pluto said he is nervous.  About what? This is only baseball and, with the curse lifted by the Cavaliers, it is really only baseball.   I have put my trust in Terry Francona.  He has brought us this far with our #1 and #5 starters being all that is left of our rotation.  Win or lose, I am at peace with how this season has gone.   Will I be disappointed if we don't make the Series or, if we do, if we don't win it....again?  

No, I am at peace with this season and, surprisingly, with baseball.   Good luck, Indians.  Have a great time and enjoy this.  You, too, Ryan Merritt. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Better to be up 2-0...

I know the history.   The last two times the Indians have jumped out in front of the Red Sox in the post-season the Sox have come back to sweep the rest of the series and eliminate...and break the hearts of...the Tribe.

Still, it is better to be in our position than in Texas' position right now, down 2-0 and going to Toronto for the next two.

Baseball is a strange game at this time of year.    Weird things can and do happen.   Let's hope our roll continues as we go to Boston.  For reasons I will discuss later I think we are positioned well for the remainder of this series.  But weird things can and do happen.

So, enjoy what has happened so far and root hard for the rest of our post-season run!

Go Tribe!!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Post-season roster

I agree with the Indians and the post-season roster for this series.  Yeah, we have 3 catchers but if this series comes down to us needing a pinch runner and we don't have one, so be it.  You should not make up your post-season roster for one scenario and, with the two best offensive teams in the AL, pinch runners shouldn't be a priority. 

As far as the pitching staff, it is hard to argue with that in the post-season.   We have Clevinger and Anderson to eat innings if necessary, and, if you have to eat a bunch of innings more than twice, your season is probably over, anyway, in a best of 5.   Other than that it is our iron man bullpen.   No other pitcher has shown well enough to be considered for the roster.

Not saying that if we go to the 7  game series we won't do something different.   I would go with only two catchers and add one extra pitcher at that point (Crockett if we think he can get out a tough lefty)..  If we go to the WS you have to think about adding more speed and versatility and having 5 outfielders plus Napoli when we would play in the NL park makes no sense at all.   So, at that point, I am looking at Erik Gonzalez to replace one of the OFers. 

But, for right now, these are the right 25 guys as Gomes represents your lightning-in-a-bottle guy.  I think his HR in KC was more of a flash-in-the-pan than any real lightning but, what the heck?   Maybe he is our miracle guy.  Solid roster with one wild card guy.  That's the way a best of 5 roster should be set up.

Good luck Tribe

The playoffs start tonight.   Good luck to the Indians.

Only 10 of the 30 teams make the playoffs so we have already 'won' by even getting this far.

We have the 4th best record in baseball, another 'win'.

We have already done this without Michael Brantley and without Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco for a good deal of time.

Sound like an apology for us being about to lose to the Red Sox?

Not even close.  

This is the post-season and we are here and ready to play.   This team has been ready to play since opening day.  

Let's go Tribe.   I still hold by my prediction that we are winning the World Series this year.  Anyone who has watched this team this year who doesn't believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, well, just watch starting tonight.

Go Tribe!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

AFL Roster - What does it mean

OK, the Arizona Fall League isn't normally filled with prospects.   Good prospects go there, to be sure.   But the Indians' history is that you can't really tell who their good proapects are if you look at the AFL rosters.

So it is this year.

Really, there are only two legitimate prospects on the AFL roster: Zimmer and Chang.   Now, some may argue that Greg Allen is a prospect but I don't think that he is as his game is lacking any power at all.    The pitchers, Michael Peoples, Trevor Frank, Cameron Hill and David Speer are not exactly top prospects nor is Eric Haase at catcher.

This year, more than any year in the AFL, it is kind of a snooze-fest for Indians fans.  There isn't really a big reason to follow the AFL this year unless you are interested in following Bradley Zimmer.   Other than him it may be years, if at all, before any of our other players in the AFL make it to the majors.  This looks more like a typical Cleveland Indians farm team roster than it does a roster in what should be an all-star league.

Just my opinion.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

TJ House and minor leaguers not currently on the active roster.

I guess I don't understand the math.   Dylan Baker has not pitched an inning this year.  His career has continually been slowed by injury.   Why not DFA him and keep TJ House?

Don't get that move to bring in Adam Plutko but, as I have said before, teams sometimes bring in wild cards at the end of the season as other teams don't have a book on the guy.  Good plan to bring in Plutko but don't agree with House.  So, like Plutko, don't like the roster management move, especially when Baker is the most likely player to be jettisoned when the 60-day DL guys come off that list after the playoffs are over. 

Yeah, House has not dominated when in Cleveland but he certainly has more value than Baker short term AND long term, even if the difference is very small as House has about worn out his welcome here.

So, another headscratcher for the Indians.  Not a huge deal but a headscratcher, nonetheless.

Also, don't underatand, except for space considerations, why Morimando and Urshela are not on the active roster.    Each might have had some value in September.  Each has, in my opinion, more long term value and a better chance to be on the playoff roster than does Jesus Aguilar.

Finally, although he is useful now, given that we are essentially qualified, should we still be playing Almonte at all?  I don't think he can become a free agent this winter but, if he can, should we just DFA him now?   He serves little value to this team, we can always sign him back later and it allows us to bring someone else up from the minors.  Just rambling now but we are trying to make the playoffs and playing guys who won't be around then makes little sense, except to use them as spring-training-like replacements for the last few games.   If we do that, even more reason to wonder why Urshela is not here as he gives us extra rest for one of Ramirez, Lindor and Kipnis.   Better to have two guys to rest those three instead of just one.