Game 1: Carlos Silva vs Fausto Carmona
Game 2: Jarrod Washburn* vs Cliff Lee*
Game 3: Miguel Batista vs Paul Byrd
Fausto Carmona has allowed more walks than strikeouts in all but one start (2K, 1BB) and has walked at least four in all but one start (SAA). All told he has 22 walks and 11 strikeouts over 28 innings pitched. He's getting groundballs at his usual great rate, but man alive, this is a pitcher our offense will either destroy or flail away at.
On the other hand, Cliff Lee took his experience back at Triple-A last season and apparently decided to start inducing more groundballs and finally start striking batters out. His K rate had been in steady decline over the past four years from 7.8 down to the mid to high 5s until this year where he's struck out 29 over 32 innings. He's also walked just two batters and not given up a homerun which leads to a 1.47 FIP and an ERA+ of 1,527.
Paul Byrd's strikeout rate has taken another step lower and he's already given up seven homeruns on the season. He's too boring to come up with anything further to talk about.
C Victor Martinez^
1 Ryan Garko
2 Asdrubal Cabrera^
3 Casey Blake
S Jhonny Peralta
L David Dellucci*/Jason Michaels
C Grady Sizemore*
R Franklin Gutierrez
D Travis Hafner*
Asdrubal Cabrera: .219/.301/.288. Thank god Jose Lopez is back to being good so that we can shut up about that trade for the time being. Victor Martinez, Dellucci and Sizemore have been the only real productive bats for Cleveland thus far, with Travis Hafner continuing off his poor 2007 with an even poorer start to 2008.
Despite an offense that is sub-standard in every meaningful way (though they do take a lot of pitches), they have managed to score an above average number of runs. How so? They've been "clutch". As a team they are batting .292 with runners in scoring position, compared to the league average of .271 and their own team batting average of .247.
It's not a mirage that this offense seems to not be able to come back from any deficit or pad any lead. Generally, that would require late inning scoring which to date has been nearly non-existent for the Ms. Seattle's offense, innings 1-6, posts a .743 OPS and has scored 85 runs or a touch over 14 runs per inning. In innings 7-9 they post a .629 OPS and have scored just 32 runs. It's no secret that the Ms are getting destroyed by relief pitching this year, notably losing their patience at the plate.
Brad Wilkerson looks more done than ESPN as a source of well thought out analysis and yet, who should we replace him with? Internal candidates are sparse and all lack merit. Jeremy Reed might be the best candidate, but he's also the best candidate to solve the Raul in LF problem. Wlad's probably not yet ready. It's just a quagmire right now with no clear solution because our GM left us with no OF depth coming into the year.
As Dave Cameron pointed out, it's not just isolated to one position. The glaring holes in this team so far are: C offense, 1B defense, LF defense, RF everything and DH. The solution to C were pretty apparent, but the Ms with the do-the-exact-same-thing-that's-not-working approach so, yeah. Moving Raul to DH solves two problems at once, but leaves you with needing two corner outfielders. It's a complicated, delicate balance and the person in charge of making those decisions believes in needlessly extending a catcher for his mid-30 years while low-balling Felix Hernandez on an extension.
THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Great Lakes Brewing. Cleveland, OH
A perennial award winner; imperial stouts are always a winner with me. Super black, as you can tell, with a foamy head, it's much like most other stouts but with a bit more vanilla and bourbon in the aroma and taste.