Fits and Starts

Baseball is funny. Sometimes it can be agonizing, but at times it can seem so simple and beautiful.

Yes, the Indians beat a Royals team that looked just plain awful. But I guess you have to start somewhere. Zack Greinke is one of the game’s best young pitchers, and the Indians were patient, and started to the ball much they did last year; lots of doubles, taking pitches up the middle and the other way. Frankly, the Indians lineup isn’t built like earlier incarnations, but they can be successful if they stick to what they do best.

If you want to show a young player how to hit, you could do a lot worse than to show tape of Travis Hafner. The only thing Pronk hasn’t done thus far is to start hitting homers, but those will come. Victor Martinez, a notoriously slow starter, is looking much better at the plate. I don’t think Grady Sizemore is ready for the top of the order, but then again, Coco Crisp hasn’t been that much better.

During Thursday’s game, Detroit manager Alan Trammel walked Ben Broussard, the go-ahead run, to get to Aaron Boone in the eighth inning. That tells you all need to know about how awful Boone has been at the plate. Did Jim Thome have slumps this bad? Yes, I know we’re seeing a year’s worth of rust coming off Boone’s bat. Yes, I know Boone has been a maked improvement in the field. But a .130/.208/.319 line in the lineup every day is an enormous black hole, a singularity of offensive ineptness that seems to be sucking the offense from the players hitting around him.

If you haven’t been looking ahead to May, be prepared for some brutal stretches in the coming weeks. After the Indians are finished with Kansas City, they go on a 9-game road trip to Minnesota, Texas, and Los Angeles. Ick. During the month of May, the Indians play the Angels six times and the Twins eight times. All of which makes taking care of business at home very important. A 3-6 record at the Jake isn’t going to get it done.

CC Sabathia is looking very good. Granted, the lineup he faced tonight was barely International-League quality, but there were very few loud outs. When a pitcher is dominating, his outs are generally weak grounders, infield flies, and of course, strikeouts. Sabathia’s control wasn’t the greatest, but his stuff was excellent, as evidenced by all the weak outs coming from Royal bats.

Speaking of CC, check out the newly updated CC Hat Tribute at Mistake by the Lake. The Danny Ferry exhibit has me entertaining thoughts of constructing a baseball wing. Cory Snyder would obviously in the inaugural induction class, as would Jeff Manto and Chris Magruder.

Right now I’m working on the last two papers of my academic career. Boy does that feel good to say.

Finally, a word about the recently retired Paul Shuey. Paul had, when healthy, as good a pitching repetroire as any reliever in the game. But injuries literally cut Shuey’s career in half. He was the Indians’ first-round choice in 1992; a high-school shortstop from Michigan named Derek Jeter was taken by the Yankees four picks later. But he did make the majors, and was a key part of several playoff teams. Given recent history, I’d think he’ll stay with the organization in some capacity.

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