Another day, another disappointing loss for the Tribe. as they lose 5-3 in the finale to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Justin Masterson earned himself another start, overcoming a shaky start to the game by going six strong innings, giving up two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts.
The feel-good story of the day was rookie Carlos “Smooth” Santana having a solid game offensively, finishing a triple away from the cycle (as most would-be cyclists seem to do) before he failed to block Raffy Perez’s wild pitch in the bottom of the 7th, allowing the tying run to score.
Smooth has come as advertised (through nine games), with a .514 OBP (meaning he gets on base a little more than half of the times he’s come to the plate … think about that), 2 home runs and 5 doubles. He hasn’t been a liability behind the plate either, looking very, well, smooth.
I originally questioned manager Manny Acta’s decision to immediately put Santana in the third spot in the lineup, but so far, the rookie has rewarded his manager’s confidence. And let’s be honest, with Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore hurt, who else is going to bat there?
But again, tempered enthusiasm. Nine games doesn’t mean anything, otherwise Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta would be big leaguers right now. Hopefully Santana bucks the trend of regression by Tribe prospects (although it’s honestly unfair to Brantley, who’s only been in the big leagues for a little less than a couple months), and instead makes actual progress. If the Indians screw this guy up … then the Dolans may need to seriously re-evaluate the organization, from the ground up. It’d be that much of a waste, more than even Adam Miller was. It may sound extreme, but if the Indians miss badly on all these prospects they’ve been counting on, and this rebuilding turns into a Pittsburgh Pirates-type situation, then change needs to come. But Santana and company haven’t failed yet, so nobody’s head is on the chopping block yet.
Speaking of change, the Indians made a change today, demoting LHP David Huff to AAA Columbus. It’s expected that LHP Aaron Laffey will replace Huff in the rotation, although the Indians hadn’t made a move as of this morning. Huff had really struggled of late, with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP. Laffey Taffy started the season in the Tribe bullpen, before being demoted to stretch him back out to a starter. Huff looks like he’s Jeremy Sowers 2.0, another failed Indians’ early draft pick. This trend needs to stop, beginning with this year’s top pick, Drew Pomeranz.
Finally, I threw up a new poll to discuss something I never got to mention due to my computer problems. Call to the Pen, Fansided.com’s general baseball site, recently did a post about who should be each team’s All-Star representative. I chose Mitch Talbot for the Indians’ representative, before he threw up that stinker versus the Mets. Talbot needs a strong start or two to get him back into the All-Star picture, as right now it’s probably a two-man race between Shin-Soo Choo and Fausto Carmona. I put all three on the poll, along with OF Austin Kearns, and just for the hell of it, Santana (even though he has no real shot at it.) The poll is open until June 30th, so let’s see if we can top the whopping 8 votes I got for the last one!