Some thoughts on last night’s game and the Tribe:
- Kudos to Travis Hafner for um, doing what he is paid to do and hitting his first meaningful home run in what feels like three years. Remember when we expected the man formerly called Pronk to do things like hitting a home run with the game tied and two runners on? Yeah, neither do I anymore. To his credit, Hafner crushed that ball. It’s just too bad he’s only hit 12 of them this year. While his OBP is a respectable .372, his OBP of .816 is his lowest of any season with a 100 games played or more (and actually is lower than his injury-plagued 2009 season). What can we infer from this? That Hafner will never be the same player he was from 2004-2006, and probably not even the same guy we saw in 2007. It’s just not happening folks. It might get a little bit better, but get used to Pronk v. 2.0.
- Chris Perez is good. I was at the game last night and actually heard some jackass complain about the Indians bringing in Pure Rage to “blow the game.” 22 saves in 26 opportunities. He hasn’t allowed a run in his past 17.1 IP. He’s the last guy in the Indians bullpen that I’m worried about. In fact, I’m going to go as far as to say that barring an injury or something stupid, Perez will be the best closer the Indians have had since the good years of Bob Wickman (and I think Perez will be better than him).
- Congrats to Luke Carlin on his second big-league home run. Here’s your prize: a new team next year (if that). Sorry buddy, there is no room for a 29-year old rookie catcher on this team. I’m sure most other teams will feel the same way. Nothing personal. Thanks for tying that game up.
- I’ve chalked up this year as a lost year for Matt LaPorta, whose homer got the Indians started last night. He was screwed from the start, with the hip injury, the bizarre signing of Russell Branyan, and his slow start. But next year is produce or bust for LaPorta. The Indians need him to come through, because, well, they traded away a Cy Young winner for him. Going beyond that, LaPorta is one of the few right handed hitters coming up through the minor league pipeline. You get a free pass for this season, Matt, keep up this crap and you’ll become an afterthought faster than you can say “Andy Marte.”
- Speaking of Marte, the Indians gave me a gift in most likely my last trip to the ballpark in 2010: they put Marte in as a defensive replacement, giving me one more chance to say goodbye to him. I will still stand by what I’ve always said about Marte: he was never given a fair shot, there were always strings attached, and the team has done him no favors in terms of finding employment going forward. I stand by this because I haven’t been proven wrong: some guys just can’t perform unless they are playing everyday. I know Marte doesn’t stand a prayer of making the 2011 team; but the player I affectionately refer to as El Gato still seems to have one life left. He’s survived worse and is inexplicably still an Indian (only longer tenured players: Grady Sizemore, Hafner and Fausto Carmona). But I really don’t expect to see him back next year. So long, Andy Marte, thanks for par-taying it up with us here at Deep Left Field. Wish it would have worked out better.
- Wish it would have worked out better – seems like the mantra for the Indians since 2004.