Just a few notes and thoughts from the Tribe’s first real rough stretch this season:
- I noted to a few people when Manny Acta removed Josh Tomlin that it was at least one batter too early. I know he had just walked his first batter of the game, but at 91 pitches he should have been allowed at least one more baserunner that way if he was pulled he still couldn’t lose. Besides, he was on fire. Who was going to do better than him? We all know what happened next. Now, fast forward to Sunday. Jeanmar Gomez came on after Carlos Carrasco left with elbow tightness because today would have been his scheduled day to start, and he won’t be starting again until Saturday. Gomez seemed to be cruising along and, at only 48 pitches, Acta removed him after he allowed a leadoff base hit with the Indians up by one. Two relievers later, the Tribe was down one and went on to lose. I know its early, but I don’t see why Acta has such a quick hook with his pitchers. The bullpen has been fantastic (save those two games), but yanking these guys after just one runner can be a big hit to a young pitcher’s confidence.
- Chad Durbin — you kept us in one game, then you took us out of another. Please decide which pitcher you’re going to be. Thanks.
- The Indians are 3-4 since Grady Sizemore returned, but I don’t think he needs to be moved in the line-up. What I do think is that Michael Brantley should be batting ninth instead of seventh. Chances are the lead-off hitter will only actually lead-off in the first inning. With Michael Brantley in the nine hole, it would give Grady more of an opportunity to drive in runs after the first. I know Acta used to manage in the NL where the pitcher batted ninth and generally the number eight hitter is your worst, but the AL has a more one-through-nine approach and it helps to have speed at the bottom of the order.
- As far as I’m concerned, American League opponents can continue to forget that Shin-Soo Choo has a cannon attached to his shoulder. On Sunday, he became the first Indian to throw out two runners at home in the same inning. He may not be producing much at the plate, but those two assists kept the Indians in a game that they should have won.
- I still haven’t forgiven Jim Thome.
All things considered, at 13-8 this team has still been a pleasant surprise. It is still too early to say for sure whether or not this team is a true playoff contender, but good and bad teams have stretches like the one the Indians are going through currently. In their three game skid, they lost two games that the bullpen normally would have held on to. With a ‘pen as good as this one, for now we can chalk that up to being an anomaly. With another series against the Royals coming up hopefully they can regain their lead in the Central and put some more space between themselves and the other division rivals. Hang on, Tribe fans, it’s gonna be an interesting ride.