True, the Tribe left nine men on Sunday, but you come to expect that these days when you see a bottom of the order which looked like the Buffalo Bison: Franklin Gutierrez (.231), Andy Gonzalez (.208), Sal Fasano (.314 - I love Fat Sal by the way, but the facts are he has been around more than Pam Anderson), and Asdrubal Cabrera (.222). Just compare the two teams and the Angels have the Tribe beat in every aspect of the game:
Starting Pitching: Who would you rather have, a rotation that boats five guys with 10 wins already including All Stars John Lackey, Joe Saunders, and Ervin Santana or a rotation that has Zach Jackson pitching every fifth day? Angels
Relief Pitching: Lets see, the Angels have the best set up man in the game (Scot Shields), a young fireballer heir apparent to the closer with an ERA of 1.10 (Jose Arredando), a veteran lefty specialist (Darren Oliver), and a closer who will easily break the the single season save record (Francisco Rodriguez). The Tribe has gone through four closers and other than Rafael Perez, has nobody who can consistently get outs. Angels
Lineup: One team has former and current all stars LF (Garrett Anderson), CF (Torii Hunter), RF (Vladimir Guerrero), 1B (Mark Teixiera), and on the bench (Gary Mathews Jr). A speedy third basemen in Chone Figgins, and studs up the middle in Howie Kendrick (.313 BA) and young Erick Aybar. The other has Andy Marte and David Dellucci playing regularly. Angels
Its no contest. Yet, I watched the Tribe scratch and claw and out-do the mighty team of The O.C. Eric Wedge has this undermanned team playing hard every single night. He has decided to go to Jensen Lewis as the closer and so far its worked. Jenny did pull a Jobo today (putting two guys on), but has saved three consecutive tries since Wedge went to him last weekend in Toronto. One of those hits was because of the no-doubles defense (which is so stupid, I get the concept, but why not play regular so BASE RUNNERS don't get aboard?). I like Lewis' grit. You can tell he wants the ball in the ninth. You never got that feeling from Masa or Rafael Betancourt.
Props also to Jeremy Sowers for another solid outing. He has his usual bad start, allowing two runs in the first, but settled down nicely, going six and 2/3, allowing three runs, one of which was unearned thanks to a Fasano passed ball. We ripped him good a few weeks back, but the former first round pick looks like he has a place at the #5 spot in the rotation. It was like old times for Sowers and old Vanderbilt teammate Lewis. "This was just like college," Lewis said. "Jeremy would start and I would finish. I told him during the anthem, 'I'm going to come in and save it for you. But if he doesn't pitch like he did, we don't have the chance to win. He did a great job."
Good to see Raffy Perez bounce back after his last long-overdue shaky outing. He retired all four men he faced, striking out three. Raffy Left needed just 14 pitches, 12 of them were strikes.
I've gotta say no matter how far out this team is, I still love watching them every night. Lets catch those Tigers for third place boys....We will be back tomorrow, an off day, to give you the story of my son's first Tribe game, which he attended Saturday,.