Posted by disappointmentzone on 15 July 2006
In his roundup of the various NBA summer leagues, SI.com scribe Marty Burns tags Cavs guard Sasha Pavolvic as the largest disappointment of the Las Vegas Summer League. Sasha has averaged only 11 points and three rebounds per game this summer and on Wednesday shot 1-13 from the field in 28 minutes against the mighty Hornets. Look for first round draft pick Shannon Brown to steadily increase his chances of taking over as back-up SG and for the Cavs to possibly trade Sasha this season (his rookie contract ends after this season and the Cavs will not resign him). While there might be a slight drop-off from Sasha to Shannon on the court at first, no slack will be lost in the Androgynous Name Department.
Shannon Brown immediately becomes the alternative at back-up SG because Flip Murrary is signing with the Pistons, according to reports. Murray on Friday agreed to a two-year $3.8 million to play with our rivals from the North.
Meanwhile, the Bellagio has given the Cavs 12:1 odds on winning the championship next season, the same odds as Chicago. Curiously, while adding Ben Wallace to their roster has raised Chicago’s odds of winning the championship considerably, losing Ben Wallace hasn’t decreased Detriot’s odds that much: the Pistons post at 7:1, the fifth likeliest team to win according to Vegas. The Mavs are first at 4:1, followed by the Heat and Sprus at 5:1. The Blazers are bringing up the rear at 300:1. The good money is on the Bucks at 40:1.
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Posted by disappointmentzone on 15 July 2006
The Indians scored all of their two runs off of one home runs last night, a two-run shot by Jason Michaels in the sixth, and to no one’s surprise, or at least not mine, the Indians lost, 2-3, to the Twins in 10 innings. As a team the Indians had zero at bats with runners in scoring position last night, a considerable feat for any professional team facing a starting pitcher who had an ERA above 5 entering the game. The Indians mustered six hits, hit into two double plays, committed one error, and had 14 outs in which to score one run to take the lead but failed. The bullpen did a yeoman’s job after taking over for Paul Byrd in the sixth, giving up no runs until the 10th when rookie Edward Mujica gave up his first run of the season, the result of three consecutive bloop singles with one out.
None of the hits would have been prevented by any traditional defensive alignment, but manager Eric Wedge went with an unusual strategy after the Twins had men on third and first. Most managers would walk the next batter to lead the bases, thus allowing for a force-out at any base. With the force-out an option at home plate, these managers would play their infielders tight to home plate in an attempt to cut down the runner heading home on any ground ball. Alternatively, facing runners at third and first and one out, some other managers would play the infield back to keep the double play an option. Eric Wedge opted for the bastardized version of these two choices, not walking the next batter but playing his infield in. Jason Tyner rendered Wedge’s decision moot by singling to right field, but Wedge nonetheless exposed once again his (shall we say) unique managerial mind.
So the Indians lose another one run game, again the result of poor hitting. If you’ve followed this site at all over the past week then you shouldn’t be surprised that in such a close game the Indians bats abandoned the hitters, thus wasting another excellent performance by the pitching staff. Though one of the top offenses in baseball, the Indians are entirely unable to muster whatever it is that makes them click once every few games, when they score eight runs in six innings or five runs in the first two innings or whatever…which is probably a sign that we shouldn’t consider the offense one of the best in baseball, but that’s another matter. The strategy of keeping the game close until the later innings works once more for the opposing team. At this point–after leading the league in fewest come-from-behind victories and squandering two of the last three games–is there any baseball mind that doesn’t already know that the Indians, when the game is close and the remaining innings are few, cannot hit? Probably not. Which is why no one 1) probably thought the Indians were going to win last night and 2) is surprised that they lost by one run in extra innings.
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