The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for August 19th, 2006

Lucifer laces up ice skates

Posted by disappointmentzone on 19 August 2006

Entering through the revolving door that is the Indians’ bullpen tonight was Tom Mastny, who pitched two scoreless innings, striking out three batters along the way, to earn his first career save, as the Indians defeated the Devil Rays 5-3 to improve to just 12 games shy of mediocre.

At no point during his relief appearance did I waver; Mastny looked solid. Then again, it was the Devil Rays. Then again, this is the 2006 Cleveland Indians.

With the save Mastny is now tied with Jason Davis for the team lead in saves, although Mastny earns the honor of ‘saves leader’ because he hasn’t blown a save (yet). Not only that Mastny is now the career saves leader for MLB players of Indonesian descent. It helps that he’s the first and only MLB player from Indonesia, but at this point in the season I’ll gladly accept any factoid that helps to distract from what’s happened to the Indians.

If anything, Indonesia has now moved ahead of Vietnam on my list of favorite Southeast Asian countries from which Cleveland Indians, either former or current, descend. Sorry, Danny Graves.

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Soccer Spot

Posted by disappointmentzone on 19 August 2006

The English Premier League kicked off today. Cleveland’s favorite team, Aston Villa, tied perennial powerhouse Arsenal, 1-1, to earn a point. To celebrate this rather astounding result (Aston Villa is kinda of like the Milwaukee Brewers of the EPL, except…not really), I’d like to introduce you to a new blog. Though not directly related to Cleveland sports, if you have even a passing interest in the beautiful game–and really, who doesn’t?–then you ought to check out Soccer Spot. Its author is an Oberlin College graduate (the indirect link to NEO) and he is a furious updater, though don’t take that as an indication that the content lacks substance. Soccer Spot brings it.

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Cavs update 8/19

Posted by disappointmentzone on 19 August 2006

Yesterday the Cavs signed Scot Pollard, formerly of the Indiana Pacers, to a one-year, $2 million contract. He’s a career 4.7/5 player who’s best known for his ever-changing hairstyles. He will share time with Varejao (and Marshall) in relief of Gooden and Ilgauskas, probably playing about 10-15 minutes per game. Pollard is a solid defender who is best offensively when running in the open court, which suits him quite well to this Cavs team. He won’t score a lot of points, but then again the power forward position is not relied upon to provide much in terms of scoring anyway. Anyone who can bring some form of toughness to the frontcourt will be well appreciated. If anything, we won’t have to watch Varejao hack Rasheed Wallace in retaliation for Wallace’s brutal elbow to Ilgauskas’s head–Pollard will certainly be doing the dirty work, a role he embraces with glee. Speaking of which, that no one else stepped up when Wallace put a huge gash in Z’s head is very troubling. Who would have thought the skinniest guy on the team would also be the player with the biggest balls? If there was a single moment in which Varejao endeared himself to me (and to a lot of Cavs fans) it was when he (somewhat) violently hacked Wallace to the floor. Where was Gooden? Where was Marshall? Where was LeBron? Oh, I know where LeBron was–buddying it up with Wallace after the game. For all of David Stern‘s silly worrying about the urbanization of the NBA, nothing signals that all the tattoos and shiny jewelry are just a weak front to cover up the gentrification of NBA players more than the hug session that went on after that Cavs-Pistons game. You think Dennis Rodman or Bill Laimbeer would have been hugging it out like an episode of Entourage? Hell no. Anyway, I could go on, but I’ll stop.

The Cavs also traded Martynas Andriuskevicius to the Bulls for second-year guard Eddie Basden. This trade was partly motivated by financial considerations–Andriuskevicius’s contract is guaranteed while Basden’s is not. Andriuskevicius is also far from an NBA-ready player and the Cavs don’t have the roster space to keep such a player around. Trading him to the Bulls is less about his skill than about the Cavs’ current and future roster options. Also, the Cavs will save on letters for the back of jerseys. Basden played very little for the Bulls last season. Twice he was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. He’s 6-foot-five and can only play SG, so he comes to the team with a fairly limited range. If he plays at all–first he must beat out Stephen Graham in training camp–it’ll be in spot duty as a defensive stopper.

Basden gives the Cavs about 47 SGs/SFs. Not surprisingly, the Cavs are actively seeking trades for both Sasha Pavlovic and Luke Jackson, according to the Akron Beacon Journal, and the first team to offer anything within the vicinity of a serviceable player will likely walk away with Damon Jones (and his contract). Pavlovic and Jackson are both in the last years of their contracts. Jackson is beginning to look like Larry Hughes but without the skill. That is to say, a player who can’t avoid hurting himself. Pavlovic will always be remembered as the rube on the wrong end of this Dwayne Wade highlight. Assuming he’s able to overcome the stigma of being attached to a play that’ll likely be shown in countless highlight reels for the rest of Wade’s career, he could turn into a solid backup SG/SF capable of starting in the occasional game.

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Time to stop mining

Posted by disappointmentzone on 19 August 2006

There is no closer in the Indians bullpen, Eric Wedge. You can stop looking. None of those guys is cut out for the job. Ring Mark Shapiro and tell him to start scouting. Pry the checkbook from Larry Dolan‘s crusty, gnarled fingers. The Indians must go shopping this offseason. Forget about the power hitting corner outfielder or the ace for the rotation. The Indians score plenty of runs; the starting pitchers put together plenty of quality starts. What the team needs more than anything else is a closer. I never thought I’d miss Bob Wickman, but I do, heart attacks and all. Even if he blew the save he always made it interesting. With this group of relievers it’s the same song every night. To borrow from the late Jim Murray, it’s like watching the Christians and the lions. Not even a contest. Fuasto Carmona? Nope. Jason Davis? Nope. Rafael Betancourt? Nope. Brian Sikorski? Nope. There is no closer in the bullpen, Eric Wedge. You can stop looking.

Fellow bloggers and sports writers, I offer you the following hasty, unfiltered paragraph, replete with blanks so that it may be customized for the proper game, as a way to desensitize and distance oneself from the horrors of the bullpen. Writing out how the Indians’ bullpen sucks every few games must grow tiring–I know it’s wearing on me–so until further notice, should the Indians’ bullpen blow another game, the following is what I’ll post.

“Last night the Indians lost to [other team], [score] after [starting pitcher], who pitched [well or poorly] through [number of innings pitched], turned the game over to the bullpen. At this point in the season there are only two ways the Indians are winning: either the starting pitcher goes the distance or the Indians blow out the other team. Unfortunately, such was not the case last night when, in the [inning], [relief pitcher] mustered his best rookie-league [type of pitch–slider, fast ball, curve, meatball] to [other team’s hitter], who took advantage by [what hitter did]. The Indians’ bullpen [your choice of word/phrase] and the Indians lost another game, [score]. Twas ever thus.”

And so…

Last night the Indians lost to the Tampa Bay Devils Rays, 5-6, after CC Sabathia, who pitched well through eight innings, turned the game over to the bullpen. At this point in the season there are only two ways the Indians are winning: either the starting pitcher goes the distance or the Indians blow out the other team. Unfortunately, such was not the case last night when, in the bottom of the ninth, Jason Davis mustered his best rookie-league fastball to Carl Crawford, who took advantage by driving in two runs on a sharply hit, game-winning single down the first base line. The Indians’ bullpen sucks. Twas ever thus.

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