Monday, April 14, 2008

Close the book on Borowski
You knew the Indians were in trouble before Joe Borowski even threw a pitch.

The team was leading Boston, 4-3, going to the bottom of the ninth. That alone should be setting off bells, since Borowski usually needs a few runs to work with.

But Borowski's problem so far this year is more specific than in the past. His fastball Monday night was topping out in the low 80s. He threw David Ortiz a pitch the slugger should have destroyed. Instead, it fell in shallow left for a hit.

But throwing fastballs to Manny Ramirez is hard enough. Throwing 81 mile per hour fastballs is disaster.

The Indians have problems all over the place, but the most pressing is the bullpen. Rafael Betancourt gave up a solo homer tonight, setting the stage for Borowski's meltdown.

Jake Westbrook pitched well, but he can't go nine innings every week. If Borowski is hurt, or for some other reason needs to be removed as closer, the Indians could be in trouble.

The only reliever on the staff who has closed is Jorge Julio, and he's a middle reliever on this team.

What happens from here is anyone's guess. But there is no way the Indians can expect to compete with the upper-tier teams in the American League without a consistent closer.

And it's looking like Borowski can no longer fill that spot.



At 5:45 AM , Anonymous Erik said...

Masa Kobayashi has closed a bit, too. Yes, it was in the Japanese leagues, but he at least has spent most of his career negotiating ninth-inning pressure situations. Japanese closers might not have to deal with David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez back-to-back, but they have to deal with getting the last three outs with 40,000 sets of eyes on them.

But having said that, I don't think there is a ready-made closer solution on the roster. Betancourt's command has abandoned him, Perez is too valuable in a setup role, and Kobayashi and Julio are rolls of the dice at best.

What we do know is that Borowski is done. He's not going to recover. If he was throwing 92 and just missing his spots, I'd say hang onto him. But he's throwing 80-83. You can find your command again in a bullpen session. You're not going to find 10 mph on your fastball by working with Luis Isaac.

At 9:21 AM , Blogger Vince said...

Well, I hope JoeBo can find his fastball after 15 days on the DL.


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