Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Indians offense
The Indians have found ways in recent years to score runs with a few very good players and a number of spare parts.

Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, and even Travis Hafner were great hitters. The rest of the lineup was filled by streak hitters like Casey Blake, Jhonny Peralta, Ronnie Belliard, Ben Broussard and Aaron Boone.

In 2007, the Indians made it work, mainly because of the brilliant pitching. But Peralta was good enough. Blake was good enough. Ryan Garko had a very good year, and Jason Michaels didn't embarrass himself out there.

In 2008, things have become harder. Travis Hafner has been so bad that manager Eric Wedge has taken to batting David Dellucci third in the order. Michaels, Asdrubal Cabrera, Peralta, Garko and Blake might as well have left their bats in Florida. So right now, the Indians are essentially counting on two hitters -- Sizemore and the suddenly powerless Victor Martinez -- to carry them.

It's hard to know what to expect from this bunch. Over the last several years, I've written them off only to see them get hot for a few weeks. Turnaround with the players on the roster is not impossible.

At the same time, there's a chance that Michaels and Blake are past their prime, that Cabrera is in a season-long sophomore slump and Peralta is just doing what Peralta does some seasons.

Of course, many of these problems would go away if Hafner would find his stroke. But watching him, there's little doubt that he's not the same guy he was two years ago. I'm not suggesting anything sinister. I'm only writing that the guy is past 30, and some power hitters lose bat speed at that point.

Assuming there will be no Kenny Lofton coming to spark the Indians, the only suggestion I have is to start playing Andy Marte. Yes, his at-bats this season have been pathetic. Yes, he looks like a dud of a prospect.

But realistically, what's the harm? Marte is 24 and has never really been given a shot to play every day. Blake is in a slump right now. So is pretty much everyone. Put Marte at third for a while and see what happens. He has (or maybe had) the potential to be a force, and the Indians need that right now.

Sitting Blake or Jason Michaels (Wedge could play Casey in right) won't hurt anything. We know what those two guys bring.

We don't know about Marte.

Of course, if the Indians feel Marte will never bloom into an everyday player, they need to cut the kid and get somebody up here who can contribute.



At 11:02 PM , Anonymous Hurm said...

Try having the Reds horrible offense. One stinking RBI between the 3,4,5 hitters with two outs all season! Talk about not clutch. Seven straight losing season. I can't take it anymore Baker!

BTW, what do you think about the group Vampire Weekend?

At 11:44 AM , Blogger Joel said...

I could have sworn this was you until I said the name attached:


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