Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The slumping Indians
It's actually really simple.

If the Indians don't get production from Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner, they won't win.

Sure, I get frustrated with Casey Blake, with Eric Wedge's refusal to play Andy Marte regularly, and with a bullpen that's scuffling.

But it's May 29. Martinez hasn't homered, and Travis Hafner is headed for either the disabled list or more lackluster production.

The rest of the Indians (save the struggling Grady Sizemore) are role players. Jhonny Peralta has hit 11 homers, but is batting .225. Ryan Garko is suddenly a platoon player. Asdrubal Cabrera is batting like Buffalo is a bloop single away.

The steady production isn't there because of Martinez and Hafner. Martinez was a premiere catcher in baseball last season. He's still hitting for average. But no homers?

Hafner's best days are perhaps behind him. Whether it's age, elbow/shoulder or something else, it really doesn't matter. The Indians can't afford a .215-hitting $60 million-making, non-producing DH.

But there are no answers. There's no Jay Bruce waiting in AAA to save the day.

We can blame Mark Shapiro, but how could he have predicted that his two big bats would disappear?



At 6:16 AM , Anonymous Erik said...

Even Martinez is starting to falter. A couple of weeks ago, he was batting in the .330s. Now, he's down to near .300.

The offense is a mess, with no hope for more than a few decent players riding to the rescue from Buffalo. Once Choo is up, there isn't much more than can be done without making a trade, except wait for the likes of Wes Hodges at Akron to get ready.

There is a bit more hope for the bullpen. At least Shapiro can isolate the bad performers and do something about it. If the offense and starting pitcher can get a lead to the Perez/Kobayashi tandem, there is a good chance they'll get the lead to Borowski for a save opportunity.

The bad apple really is Betancourt. He simply can't be trusted to hold a lead, as was most recently evident in Wednesday's loss. The time is coming soon when Wedge and Shapiro are going to have to make a decision on Betancourt.


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