Monday, April 13, 2009

Preview of Royals/Indians with Nino of TheTribeDaily

Here is a preview of the upcoming Royals/Indians series from Nino of the Indians blog The Tribe Daily.
TDT is a must if you want to know what's happening with the Indians.

Hope you enjoy (well Nino did all the work so you will enjoy it):

First I gotta ask about a guy I think all Royals fans like and that would of course be Tony Graffanino, what are the odds that we'll see Graff during the series ?

Seeing as Tony hasn't played in a game yet this season, the odds are certainly good, especially with the day game after the night game. Mark DeRosa, Jhonny Peralta, and Asdrubal Cabrera have played in every game, so Wedge could start getting some of them a break. Barfield would play if Cabrera sits, or even if Peralta sits so Cabrera can slide over to second, but Graffanino would be the guy if Mark DeRosa was to get a break or slide into the outfield, which probably won't happen because Trevor Crowe has played in both games that Choo and Francisco sat out in.

If I had to guess, Wedge might give him a start on Wednesday and go with the full-lineup on Thursday against the Yankees in their home opener against CC Sabathia. Since all the Royals probables are right-handed, and all the Indians infielders are right-handed or switch-hitters, none of that will matter. Tony was awesome in spring though and we are lucky to have him with the injury to Carroll. If Eric Wedge didn't want speed, he might have given him the roster spot out of spring training over Josh Barfield, but Barfield in Columbus would be useless.

How is the Indians rotation I noticed that Pavano didn't fair well his first game, do the Royals stand a chance against Carmona, Pavano ?

The rotation has been laboring through the first week. Carl Pavano was the worst of them all, so the Royals certainly have a shot at him. Most people are hoping Pavano's struggles were a combination of Texas' lineup, the conditions, and just a bad start. We'll find out soon enough. Cliff Lee struggled in his two games so far, but while he didn't give up as many runs in game two, he looked a little less in control.

Besides Anthony Reyes, Carmona probably looked the best out of all the pitchers that were bad. He threw the ball well, got a little wild late in his outing, but the Texas lineup pretty much put good swings on good pitches. I'd expect him to have a better time out against the Royals, just because the lineup isn't as dangerous and maybe he'll be able to calm down. The starter for Wednesday is a complete unknown, so the Royals have a chance right off the bat. It will either be Zach Jackson, who relieved Pavano in his game last week, Aaron Laffey, who made a shortened start on Saturday in Columbus, Jeremy Sowers, who hasn't pitched for Columbus yet, or even David Huff. Scott Lewis' injury has caused a bit of a unusual spot.

Who would you like to see start Wensday Huff, Laffey, Sowers, or Saarloos ?

The spot I'd go with though if I was picking would to actually give Zach Jackson a shot, provided he isn't needed in the first two games. With Sowers or Laffey on stand-by in case Jackson is needed on Monday or Tuesday, I'd go with Jackson to be the starter. He gave the Indians a shot last time out to at least get back in the game and it would be a lot easier to do that than call someone up, send someone down, have to add David Huff to the 40-man, maybe lose Vinnie Chulk. If Jackson bombs, then you can call him down, let him be on stand-by in the majors and call up Aaron Laffey to finish out the string until Lewis is back.

If the Indians have a lead come the 7th will the bullpen put it away ?

I think they will. They showed signs in Sunday's game against the Blue Jays with a one run lead. Rafael Perez managed to put them in a bad spot, but Jensen Lewis came in and held the Jays at bay with a runners in scoring position and less than two outs. He pitched a scoreless 8th inning, and Kerry Wood struck out the side in the ninth, despite it not being a save opportunity, it felt like one. I think the collective pitching staff got off to the wrong start, and the starters not going as deep as you would expect them to kind of had an effect on the pen. If the pitchers can at least give the Tribe a start like Anthony Reyes did, I'm not worried about the bullpen.

How good in your opinion is the Indians lineup ?

This lineup is scary good. They've been belting home runs out of the park even after the series at Texas. Travis Hafner has homered in his last three games and has really looked like he's healthy. He isn't back by any means and I don't even think his swing or eye is fully in-tune, but he certainly can locate the ball and put a good swing on it. Victor Martinez has been the Victor of old, Jhonny Peralta and Mark DeRosa seem to be coming around, DeRosa more because he was in a bad funk, Jhonny is seeing the ball well but hasn't had the RBI opportunities. And most importantly the Kelly Shoppach/Ryan Garko platoon is working out rather well. Garko is an on-base machine and Shoppach has done a good job of producing when he's played in his half of the games. More production like this and better pitching will only help. The one flaw is the hitting with runners in scoring position, which has been very poor these first few games. The Indians have gotten away with the big home runs, but they need to do a better job of capitalizing when given the chance.

Who are some of the new faces with the Indians ?

Everyone is talking about Mark DeRosa, who finally busted out of his mini-slow start with a thee run double on Saturday and a 2-run home run on Sunday. Kerry Wood has pitched twice, but not in save chances, and Joe Smith has done well in the limited opportunities he's gotten.

But Trevor Crowe was a surprise to make the roster because of the injury to David Dellucci and he came up big in Sunday's game. After striking out with the bases loaded in one at-bat, he came back later in the game with the same situation and stroked a two-run double to right field. Eric Wedge wants him to play a little more since he was going to be an everyday player in Columbus, so he could potentially play two games every week. He probably won't sit for Choo with the right-handed starters going for Kansas City, but he could find his way in there for Francisco again now that he's got his first major league hit.

Thanks again Nino, you were great to work with
For anything Cleveland Indians checkout his blog The Tribe Daily

Don't forget the first game is tonight at 7pm CST.

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