Sunday, July 16, 2006

You Had to Hate the Signs

If you liked the signs from Friday night’s Indians victory over the Minnesota Twins, you had to equally hate the signs from last night’s loss to those same Twins.  C.C. Sabathia, who is on his way to eating himself out of baseball, was on the mound against Johan Santana. By all measures, a decent pitching match-up.  But this game pretty much blew-up in Eric Wedge’s ever graying face as two first-inning errors pretty much sealed the Tribe’s fate.  We all know that Sabathia doesn’t take well to errors, having quit on his team the last time this happened.  And while Sabathia more or less hung in there for the rest of the game, the offense was inept against Santana.

This is not to criticize the offense, which has been fairly consistent—at least when compared to the rest of this mess.  But what to make of Sabathia?  He’s 26 years of age and has 76 victories to his credit.  He pitches close to 200 innings a season (although he’ll likely fall short of that mark this year) and his career ERA is just above, 4.00.  That’s all pretty good.  But despite these accomplishments, he remains the quintessential enigma wrapped in an éclair. The Indians official web site currently lists his weight at 290 pounds on his 6’7” frame.  He’s easily over 3 bills.  At some point all that weight will wreck havoc on his knees and it will be difficult for him in the next several years to match his early career unless and until he starts taking his physical conditioning seriously.  The Tribe front office can make all the excuses it wants for Sabathia, but if he doesn’t get on a weight program he’ll look like the Sta-Puff man next year, especially in the home white uniforms.

And what, again, to make of Ben Broussard?  His error last night in the first inning opened the gates.  In context, playing Victor Martinez at first full time is starting to make more and more sense.  When both Boone and Broussard are in the line-up the Indians field possibly the worst defensive corners in their history.  When you throw in the adventurous Jhonny Peralta at short, well, you just better hope everything is a fly ball to center field.  At least Sizemore’s the real deal.

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