I have (amazingly, for how much time I spend agonizing over it) not blogged much about my fantasy team this season. The club has recently run into a rough stretch, for two reasons:
- the Indians aren't hitting. Yes, the entire team has stopped hitting. Victor Martinez has hit 2 home runs since the All-Star Break. C.C Sabathia has given up 2 ER OR LESS in his last 7 starts (including tonight); he's 1-3 in those starts (including tonight's loss). Fausto Carmona: 1.80 ERA since 15 July; he's 4-4.
- My pitchers quit winning. See the Indians starters above, as well as Dice-K (Boston doesn't seem to hit for him - 3-3, 3.06 ERA since the break).
So tonight I'm monitoring the Indians game. Sabathia's starting, as mentioned, against Kansas City. Should be a grapefruit game, right? NO. Indians get 6-hit, lose 2-1.
But here's what really gets me. Cleveland's scuffling. They need some momentum; they're desperate for some momentum. They trail 2-0 in the 6th, get a 2-out clutch hit, cut the lead in half. Seventh inning, they get a 1-out triple from their #9 hitter. Up steps Kenny Lofton.
He's the leadoff hitter. A speed guy. Knows how to lay one down.
Did I mention the team's struggling? Need some momentum?
I can tell you what LaRussa would have done in that situation with Eckstein - somewhere in that at bat, Eck-er would have tried to lay one down on a safety squeeze. Damnit, get that run it. This pitcher's working his but off, and has been for over a month. Give him a break.
Instead, Lofton fouls off 2 pitches and waves at the third. Sit down. Blake then rolls out to second. Inning over.
Managers have to be willing to step outside their comfort zone occasionally and try to shake up the team. Again, LaRussa's did that by moving the pitcher to the #8 position in the order - and the team has taken off (there are other factors, I know, but you get the idea). Would it have killed Eric Wedge to try something new, like a squeeze? If it doesn't work, so what? You've still got a guy on third and your #2 hitter up. If it does, and you tie it, who knows what would have happened next?
A team that has no confidence at the plate needs help scoring runs. Way to sleep at the switch, Eric.
13 minutes ago