The K-Tribe Chronicle: Bullpen domination
|(Photo: Kinston Indians)|
So, I get up this morning and flip on the T.V. and what do I see? Roger Clemens strolling down a street as though someone has shot his dog. You know how Roger is if someone does him wrong. I mean, if someone threatens his make-believe-land in which he's the 'King of the World,' well, hell hath no fury.
Why do I bring this up? Well, I don't rightly know, other than the fact that I've been done with Clemens now for more than a few years, and I can't quite figure out why I have to put up with it any more. Perhaps this is the right trial to so quickly follow the Casey Anthony travesty just to cement the fact that at times, the court system can be a complete and utter joke.
Sure, I get it that Clemens may have lied (may have...that's almost laughable) to Congress. But, what exactly did he lie about, and who exactly is his accuser. Well, he allegedly (yeah, again, almost laughable) took steroids, and his idiot former pal and trainer Brian McNamee is the guy pointing the finger. You know McNamee right? He's the guy that was investigated for rape in 2001 at a Yankees hotel (no arrest, because the rapee couldn't recall events after being tested positive for the date rape drug...uh..what?). Exciting stuff.
There's nothing like watching our government spending thousands of dollars trying to prove that Mr. Fantasy World Clemens lied about taking performance enhancers after being ratted out by his former friend and perenial liar, McNamee. Isn't it just grand?
In the meantime, real life for the K-Tribe continues, Clemens free. This week, the Indians lost back-to-back games for the first time since Mid-May, and were outscored 16-13. Still, they managed to go 3-3 for the week, hold onto first place in the Southern Division, have the second best overall record in the league, and confound everyone paying attention as to how a team with such putrid offense can win so consistently.
I mean seriously...it's not like they have Roger Clemens pitching. Of course, I do wonder if this is some sort of fantasy-land. Let's get driving, so I can get on with my day of what's to sure be stimulating tv, watching jury-selection for a liar-liar, pants-on-fire trial.
Where We Stand after week 12:
Overall Record: 46-35 Overall, 8-4 Second Half (3-3 the past week, first place in the Carolina League Southern division, 2 game ahead of Winston-Salem)
Week #12 Games:
29 @ Myrtle Beach, L 3-4 (WP: J. Yan; LP: C. Jones)
30 @ Myrtle Beach, W 1-0 (WP: B. Brach; LP: J. Ortiz; SV: J. Flores)
1 @ Myrtle Beach, W 5-3 (WP: F. Jimenez; LP: R. Kelly; SV: P. Guilmet)
2 vs. Frederick, L 0-3 (WP: O. Drake; LP: T. House; SV: S. Gleason)
3 vs. Frederick, L 1-4 (WP: N. Moreau; LP: C. Cook; SV: S. Gleason)
4 vs. Frederick, W 3-2 (WP: M. Popham; LP: R. Tanaka; SV: P. Guilmet)
This Week's Transactions:
07/05/2011 Tyler Cannon assigned to Akron Aeros from Kinston Indians.
I can only use the offense is offensive so many times, but this club just keeps opening up that door. I don't know what's more amazing: the fact that the K-Tribe is in first place, has only lost back-to-back games once since mid-May, or went 3-3 this week getting outscored by three runs. That's the nature of the beast, and Aaron Holbert should either be praised for his continuation of creating winning teams with no offense, or hammered mercilously for creating teams that can't hit the east coast.
How bad could it be you ask? Well, the team managed a meager 42 hits this week, 33 of which were singles. They batted .217 as a team, with five doubles, two triples and two homers. They scored drove in 13 runs, and stole three bases. They walked only 16 times, while whiffing 52 times.
Is there a quick fix to this team residing in Lake County or Mahoning Valley? Well, there certainly are outstanding players there, but this Carolina League is just viscious on hitters. It really is what it is. But Holbert has them playing to win, and that's just what they are doing. It's possible that this club could go .500 the rest of the way, and win this league.
Adam Abraham is just smoking the baseball at this point. While he isn't getting much help around him which is killing his RBI total, he's doing everything one person can do to carry an offense. This week, Abraham went 7-19, with two runs, three doubles and RBI, five walks and four strikeouts. He's clearly stepped out as the offensive threat on this team. I do wonder where this team would be without him.
Chase Burnette bounced back from...well...a bad season really...to have a nice little week. Burnette made some nice contact, going 5-16, with 3 RBI. While there was not the power you'd want from the DH/1B, it's good to see him actually hitting the ball. He won't go anywhere outside of Kinston if he's just hitting singles, but he did lead the team in RBI this week, although three isn't something to scream out. Abraham and Burnette were the only two players to bat over .300.
Welcome back...sort of...Tyler Holt. Holt went a respectable 7-24, with a run, a double, a triple, 3 RBI, 2 BB and a stolen base. While he tied for the team lead in RBI (Holt and Burnett drove in nearly 50% of the K-Tribe runs this week), he needs to score more runs. Of course, with Abraham really the only other player on this team that's doing much of anything offensively, Holt may have to start manufacturing run as he did earlier in the season. He needs the "Havoc" to return to become a factor with a solid group of lead-off potential at Lake County and especially Mahoning Valley.
Justin Toole gets a bit of a mention here for batting .286, but his two game sample just isn't big enough to make a difference. Toole just isn't playing enough to make a difference.
...the bad and the ugly...
Where do I start here? How about with Tyler Cannon, who really is the most offensively talented player on this team. He's just not showing it consistently enough to make me say it with any conviction, and this week showed off exactly that. He went 2-18, with a run, 2 RBI, a walk and five K's. What did Cannon get for this wonderful performance? How about a promotion to Akron. I'm not sure if it's a full-time move, but based on numbers it doesn't make much sense with Abraham playing so well. Cannon may have more upside, but this seems like a snap move. It may simply be the Indians trying to get him out of the pitching-heavy Carolina League for the time being...while leaving Abraham where he's become comfortable. While saying that out loud makes no sense...well...when do the Indians make much sense?
Casey Frawley may either be the poor-man's Adam Abraham, or just a guy who gets lucky now and then. While he's had solid weeks and carried this team for a game or two, he can just disappear offensively, as he did this week. He went 3-22, with two runs, a homer and an RBI, while walking three times and striking out five times. He'll be around for awhile in this organization, but I just don't see him doing anything to get anyone excited over a long period of time.
Anthony Gallas continues to struggle with the bat in the black offensive hole of Kinston. As bad as Frawley was, Gallas took it a step further this week by going 3-24, with a run, a homer, an RBI, a walk, and a strike out total of eight that made Abner Abreu take notice. The 2010 free agent signee has had moments, but not many. I hope this isn't Cinderella at midnight.
...and the rest...
Jeremie Tice went 5-21 with a run, an RBI, two walks and six K's. Roberto Perez went 3-3 with a run, an RBI, a walk and three K's. Abner Abreu went 3-13 with 2 runs, a double a triple and seven K's. Those actually have become respectable numbers for Abreu, which about says it all for him. Doug Pickens went Oh-fer-seven with a walk and a strikeout and Delvi Cid went 2 for 10 with a run and a K.
This unit is clearly the star of the Kinston roster while there's been some turnover here with Tyler Sturdevant and Adam Miller moving on to greener pastures, the replacements have been as good or better. Overall, the pen went 23 2/3 innings this past week, giving up 24 H, 4 ER and 4 walks, while striking out 18. Overall, they came in with a 1.52 ERA, and included a psuedo-start from Steven Wright, who went eight innings in relief.
There was a lot good here this week, but none better than Kyle Landis. Landis made three appearances over 4 2/3 innings this past week, giving up only six hits, while striking out four. Landis seems fully recovered from his lost 2010 season, and should be moving on soon.
Okay, I lied a bit. As good as Landis was this week, Rob Bryson may have been slightly better, albeit in one less appearance. He went four innings, giving up only two hits and a walk, while striking out five. Bryson has been injury-riddled since coming over in the Sabathia trade, but has managed to show flashess of plus pitching. If he can find a way to stay healthy, this could will not only play in the majors, but he will be an all-star. His stuff is that good.
Steven Wright relieved a struggling Clayton Cook, and went eight innings, giving up only two runs. The knuckleball experiement is in full swing in the Carolina League, and has passed another test. He's gone eight innings in his last two appearances, giving up five total runs, while walking five and striking out 12.
Preston Guilmet continues to produce. He made three appearances this week, going an inning in each game, giving up three hits, an earned run and a K, and got his 19th and 20th saves of the season. In Burns and Guilmet, the Indians have a couple of intriguing non-power closers. It's curious to see where they end up, should they continue to advance.
...the bad and the ugly...
Chris Jones was the only player that struggled out of the pen this week. He made three appearances, but he only pitched in 2/3 of an inning. He gave up a run and a walk, and struck out one in getting the rotations only loss.
...and the rest...
Jose Flores and Francisco Jimenez both made 1 appearance without giving up a run. Jimenez went 2 1/2 innings, giving up two hits and two K's, and got a win for his efforts. Flores gave up two hits without giving up a run.
The starters were more-or-less middling this week, with the exception of one solid start. Overall, they made six starts, going 30 1/3 innings pitched, giving up 30 hits, 12 earned runs, 11 walks and struck out 20 batters. Again, there just wasn't anything overall that was special, aside from the one sensational start. I'll get to that in a second...
Brett Brach was dominant in his one start, returning to form that put him in the starting rotation to begin with back in April. He went a solid eight innings, giving up only five hits, while striking out 3. No, this kid isn't a top prospect, but when he's good, he's nearly untouchable. Perhaps there's more to this kid than meets the eye. Now for the consistency.
...the bad and the ugly...
Clayton Cook only went an inning after forearm tightness took him out of his start after the first inning. He was getting torched already though, giving up two hits and two earned runs in his only inning. While the forearm is to blame, it still wasn't pretty.
...and the rest...
T.J. House didn't pitch badly, but again, he falls out of dominance quickly. Again though, this could be a plus. He gave up three runs and three walks on five hits in his only outing of the week, which aren't numbers that make you think this kid is overmatched. My concerns were that when he was bad, he's very bad. Now, if he can string together some more good...
Drew Pomeranz just can't get a decision. You could make a case that this past start was one of his worst. He went 5 1/3 innings pitched, and gave up six hits and an unheard of three earned run. He walked three batters and struck out seven. I still think Pomeranz will be leaving soon, but I'd sure like to see him put it all together for one last big game tonight.
Marty Popham made two starts this week, going 1-0 with a no decision. He went 10 total innings, giving up 12 hits and four earned runs, while walking four and striking out seven.
|6 vs. Lynchburg, 6:30 PM|
|7 vs. Lynchburg, 6:30 PM|
|8 vs. Lynchburg, 6:30 PM|
|9 @ Frederick, 6:00 PM|
|10 @ Frederick, 6:00 PM|
|11 @ Frederick, 4:00 PM|