No manager in baseball should be more tempted to ride his starting pitchers harder than Eric Wedge, because no team in baseball has a bigger dropoff in performance from the starters to the bullpen than the Cleveland Indians.

At present the Cleveland starting pitchers have the second best ERA in the American League, behind only the ridiculous Toronto starting five, but their bullpen ERA is the second worst in the league, ahead of only the execrable Texas Rangers relief corps. In addition, Cleveland relievers have the second least saves in the league with only 10, and have the league’s worst bullpen in terms of won-lost record, at 5-11.

Outside of Rafael Perez and Japanese import Masa Kobayashi, Cleveland relievers have been universally terrible. Last year’s unstoppable bullpen ace Rafael Betancourt has totally tanked, to the tune of a 5.40 ERA, attempts to get passable work out of veteran retreads Jorge Julio and Scott Elarton failed miserably, and perhaps worst of all, Cleveland continues to rely on Gagne-esque closer Joe Borowski (9.00 ERA) to try to close out games.

Of course the bullpen is not Cleveland’s only problem. The offense has also sputtered as nearly every hitter on the team has started out slow. But while it is inconceivable that every single Indians hitter will continue to be as bad as they have been, it is not inconceivable that this bullpen will continue to suck and suck mightily.

If I were Mark Shapiro, I’d be on the phone now to try to bring in a reliever or two.

– What They Need Index –

No Responses to “What They Need – Cleveland Indians: A New Bullpen”

  1. By standing behind the visitors’ dugout at Nationals Park last week, booing Aaron Heilman’s god-awful performance, am I any different from Red Sox fans who boo Lugo or Yankee fans who crucify Farnsworth or Hawkins?

    Paul, those who booed Johan in his home debut were indeed acting like jackasses. Ditto with the fans who jeered Delgado after he refused to do the curtain call. Having said that, the observation that the same fans ask these players for autographs the very next day proves that it’s nothing personal.

  2. Paul Moro says:

    JE, absolutely not. But honestly, I don’t care all that much about how Red Sox and Yankee fans treat their players. Not my problem. But I’m a Mets fan. And I hate seeing my guys get treated like crap.

    Yeah, Delgado and Heilman are performing poorly. But why are we booing them? Are they doing it on purpose? No. They’re doing what they can, no matter had bad that may be.

  3. Sarah Green says:

    Certain players deserve to be booed. And booing a deserving player is one of the simple joys of the game.

    That said, I was appalled by a couple of chuckleheads on the radio who said Sox fans should boo David Ortiz. BOO DAVID ORTIZ?! HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MINDS?!?! Just as there are certain players who have earned a good and thorough booing, there are certain players who have earned the right NEVER to be booed. Ever. David Ortiz is clearly in the latter category. I mean, maybe if he was caught drowning kittens in his bathtub…no, actually, even then I still couldn’t bring myself to boo.

  4. I thought only Philly fans boo’d unnecessarily.

  5. MattNokeslives says:

    Enter Sandman is not early Metallica. It’s from their fifth album. Good song and good album, but that album did signal the beginning of the end of their rocking days. Give Ride the Lightning a listen.

  6. Paul Moro says:

    MattNokes (by the way, awesome name), the Black Album was not the beginning of the end. It was the last good album the band put out and their decline was so rapid that there really was no “beginning” to their demise. It just happened. Before we knew it, we had “Hero of the Day”. Absolutely tragic. And yes, I do greatly appreciate Ride the Lighting, although I’ll argue that Master of Puppets is better. Battery is incredible. So is Sanitarium.

    And Joe, precisely. When we have to compare Mets fans to Phillies fans side by side, it pains me.

  7. Paul, I respect your decision not to boo, but keep in mind that our revered ancestors who frequented Ebbets Field constantly booed members of the home team. (Clem Labine said that Gil Hodges was the exception.)

    By the way, do you have any concerns with fans booing Willie for his decision-making? Or was I wrong to object to the lousy Brian Lawrence starts?

    We pay good money to see a game. Curse-free booing is simply a way that we express dissatisfaction with how elements of the game are played. I just don’t see the outrage.

  8. Paul Moro says:

    JE, I just don’t see the point in booing. I don’t understand what purpose it serves. It bothers the hell out of me when I see Reyes swinging at the first pitch and popping out the 3rd. But even if I did boo, is he going to listen to me? Who does he think knows more about the game? He’s not going to listen to the average fan who has no idea how to keep his front shoulder in. He’s going to listen to his coaches or himself.

    As far as Willie is concerned, his management of the pitching staff is pretty bad. But not all of it is his fault, really. I don’t like the fact that our bullpen is so reliant on match-ups. Joe Smith, Pedro Feliciano and Scott Schoeneweis have pretty bad splits. I can’t blame that on Willie so much. And if we’re going to criticize him for using Brian Lawrence last year, why are we not praising him for using Figueroa this year? There’s definitely some things that drive me nuts as far as Randolph is concerned. But I do think that Mets fans blame him for everything bad and don’t give him much credit for doing something right.

    And just because something has been done for decades doesn’t mean it’s the correct thing to do.

  9. Sarah Green says:

    Paul, I hope you would at least consider joining the booing under the following circs:

    1) Player being booed is a known wife-beater, a la Brett Myers.

    2) Player being booed has shown consistent and remarkable lack of hustle, a la Izzy Alcantara (who later confirmed what we already knew—that he is a giant douchebag—by karate-kicking a catcher in the neck.

    3) Player is a known taker of steroids. (Countless examples.)

    4) Player defects from team and goes IMMEDIATELY to arch rival. (Johnny Damon, etc.)

    5) Player in question has made disparaging comments about fans of own team. In this case, booing is surely justifiably retributive, no?

  10. Outstanding article Paul. Well said. I agree on all points. Since 2006 Met fans all of a sudden seem to have this sense of entitlement that’s very disturbing. It’s amazing to me that some NYers seem to think that since this is a tough town that they have a right to act stupid, rude, obnoxious, nasty and annoying.

    I’m a season ticket holder and the behavior of some ruin it for many. Players love to play in St. Louis because the fans are nice. Larry Walker strikes out in his first AB after a trade and he gets a standing ovation before and after the AB. Oh by the way St. Louis has 10 World Championships, 17 Pennants, and 22 Playoff Appearances. Get a clue Met fans. You can be passionate without being stupid, rude, obnoxious, nasty and annoying.

  11. Paul Moro says:

    Thanks, Pedro. And that’s the rub. People confuse criticism with knowledge. “If I boo, that shows that I understand baseball!” No. If you boo indiscriminately, you look like a total moron.

    Pick and choose your spots people. Or else it’ll be meaningless when it’s most deserved.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    In a pretty unrelated tangent, I was reading some message board or other recently (why can’t I remember which one? maybe not enough coffee??) and some guy who identified himself as a Red Sox season-ticket holder made two points. 1) The “Yankees suck” chant is lame and has got to go (I agree) and 2) at a recent game with the Sox down by a few runs, the fans started cheering to try and get the team going and gosh golly darn, it was so heartwarming, and he can’t remember ever having that sort of reaction from the fans in the Fens ever before….to which I can only say, what are you SMOKING. I don’t have season tix, but I’ve been to a boatload of games over the years and I have seen this sort of groundswell of support from the Faithful numerous times. Too many to count, in fact.

    I can only assume this is some bandwagon-jumping season ticket holder who only got his seats this season and who also just moved here from Omaha (where, of course, there is no MLB team). Normally, I’m fine with bandwagoners—or converts, as I like to think of them—but when they’re holding on to season tickets, my patience runs short. (My fam is on the list for season tickets…they recently estimated that we only have nine more years to wait—huzzah!)

    That’s just by way of saying that even though we boo douchebags, we still know how to cheer when it counts. Or something.

  13. Paul Moro says:

    There’s a place in this world for bandwagon jumpers (at least in Shea). It’s called the Outer Field Box Seats. These terrible sections of Shea make it seem like you’re close to the action because you’re technically only a few rows away from the field. But you get to see nothing but the outfield because your line of vision to home plate is blocked by the constant hordes of people close to the dugouts who insist on getting up and walking around. Those who have been to Shea more than a few times know to avoid this area like the plague. These bandwagon fans help fill these seats and make the team that much more profitable.

    So bless them.

  14. Pedro, SOME players may enjoy playing in St. Louis. SOME may even prefer the public schools of Denver and its suburbs. However, I do not believe that there is empirical evidence readily available demonstrating that your average ballplayer chooses St. Louis or Denver over New York.

    If anything, I would imagine more players care about the absence of state taxes in Florida and Texas than whether or not fans will try to hurt their feelings.

  15. Paul, I have to admit, I like your style. If I’m lucky enough to score tickets to Fenway, I’m there when the gates open for batting practice and don’t leave until the final out. I remember a game in 2006, end of the season versus the D-Rays and I had excellent seats on the first base line. Sox were getting hammered and the mascot was nearby so all the parents were coming by with their kids, blocking my view… jerks, there was still a game going on. Though the only time I booed a player was in Damon’s return as a yankee.

    I think the issue with the Mets is expectation. Since Minaya signed on Pedro in 2005, EVERYONE has expected this team to win. The 2006 unexpected loss to the Cards and the sudden collapse in 2007 just heightened a sense of restlessness. So yeah, Mets fans have been jerks lately because you guys have gone from a franchise that was just hoping to squeek by the Braves to a powerhouse franchise. It won’t really end until the Mets win a world series and the fanbase calms down.

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