There are four teams in the AL I don't want to see right now. Cleveland is one of them. This game showed why.
Penn struggled again. I renew and put emphasis my desire to see John Maine called up to replace Penn in the rotation. He is just not ready. It's a broken record, but when the team is having issues scoring runs, it can't cover for a 20-year old pitching like, you know, a 20-year old. Give Maine a chance, because Penn isn't going to get better in a major league setting this season. We'll see him next spring, you know.
But the Indians just killed the ball. Fifteen hits, forcing us to use five pitchers - well, forcing is an overstatement. Baldwin was throwing pretty well and then Julio came in to let the game get out of hand. Julio's ERA now? 4.50. That's...more like the Jorge Julio I know.
And how about Chris Gomez? Gosh, you take a utility infielder - and a pretty quality one, to be fair - and put him in every day, and watch it fall apart. Since replacing the injured Mora at third base, Gomez has gone 5-for-33, his average plummeting 30 points. It's not Gomez's fault, but he's not able to make up for Mora's bat. Even Gomez plus Bigbie, who's been on a bit of a tear, cannot make up for the hole Mora puts in the lineup by being out of action.
And Sammy? Oh, Sammy. 0-for-4 tonight, average down to .230, 26 RBI on the season. He can't even hit the ball out of the infield at this point. Right now, Sosa is an automatic out, and if you're really unlucky, someone's on first and he's an automatic two outs. Every logical sign from last season pointed to Sammy not working out this year. He didn't hit away from Wrigley, his "clutch" numbers were brutal, and he was another year older. But I don't think we expected it to get this bad. At worst, I figured Sammy would hit 30 homers and just have no average and a poor OBP, but this is unbearably bad. Something has got to be done about Sosa. This isn't a team that can afford to waste outs.
Yeah, I know, be patient. But Sosa is giving absolutely zero indication that this is merely a slump. This looks like the last sad year of a once-proud slugger. Most of them have it. If Sammy doesn't snap out of this in a big way - and to be honest I don't think he's going to - then I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Sammy Sosa retired. Right now, it's gone from maddening to depressing.
Did any Cubs fans really expect Jeromy Burnitz to greatly outperform Sosa?
Facing CC Sabathia tomorrow, though, and that may be good news for Sosa, at least. Sosa has an extreme platoon split this year (numbers pre-tonight's game): .311/.394/.492 against lefties (61 AB) and .206/.271/.376 versus right handers (165 AB).
In brighter news, MELVIN MORA IS FEELING GOOD, and it looks like he could be back Monday. Rafael Palmeiro is continuing his march to 3000 hits with two tonight, bringing him within eight. And really, every game, win or loss, we're a day closer to having our first string back together and hopefully returning to the baseball the team played early on.
Get all of us together and we ain't got a gang, we got an army. And all you need is a spark, right? Just one spark, something to wake us all up.