Sunday, August 06, 2006

No closer to a closer

This baseball stuff is easy. Apparently all you have to do is say you're going to do something, and it's done. Case in point: Fausto Carmona.

The Indians say he's a closer, so -- PRESTO! -- he IS a closer! Set aside for a moment the fact that he's blown EVERY SINGLE SAVE OPPORTUNITY HE'S EVER HAD! That's OK. You know why? Because he's a closer! The Indians say so. And so does Bud Shaw of The Plain Dealer, who for the second time in a week writes an ill-timed column. In the past 10 days, Bud Shaw has written that Browns center LeCharles Bentley is indispensible on the day Bentley blew out his knee, and now asks us not to give up on Fausto on the day he blows his third straight save.

Apparently Eric Wedge isn't giving up on Fausto. He says, "We're not going to make a decision like this on a whim. . . . 10 minutes after the game." No, of course not, who would want to do that? Not right after the game. Wait until he's blown four games in a row in the space of seven days, then make your decision. You know, give Fausto some rope. What? He's already blown four games this week?

Fausto Carmona has been so bad as "closer", he would have been cut from the Indians' Bullpen from Hell. In fact, you wonder if Fausto is the new No. 1 at the top of this list of worst Indians' "closers" of all time:

* Jose Jimenez, 2004: 1-7 record, 8 saves, 3 blown saves, 8.42 ERA, hasn't pitched in the majors or minors since.

* Sammy Stewart, 1987: 4-2 record, 3 saves, 5.67 ERA in 27 IP -- and like Jimenez, never again pitched in the majors. Blew his first save chance by allowing five runs in the top of the ninth in a 14-9 loss to the Chicago White Sox on July 3. Ozzie Guillen started the collapse with a double. At least his failure paved the way for Doug Jones, who led the team with eight saves that season.

* Ernie Camacho, 1987: 1 save, 0-1 record, 9.22 record in 13.1 IP. Set the Tribe record with 23 saves in 1984 while pitching 100 innings, then was punished by God with an elbow injury that erased his 1985 season. He bounced back to record 20 saves in 1986, but fell apart in 1987. He was actually booed in the bullpen while warming up. Akron Beacon Journal Indians beat writer Sheldon Ocker calls Camacho the most memorable relief pitcher he's covered.

* Frank Wills, 1986: Who? Eminently forgettable, he probably never really was a closer. He saved four games and went 4-4 with a 4.91 ERA. Somehow lasted nine years in the bigs with a 5.06 ERA.

* The entire 1985 Bullpen From Hell: Tom Waddell (9 saves, 8-6 record, 4.87 ERA), Rich Thompson (5 saves, 3-8 record, 6.30 ERA), Bryan Clark (2 saves, 3-4 record, 6.32 ERA), Jerry Reed (8 saves, 3-5 record, 4.11 ERA). Vern Ruhle (3 saves, 2-10 record, 4.32 ERA), Jeff Barkley (1 save, 0-3 record, 5.27 ERA). It's never a good thing when the combined record of your closers is 19-38. (OK, really the 1987 team is considered the Tribe's real Bullpen From Hell, but c'mon, that's at least where Doug Jones got his start!)

So at least if Fausto Carmona never gets another save chance (we can hope) he'll have already claimed his place in the annals of Indians closer history -- most hated by God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mike, golly you know your sports.

I've seen the "I think this is how it should be so it will be" phenomenon regarding the Indians, the Browns as well as in the real world.

I guess it's a deep dark hole in human nature.

I want this to be true, therefore it has to be true is a crippling inner dynamic.

The Browns are doing it with Charley Frye and the two inept
A-holes who back him up. Why are they doing this to themselves? You can't wish for something to happen and then actually expect it to happen the way you wished.

Lemmings think like this sometimes. So did Nazi Germany.

The Tribe's season is so bad now I actually get more joy from their misfortune than their success.

Again, the Browns. If Charley Frye goes down, who replaces him. Dorsey--har, har, he throws like a girl. And the other guy lines up half the time behind the guard instead of the center. Duh. Vinny Testosterone? Har, har!

We are doomed, just like you say.

It's the filthy Lake Erie water that is doing us in, not God.