Before I get rolling, allow me the opportunity to get something off of my chest. This is purely for me, but I’ve made the decision to share it with all of you anyway.
I’d like to offer a thousand apologies to my wonderful colleague, Mr. Adam Hintz, and his painting a pleasant picture of him being some sort of everyone’s crazy uncle. It’s just that any time I get to blow something back into his face, I will not refuse the chance. The less we hear of him, the better we all are, so…
BRING ME THE SORROWFUL TEARS OF ONE KENNETH SMITH HARRELSON. YOU CAN PUT THE FOUR-GAME SWEEP ON THE BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOARD…YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay. I feel better. I really don’t like that man. Every time I get saddled with a White Sox telecast, I have to fight the immense temptation to watch the game on mute. Poor Steve Stone. He’s actually pretty good. Anyhoo…
Well, this has been quite a week, huh? As we now head into the second half of the season, I felt the Tribe’s current road-trip is the litmus test of whether or not the team are contenders (or not) and buyers (or not). Considering how the Indians have had their share of struggles on the road, it looked really scary. But aside from a flukey meltdown from Masterson in Baltimore, this trip might be better than I had hoped. Besides, Justin did more than make up for his slip up yesterday. All is forgiven.
As I was writing post-doubleheader at 2 AM Tuesday morning, I said the series started in such a way that was hard to explain. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. The only thing that was certain was you could bet that Keven Towers and the rest of the Diamondbacks organization was guffawing and high-fiving one another with every one of Trevor Bauer’s 49 ill-fated pitches. The kid’s not ready, and I’m pretty sure that’s the last that we’ll be seeing of him for a while.
Carrasco was solid, but still more “meh” than, well, how awesome he was against the Royals a couple weeks ago. It’s getting close to put-up-or-shut-up time for him. Conversely, Ubaldo is probably better than what we often think he should be, or what give him credit for. He never has a pretty slash-line, and makes us scream colorful figures of speech or throw stuff at our TVs more than any other baseball player alive, but he’s been giving us a chance to win more often than not. It’s easier to accept now that he’s not, nor will he be, what we were hoping to get when Antonetti traded for him. But he’s just solid enough that–I can’t believe that I’m admitting this publicly; especially after the litany of times I’ve ripped him to anyone within earshot–I don’t think I’d object to picking up his option. Even average pitching is a precious commodity, and I’d now give it even odds that he returns next year.
Jason Kipnis. My goodness. I mean, what else can you say? I just hope that the two-day break doesn’t cool him off. If he doesn’t get to the All-Star Game, it’d be ridiculous. I generally don’t even give a rat’s you-know-what about All-Star games in general, and I’ve been stuffing the ballot to get him to New York. Cano will get top billing because it’s New York and the Yankees are the Yankees, but our Dirtbag is just as deserving to start at the pivot, if not more so. But it’s a glorified popularity contest, and you can guess where the Indians rank on that scale. So would anyone be surprised if he doesn’t even make it?
And now since I’ve said that, he’ll go into a 4-for-25,000 slump. You’re welcome.
But the best news of all? The guys look like they’re rounding into shape at a time when Detroit is having major bullpen problems and are looking vulnerable. Next weekend should be majestic. And if the Blue Jays feel charitable on Canada Day today, the Indians will be rolling into Kansas City on top of the division again.
Oh, Canada, indeed!