October 3, 2004

Partial Tribe Post Mortem

The Indians won their final game of the year today, 5-2 over the Twins. Okay I admit I was sweating it out a bit, because going into the 3-game series with Minnesota, they only needed to win one game to land right on my April prediction of 80 for their win total, and it took them till the final game to do it. It's an annual bet among golf league guys to pick closest to the number of Tribe wins. But at five bucks a guy, the bragging rights are better than the cash.

So even though they fell one win short of playing .500 baseball, that litle surge at the end of the year brought them back from their late-August fade, and left all kinds of reasons to be excited about next year. Grady Sizemore finished strong. He had a homer, triple and single yesterday, and tripled in a huge insurance run with 2 outs in the eighth today, then scored another one on a wild pitch. He and Coco Crisp each stole a home run from over the fence, saving another three runs. Who the third and fourth outfielders will be next year is up in the air between Gerut, Lawton, or Ludwick. And if those names don't thrill you, maybe they don't thrill Mark Shapiro either. I've read a couple of different places now that Shapiro will make a run at signing Richie Sexson in free agency. Think how that bat would look in an order with Hafner, Martinez, Blake, Ludwick and Broussard.

Lee and Westbrook look like solid starters now, and even though we had high hopes for Lee, we didn't really know in April if we had anything there or not. Now 14 wins apiece later, those two with C.C. make a good front three for '05. Let's hope we can bring back Wickman, at least until we find out who our closer of the future is. All he did was save 13 games in 14 tries down the stretch, totally stabilizing our whole bullpen. We don't even want to think about what might have been had we been able to convert even half of our 20 blown saves in the first half of the season.

The infield is more of a muddle, but the problem is an excess of talent, and a need to balance veteran experience with young guys who are ready to take off in the majors. Nice problems to have. If Shapiro could land Sexson, and pick up a solid starter and/or closer, we could make a run at the Twins.

Thanks for everything, Omar.

Posted by dan at October 3, 2004 9:12 PM