Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Monday, September 22, 2008

Baseball is fun again

It would figure that as soon as baseball became fun again, the season entered its final week. I went to several games the last few weeks including the last two. The games have been fun and entertaining. Winning does that.

Tonight Jensen Lewis was nails in the ninth. He retired the first two then gave up a single and a double to put both the tying and winning runs on base. He stood firm however and struck out Jed Lowrie to end the game. The Tribe won its seventh in a row and prevented Boston from celebrating on the field a playoff clincher.

Winning is of course too late. But it is always better than losing. It makes you wonder how different this season could have been. Losing your three and four hitters was painful but the real season killer was the loss of Jake Westbrook. That forced youngsters into the rotation and put took a stopper out. The 10-game road losing streak that led to Sabathia being shipped out- is less likely to happen with Jake available. If the Tribe had last year's team this season, you would have to label them the favorites. But that is why you play the games.

The real winners this season are Choo and Shoppach. You would like to believe both have won spots for next season. Or will be used as valuable barganing chips to improve the ball club. Two other players had solid second halfs, one should return but I am not buying the other. Asdrubal Cabrera rebounded from his trip to minors. For the second straight year, he has hit well down the stretch. Hopefully he will learn his lesson and come to camp in shape and ready to go. And the other hand, it is time to say goodbye to Ryan Garko. He has had his share of RBIs since he failed to run out that grounder weeks ago but he has failed his in quest to stay on this team. He lacks power, he is a below average fielder and he is very inconsistent. My vote is moving Victor to first and keeping both Shoppach and Fasano.

This team has real needs. The bullpen needs a linchpin to hold it together. That can be either an established closer or a lights out set-up man. Lewis has bought himself a role but help is still needed. This team needs a veteran starter that eats innings, maybe two. But for me- and I have no idea if this player exists. But my dream free agent would be a second baseman who is a true lead-off hitter. I know Sizemore likes hitting leadoff but he will like winning even more. If we could find a stud top of the order guy - I love a lineup 2nd through 9th that features Choo, Sizemore, Martinez, Hafner, Peralta, Shoppach, Francisco and Cabrera. You can swap Choo and Francisco on the match-up.

Hope is dangerous concept. But this team may not be that far away.