Indians offering less relief than D-Backs - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Indians offering less relief than D-Backs

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Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2004 6:16 am | Updated: 5:13 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Believe it or not, there is a bullpen having a worse season than the Diamondbacks’.

Cleveland Indians relievers went into the weekend with a 6.98 ERA, 12 losses and 10 blown saves in 14 chances. (Arizona’s numbers: 5.40 ERA, seven losses, five blown saves in 11 opportunities.)

Consider the fate of Indians ace C.C. Sabathia. Despite a 2.38 ERA, he is just 1-1. The bullpen has blown four wins for Sabathia, including leads of 4-0 and 6-3.

"I’ll get my wins," Sabathia said. "I just want our team to win. If I stay 1-1 the rest of the year and we win the (American League) Central, I’ll be happy."

That doesn’t seem likely with this relief corps.

David Riske, who opened the season as the closer, is struggling in middle relief. Current closer Rafael Betancourt has a titanium plate and six screws in his right (pitching) elbow from surgery last year.

Long reliever Chad Durbin, who has allowed three walkoff homers, has been moved to the rotation. Scott Stewart — the only lefty in the bullpen until Cliff Bartosh was called up Friday — has allowed lefthanded hitters a .343 average. Former Colorado closer Jose Jimenez is barely throwing 90 mph.

In all, 11 games in which the Indians entered the seventh inning leading or tied have turned into losses.

So as you bemoan the work of Matt Mantei and Oscar Villarreal, remember, it could actually be worse.

OPTIMISM

The Seattle Mariners went into the weekend 12-23 and 11 1/2 games out in the AL West. Yet they see reason for hope.

The Mariners plan to make impact additions when teams out of contention start dumping players — even though only three teams have worse records (Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Montreal).

"It’s at least June 1 or later when you probably decide who you are going to be," general manager Bill Bavasi said. "We’re going to be a team looking to add once trades start happening.

"We’ll be one of the ones pursing talent. We’ll be willing to move prospects to get better. The problem right now is that everybody else is looking to get better right now, too."

Bavasi did admit he has to think about being a dumper rather than a dumpee if things don’t pick up.

"You’ve got to be prepared," he said. "I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t’ ready for that."

The Mariners fell 10 games out of first faster than any Seattle team since 1988 — the year before Ken Griffey Jr. was a rookie.

"Where we are, that number has no significance," said manager Bob Melvin, the former D-Backs bench coach. "No significance at all. The significance to me is that we’ve got to win games and play better.

"I don’t even look at the scoreboard any more. If we don’t win games, nothing else matters."

FRANTIC FRAME

In the May 8 game between Detroit and Texas, the fifth inning lasted one hour, eight minutes. The Tigers scored eight runs in the top of the inning and the Rangers responded with 10 runs in the bottom half, tying the game 14-14 (and eventually winning 16-15).

The damage:

• The 18 runs in the inning were a major league record for a fifth inning and one short of the single-inning record, set in 1977 by Cleveland (13) and Boston (six).

• Seven pitchers worked in the inning, and 28 batters came to the plate. Three pitchers — Detroit’s Mike Maroth and Danny Patterson and Texas’ Doug Brocail — failed to record an out.

• There were 13 hits, nine walks, a hit batter and two errors.

"That’s the craziest game I’ve ever seen or played in or been a part of ever," winning pitcher Francisco Cordero said.

OVERHEARD

• White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, on the atmosphere under first-year manager Ozzie Guillen: "When we’re in these games where it seems like it’s getting away and we’re down a few runs, there’s a little more fear now with Ozzie because he’s more in your face. . . . Maybe in the past, you wouldn’t go that extra (mile) because there was no fear involved."

• Oakland’s Mark Mulder, on the team’s 14-game stretch without a victory from Tim Hudson, Barry Zito or himself: "Every year, the three of us have funks here or there. Sometimes, they are all at once. We aren’t going to go the whole season (pitching well). It’s how you bounce back from those bumps."

• Boston’s Manny Ramirez: "I definitely want to finish (my career) in Boston. This is the place to be. If you’re going to win a World Series, this is the place to do it. Not New York, not Miami, that’s nothing. The big thing is winning here, and we’ve got the pieces to do it this year, and I think we’re going to do it."

• Atlanta’s Mike Hampton, who is 0-4 with a 7.41 ERA: "There’s not a whole lot of things going right for me."

UNDERSTOOD

• According to David Smith of Retrosheet, as reported by Sports Features Group, Diamondbacks teammates Steve Finley and Carlos Baerga have both played in 44 different major league stadiums, tops among active players. Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs tied Finley and Baerga on Friday when he made his Petco Park debut in San Diego and can pass them in July if he plays in Philadelphia’s new stadium.

• Of the 15 trades consummated by Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi, seven have involved Oakland — the team for which he was an assistant GM before going to the Blue Jays.

• According to STATS Inc., Johan Santana’s streak of 20 starts without a loss for Minnesota is tied for the third-longest streak in the past 25 years, trailing Roger Clemens (30 straight from 1998-99), Randy Johnson (24 from 1995-97) and Kirk Rueter (22 from 1993-94).

• Clemens, off to a 7-0 start this year, has a chance to become the third 41-year-old to win 20 games. Warren Spahn did it in 1963 and Cy Young in 1908.

WHO’S HOT

• New York Mets. Beat Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb and Roy Oswalt in consecutive games.

• Cristian Guzman. Twins shortstop hit .415 in first nine games after being moved to No. 2 spot in the order.

WHO’S NOT

• Pittsburgh. With Raul Mondesi on indefinite leave, no player on the roster has ever had a 20-homer season.

• Sidney Ponson. Baltimore’s supposed ace has a 10.29 ERA over his past four starts, allowing 38 hits in 21 innings.

  • Discuss

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