It took the Texas Rangers less than 24 hours to sweep the Indians and make much of the pitching "progress" that the Tribe had been clinging to start to look more than a bit shaky. Last night, we had to watch Aaron Laffey and Carlos Carrasco get shelled, as well as witness Jess Todd's continued unraveling and then, finally and most despicably, Chris Perez didn't even look inhuman. Today, the pain kept coming as Fausto Carmona lasted only 0.2 IP and surrendered 5 ER. In the last two days the Indians have watched key parts in their 2010 rotation turn in outings that match the shortest starts of their careers, with Carmona's 0.2 standing alone in his illustrious career and Laffey's 3.1 IP performance matching his explosion in Detroit this year.
There were no bright spots in today's game, as the Indians managed only six hits and only Luis V. managed extra bases, with his double in the 8th. To add insult to injury, Rafael Perez got demolished again, going only 0.1 IP and allowing 5 runs to cross the plate, 3 earned. Perez' ERA has now ballooned to 7.94 and I wonder if there's still a place for him in the Cleveland organization this winter.
No matter, though, the Indians losing is old hat. The real problem today was the lineup and that's coming from somebody who normally cares very little about the lineup. However, when Eric Wedge filled in Niuman Romero as the first basemen today he finally crossed the line. I am literally seething about this:
- He cannot possibly believe that Romero, a player who managed a .626 OPS in Columbus this year and who has hit righties even worse than he has hit lefties this year, gave the Indians a better chance to win today than did either Andy Marte, who has always pounded righties despite his handedness, or Jamey Carroll, who's having a near career year at the plate.
- He undermined the front office and developmental staff who just yesterday had Ross Atkins explaining Jordan Brown's non-callup by saying: "With Andy Marte, Matt LaPorta and four catchers on the roster, there just weren’t plate appearances for Jordan. That is the most important aspect of the decision." Hey, Ross! What do you know, Eric found four at-bats that were just lying around! There is literally no argument, zero, that the Indians should have Romero taking at-bats in Cleveland instead of Brown. There is plenty of argument, being made cogently elsewhere on the site, that at-bats should be taken by LaPorta, Marte, Toregas, Shoppach, Gimenez or Marson before they are taken by Brown. But there is no justification, none, for giving the at-bats that ought to be going to LaPorta, Marte, Toregas, Shoppach, Gimenez or Marson to Romero. Wedge has made Atkins look like a fool and, more importantly, he's made him look like a liar to Brown.
Wedge is a rogue agent on this one: this cannot possibly be the front office's plan and, frankly, I think it represents the most obvious act of insubordination out of Wedge that I've ever seen. As a manager, Eric has always wielded the lineup card as a weapon, using it to punish players and seemingly to send messages to the front office about what will and will not fly on his watch (specifically: Marte will not fly). This, though, this is unbelievable. If Shapiro is not excoriating Wedge right now, I'm disappointed.
Wedge ought to have already been fired for trotting Romero out there. Giving Marte major league at-bats is critical at this point as the Indians need to gather as much information as possible before the offseason. The decision on Marte is going to reverberate to a decision on Peralta and also to decisions on guys like Brown. Wedge stupidly wasting a game watching Romero isn't just stupid, it's hurting the team.
The only upside here is that the Rangers are only 1.5 back of Boston now.