2010 Indians built on foundation of Wood

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By: Kevin Hunt

The Cleveland Indians only need to look at bullpen pitcher Kerry Wood to see a small-scale version of the team’s season. And that’s not exactly what a team in a winnable American League Central Division wants to hear following Wood’s first 2010 appearance.

There’s something amiss in Cleveland, or, more accurately, there are many things amiss on different nights. Do you know who Mitch Talbot is? Probably not.

But when the Tribe gets production out of the back end of the rotation from a guy like Talbot, the team’s fifth starter, all is still lost on a night when Indians hitters can’t put a ball in play. The bats come alive, however, when the pitching just isn’t there and a slugfest starts early at the ballpark.

It’s almost as if the Indians can put together little more than half-a-game in a given night, similar to Kerry Wood’s first call-to-action from the bullpen Saturday against the Detroit Tigers after he started the season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.

There was little question what Tribe manager Manny Acta wanted out of his pricey bullpen thrower – get in some live-action work while holding the score for that particular inning. Wood got two-thirds of that job done with little trouble. Then Austin Jackson stepped into the box for the Tigers and it looked as if the fire in Wood fizzled out. Wood’s 2-0 pitch was slapped just inside the foul line in right field, then was followed up with two walks before Miguel Cabrera shot a single into right field and plated two runs.

Before Tribe fans could return from the bathroom – because, let’s face it, few are watching these games from start to finish anymore – the man paid to be Cleveland’s best reliever had been relieved himself and the team was left in a hole that would be insurmountable for the offense hitting at the bottom in the league for team batting average.

In a move that only further describes the ineptitude of the Indians this year, it has been announced that Kerry Wood will be moved back to the closer’s role for this week, taking over for Chris Perez, whose audition to be the closer was shaky (2 blown saves, 9 hits and 7 walks in just over 10 innings of work).

It’s likely a move that the Indians are only making to get Kerry Wood back on the market and pitching in key parts of games before the trading deadline, hoping to salvage something out of a year when the Tribe is putting together a 100-piece puzzle that only has 80 pieces in the box.

For Indians fans this is preaching to the choir. The team has sold away basically all of its talented veterans for young players with the always exciting “potential” year after year, unless the first two months put them in a position to buy contracts at the trading deadline. But this year, it’s no secret that Wood’s ticket out of town to a contender will be granted only if he can give better than the two-thirds the rest of the team can put together.

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    I still can’t believe the Sox are 1-5 vs. Cle this year. how is that possible? And when did Kerry Wood age like that? He was born the same year I was. Now he looks like a 50 year old trucker with his facial hair

  2. Melissa W. says

    GREAT article, Kevin! I see how eerily similar the Brewers performance is to the Indians this season. Neither can put together pitching and hitting, they always only execute one or the other semi-successfully and never in the same game.

    Wood is a wonder. Like one of the 7 Wonders of the World…

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