Gotta Beat the Bad Teams

   There is an old baseball axiom that if you play .500 against the top teams in the league and beat-up on the cellar dwellers then you put yourself in position to make the playoffs.  This holds true not only in baseball but in all sports.  The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970’s won 4 Super Bowls largely because they always beat the bums.  Chuck Noll’s teams during the decade of the 70’s were an amazing 50-0 vs. teams with losing records.  The bottom line here is you have to beat the teams you are supposed to beat.

   The 2006 Cleveland Indians have played extremely well against the top contenders so far.  Tom Hamilton did some research and found that the Tribe is 9-4 against Chicago, Boston, Oakland and Minnesota (the Twins were thought to be a contender when the Indians opened at home against them).  Even if you include the Tigers, a team no one expected to be this good, the Indians are a combined 11-6.  So why are they wallowing around the .500 mark?

   The main culprit is the fact that they haven’t played well against the bad teams.  The Indians have lost 8 of 13 games against Kansas City, Baltimore, and Seattle.  Is it a matter of playing to the level of competition or simply the law of averages?  Probably a little of both but, the Indians are a better team than they have showed so far.  Inconsistent starting pitching plagued them the first month of the season but, CC Sabathia’s return should help remedy that problem.  The bullpen appears to be settling down and Rafael Betancourt will return from the D.L. next week further fortifying the ‘pen.

   Offensively the Indians have been better than just about any other team in the league.  Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner and Casey Blake are among the league leaders in multiple offensive categories and Grady Sizemore is batting above .300.  The key for the Tribe now is to put it all together and this would be a good time to do it.  The Indians will play the Royals 6 times in the next 10 days, plus they’ve got 3 games at home versus Detroit and the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates.

   The season is still early and there is plenty of time to catch the Tigers and White Sox.  CC Sabathia told me last night, "Hey, its only May." 

   Yeah that’s true but, as Yogi Berra once said, "It can get late early."

Royals

31 Comments

roger nelson?

jackie hernandez?

bill butler?

any of those right?

if they are then i’ll stop thinkin and give my name =)

but just in case…megan alecusan

zoilo versalles?

james grant?

Tom Hilgendorf

Megan,

Bill Butler is correct…the other two are a pitcher and an outfielder.

Matt Underwood

gary bell?

pat kelly, bill butler and al fitzmorris?

Al Fitzmorris & Pat Kelly are the other two, along with Bill Butler i believe…….. Chris Leonardi
Cortland, OH

hoyt wilhelm
pat kelly

bill butler

listening on the net

wilhelm, kelly, and butler

Jerry Reilly

Dunkirk, NY

Pat Kelly in 81 and Al Fitzmorris in 79

Bryan- Listening in Houston, TX. The web is great, although I kind of miss the old days (2-3 years ago) when mlb.com didn’t play commercials and I could hear what you had to say between innings. Back then that was sometimes the best part of the game.

Chris and (warandhairstyle) you are correct! JReilly you are partly correct. Wilhelm actually pitched for the Tribe earlier in his career (1957-58) not after the expansion draft of ’68. Thanks for the effort!

Matt Underwood

Bryan…thanks for the comments. Some day those in-between innings conversatins will make a great CD Box set!

MU

What is going on with us last night once again we lost 10-7 to the worst team in baseball. We had playoff expectations when the year started because we thought we had a good enough team and we do. So why arent we playing like it? Matt laid it all out there, we are 9-4 against the top teams we’ve played and look at our record against the 9-22 Royals-1-4. This has got to stop right here and right now if we want any shot at October baseball and trust me I want that. In my opinion, we are one of the best teams in the league but we’re not showing it. You could blame it on the fact that we let Millwood and Elarton go but in return we got Byrd, who besides last game has been doing really well and Johnson who can do really well when he has his stuff. Shelton is doing an exellent job with the hitting and its paying off, we got the best average in the league. But when you can score 6 or more runs a game like we have and lose, that is pathetic. When Willis does the job with the pitchers like I know he can i know we will be there in October and maybe win a World Series or two , the question is when?

Matt, this may be off topic, but I saw your story last night. I wanted to wish you well (and your aunt also), and tell you to keep up the great job you do for all of us listening. Take care of yourself! -Christin in Copley

Hey Matt. I enjoy writing trivia questions about all sports am trying to write a book. I always enjoy your trivia questions but I got one for you today you can use if you want…

5 players have played for the Royals and Indians exclusively name them

P.S. try not to hold against me that I am a Steelers fan..ha ha

I also forgot to add if you could thank Tom Hamilton for all the great work he did on Buckeye basketball this past year!

Have just watched us get swept by the worst team in baseball. I think it is time to worry.

Hey Matt. My name is Shawn Stratton here is what I believe the answer is Billy Harris, Mike Hedlund, Steve Mingori Chan Perry and Jason Rakers

Hey Matt. My name is Shawn Stratton here is what I believe the answer is Billy Harris, Mike Hedlund, Steve Mingori Chan Perry and Jason Rakers

Is that Matt interviewing Kevin Seitzer?

Who is matt interviewing

Hey Matt I think its Mike Sweeney.

Never Mind

Steelers ****!!!!

Steelers *******!!!

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