Saturday, May 16, 2009

Help wanted

Luis Vizcaino Friday night made his first appearance out of the Indians' bullpen. It looks like he'll fit right in. Vizcaino's appearance lasted just six pitches. The last of those pitches was turned into a walkoff home run by B.J. Upton, handing the Tribe another excruciating loss, this one 8-7, to Tampa Bay.

Can it get any worse, any uglier for the Indians' bullpen? Probably not. In this loss the Tribe was unable to protect a 7-0 lead. Jensen Lewis probably punched his ticket to Columbus with another dreary outing. And what does it say about how buried Masa Kobayashi is in the bullpen that the Indians used a reliever signed off the street just 24 hours earlier - Vizcaino - ahead of Kobayashi?

The Indians in the offseason added two relievers in hopes of bolstering what was the worst bullpen in the league last year. Those two relievers were Joe Smith and Kerry Wood. Smith is on the disabled list, and Wood hardly ever pitches, because the relievers in front of him have been so bad they can't get the game to him.

Look for more bullpen moves in the next couple days. Lewis could be optioned to Columbus to make room for a starter who will have to be called up to make a spot start Sunday. Or the Indians could send Tony Sipp down. Or they might even release Kobayashi, which means they would eat what's left of his $3 million salary, ending what was one of the club's more ill-advised (two years, $6.25 million) contracts given to a free agent reliever.


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