Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fasten your seatbelts

As the Indians begin the second half of another lost season, be prepared for another bumpy ride. There are a lot of potential other shoes that could drop in the second half, beginning with the approach of the July 31 trade deadline. Will Cliff Lee be traded? Victor Martinez? Both? Neither? How about Rafael Betancourt or Jamey Carroll or Carl Pavano?

Don't be surprised if the Indians play better in the second half than the first. The history of this group is that they play well when it means the least. And the stakes couldn't be much lower for the American League's worst team. It would seem to be an ideal time to callup outfielders Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley from Columbus, but with Manager Eric Wedge basically managing for his job in the second half, he may not be too keen on the notion of playing rookies when he needs to win as many games as possible.

The Indians will likely continue to keep the revolving door in the bullpen spinning, looking for someone, anyone, who can get some outs. Assuming they sign No.1 draft pick Alex White, the reliever from North Carolina, maybe they will even bring him to the big leagues for a trial, should he get off to a good start in his first few minor league appearances.

The rotation continues to be an open wound. Jake Westbrook is due back at some point in the second half, but what's the point of rushing him back? For this? Jeremy Sowers, the best five-inning starter in the minor league system, figures to be back sometime early in the second half. Maybe even Hector Rondon will get a look-see in the rotation.

Will Grady Sizemore's elbow blow out and necessitate season-ending surgery? What, by the way, is the point in having the face of the franchise playing everyday with a sore elbow during a lost season?

So many questions. So few victories.


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