And so it goes, now only three more days until the regular season kicks
off. There are a lot of surprises, reliefs, groans, worries, but most
importantly, questions. I intend to do a thorough analysis of what’s
been bugging the fans’ minds, so let me know if I answer most of the
riddles this offseason has posed.
1. Cliff Lee had a terrible spring. Should we be concerned? NO.
No, no, no, nay, no. For those of you who don’t already know, Lee had
been wanting to work on specific things this spring. This was evident
by the fact that he pitched about 85% or higher of his pitches as
fastballs in his outings. Hitters were eventually picking up on that,
and the lack of a scouting report for Lee could have contributed to
this. Long story short, I’m confident he will be fine.
Pavano-Lewis. Lewis is starting the season in the Bigs for the first
time, while Pavano is doing the same for the first time in four years.
As much as I say pitching doesn’t matter in Spring Training, for these
guys, it did. Pavano needed to show himself he still had the stuff he
used to, while Lewis was trying to vie for the final spot in the
rotation. Both guys showed pretty good stuff, my favorite being Pavano.
He got stronger and more confident as he went along, while Lewis seemed
to recess after he won the spot.
3. Travis Hafner. Can the guy
we know as Pronk really be Pronk? In my opinion, I can’t see him
hitting over 30 homers. Until he starts proving he can hit the ball,
not just the long ball, I can’t see him being an effective middle of
the order guy. However, he has shown signs of improvement according to
Eric Wedge, but his BA and HR’s in Spring Training weren’t that
4. The corner outfielders. Shin-Soo Choo and Ben
Francisco will start the season as the right and left fielders, and i
expect them to stay there. Dellucci needs to go, especially with Trevor
Crowe’s surprisingly good spring. Our outfield is, plain and simple,
loaded. Grady, Choo, Francisco, Crowe, and prospect Matt LaPorta are as
good as it gets.
5. The bullpen. Unlike last year, our bullpen
is strong. The tribe acquired real closer in Kerry Wood and a great
relief arm in Joe Smith. With Rafael Perez and Rafael Betancourt, and
of course Jensen Lewis, I wouldn’t worry about us holding onto leads
late in the game.