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Indians Review August 1-11

By: Matt Alaburda

The Good

The week after the trades of Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez brought Indians fans one of the best stretches of baseball all year.

The Indians have won 7 of their last 10 games to start off August on a roll, which included 3 series wins over AL Central opponents.

The Indians pitching staff is starting to show signs of life.

Fausto Carmona went 6 innings giving up only one run in a 2-1 win versus Minnesota on August 6th. This is good news for the Indians as Carmona has shown more command, giving up 3 walks, then earlier in the year.

Jeremy Sowers went 7 innings giving up only 2 runs in a 6-2 win over the White Sox on August 7th. For the first time in the past month batters were unable to figure out Sowers on their third trip to the plate.

Justin Masterson performed well in his first appearance as a Cleveland Indian allowing no runs and striking out 4 in 3 innings of relief against Detroit on Aug 1. He continued to show why the Indians wanted him in the Martinez deal in his first start against Chicago on August 8th going 4 innings giving up one run with 4 strikeouts.

The star of the past week has been LHP Aaron Laffey. Laffey, with a 6.2 IP O ER win over the Rangers on August 11, has now pitched 14.2 innings of scoreless ball. Laffey is starting to show signs that he may be the guy capable of being a front end rotation starter for the Indians in years to come.

If Sowers can continue well past the 5th inning, Carmona can keep his control and limit his walks, and Masterson and Laffey continue on their current paths, the Indians might have solved 4 pieces of the confusing 5 piece puzzle that will be the Indians starting rotation in 2010.

The Bad

It is Tomo Ohka’s world and we are all just hitting in it. Ohka relieved Justin Masterson on Aug 8 versus Chicago with a 5-1 lead. Ohka then put together the stellar outing of 0.1 IP, giving up 4 ER blowing the Indians 4 run lead in a game they went on to lose.

Ohka has shown signs of life with his 7 inning performance versus St Louis and his 4 scoreless innings versus Detroit on July 31st.

Those outings are the exception and not the rule for Ohka. Batters are hitting .289 against Ohka this year and he has an ERA of 6.11.

Reclamation projects are not the Indians strong suit, and Carl Willis is not Dave Duncan. It is time for the Indians to move on without Ohka, and give a young pitcher the chance to prove himself in long relief spots.