Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sours Can't Get It Together Against Cincy

I'm trying to not get down on Sowers (honest), but he just can't seem to get it together this season. Against Cincinatti on Saturday, Sowers seemed to have a difficult time locating some of his pitches, missing the catcher's target. Cincinatti took advantage of anything that wasn't catching the extreme ends of the strikezone, resulting in a lot of long fly balls and a lot of scattered hits. Throw in the fact that Sowers rarely throws above 88 mph and it became pretty obvious, early on that this was a bad combination for Cleveland.

Sowers' performance would have been acceptable if it weren't for the two 3-run taters he gave up to Brandon Phillips and the catcher David Ross (not exactly the Bash Brothers). Hometown announcer Rick Manning put it best: "Three-run homers are not good." My thoughts exactly, thank you, Rick.

Despite his putrid ERA this year, Sowers is actually giving up homeruns at roughly the same pace he did last year. In 2006, Jeremy gave up 10 HR in 88.1 IP, with 5 HR in 41.2 IP for 2007. The problem, as indicated above, is that he is putting a lot more people on base. Opponents are slugging .471 (79 points higher than 2006) against Sowers, while his walks per game have increased from 2.1 last year to 3.0 this year. Do you really need stats to know Sowers is pitching poorly? No, but I was curious just how big of a gap there actually was between 2006 and 2007. Yeah, a pretty big one.

When I last wrote about Mr. Sowers, I was under the impression that he would put up a couple quality starts as he emerged from his funk, but I saw no sign of improvement against Cincinatti and he has now given up at least six earned runs in a game for three consecutive games. I'm convinced the Front Office has already made up its mind on Sowers and Carmona, there's just no way that you can send Carmona down. You just can't; the idea is absurd at this point. Sowers can't have much confidence left after getting thrashed for most of the season, while Carmona is earning praise from his opposition:

"He's not even human," Torii Hunter said following a shutout loss. "It was so scary, I thought I was hung over."

Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer on Carmona: "There's no question -- we won't face anyone with better stuff. His stuff [on Thursday], in all my years in baseball, I haven't seen anything better."

I don't see how a young pitcher's confidence can be much lower at this point, so sending him to the minors might come as more of a relief than anything. It's a delicate situation, but Shapiro has a lot of experience dealing with young players at this point (learning from the good and the bad), so I trust the team to handle the situation properly. Jeremy will definitely have an opportunity to pitch for Cleveland again, but time is running out for this year.

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