30 Teams in 30 Days – Cleveland Indians

Oh, the Indians, they’ve made the playoffs just once since 2001, and with their last World Series title being way back in 1948, fans are getting impatient. However, they didn’t look half bad through the first third of the season in 2011. Let’s recap.
Cleveland Indians
Record: 80-82
Finish: 2nd in AL Central
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Justin Masterson 12-10, 3.21 ERA, 158 SO
Top Hitter: Asdrubal Cabrera .272 AVG, 25 HR, 92 RBI
2012 Manager: Manny Acta
Important Off-Season Acquisitions: Felix Pie, Andy Laroche (no, not Adam), Robinson Tejada, Chris Ray, Jeremy Accardo, Fred Lewis, Kevin Slowey, Ryan Spilborghs, Dan Wheeler, Casey Kotchman, Cristian Guzman, Derek Lowe
Important Off-Season Losses: Chad Durbin WAS, Kosuke Fukudome CWS, Jim Thome PHI,

On June 1st, 2011, the Indians were 33-20 and held the best record in the majors. I was convinced the world was about to end. It didn’t, the Indians would soon come back down to Earth, going just 20-32 from then until July 31st . Despite the struggles, the Indians still found themselves just 2.5 games back of the division leading tigers, causing them to trade for star pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez. He had no affect, Jimenez, like he’d been doing with the Rockies, struggled, notching just a 4-4 record to go along with a 5.10 ERA in the 11 games he started with the Indians.  Throughout it all, the Indians proved that they had a lot of depth at the plate, as they only had 2 players play in more than 114 games, and were still able to prove that they were almost an average ball club, finishing just below .500. Unfortunately, they’re pitching was sub-par, finishing with the 23rd ranked ERA, but they were able to find a solid closer in Chris Perez, who finished the season 36/40 in save opportunities. The Indians added some very good pieces in the off-season to improve their bullpen, including Dan Wheeler. They also added Kevin Slowey to replace Fausto Carmona, because who knows whats going to happen to him. Grady Sizemore will miss all of Spring and the beginning of the 2012 Regular Season after back surgery, is this guy ever healthy? As of right now, I could see the Indians being a potential threat this season, don’t call me crazy yet. They have a lot of depth, but the one thing they’re missing is a star, they’re hoping Jimenez can fill that role, but in my eyes, he’s only pitched like a star in the first half of the 2010 season, apart from that he’s just been okay. However, if he can pitch well, along with the rest of the rotation, the tribe COULD, I REPEAT, COULD be a threat for that second wild card spot. I know it sounds crazy but look at their rotation:
1. Ubaldo Jimenez Best Season, 2010: 19-8, 2.88 ERA, 214 SO
2. Justin Masterson Best Season, 2011: 12-10, 3.21 ERA, 158 SO
3. Josh Tomlin: Best Season, 2011: 12-7, 4.25 ERA, 49 SO
4. Derek Lowe: Best Season, 2002: 21-8, 2.58 ERA, 127 SO (2010: 16-12, 4.00 ERA)
5. (possibly) Kevin Slowey: Best Season, 2010: 13-6, 4.45 ERA, 116 SO

To me, that’s a pretty solid rotation, along with an improved bullpen and a solid lineup, the Indians could threaten for a playoff spot. The team will need to be well coached and managed, as again they don’t really have a star-status player, but if they are, they have the pieces to do well. I’m not exactly sure what the lineup will look like, but with talent like: Cabrera, Santana, Hafner, Choo, Sizemore (after he recovers), Brantley, LaPorta, Duncan, Kipiris, Hannahan and Donald, along with newly acquired pieces: Kotchman, Lewis, Spilborghs, Laroche, Pie and Guzman, I don’t think the Indians will be slacking in the offensive department. They are a very young team, so inconsistency may be a factor, but they’re a team with a ton of talent, I see them competing for a playoff spot, but ultimately missing out. The AL Central could be a very tough division this year, as the Tigers  are looking very good, the White Sox have a good team on paper, the Royals are improving, the Twins had been the division powerhouse consistently before last season, and if the Indians can be competitive, this division would become one of the toughest in baseball.
Prediction
Record: 83-79
Finish: 2nd in AL Central
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Josh Tomlin 15-10, 3.31 ERA, 106 SO
Top Hitter: Shin-Soo Choo .306 AVG, 19 HR, 91 RBI
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-Vernon Smells

The League- Basketball- Week 5 Recap

If you haven’t read Week 4 yet, read it here: (http://criticsfromthecouch.com/?p=147). After another intense week, the playoff race is getting tighter. Ever player battling their hearts out for the “we still haven’t named it yet” trophy. Let’s take a look at last weeks standings, in case you’ve forgotten.

1. Kipling Ronald           30-6-0
2. Gonzo                         25-11-0
3. Vernon Smells           24-12-0
4. Soulless Sensation   17-19-0
——————————–
playoffs
5. McFultz                       17-19-0
6. other A                         16-20-0
7. other B                         14-22-0
8. other C                         13-23-0
9. zookeeper                  13-23-0
10. other D                       11-25-0    

Those were from last week, and YES, there were changes this week, first we’ll take a look at the scores from the week.

Vernon Smells               7
Gonzo                             2

McFultz                           4
Other A                            5

Kipling Ronald               6
Other C                            3

Soulless Sensation       5
zookeeper                      4

Other B                            3
Other D                            6

With Soulless Sensation, Mcfultz and Other A all neck and neck for that final playoff spot, all of those games were extra important. As you can see Other A was able to beat Mcfultz and Soulless Sensation able to stand tough against zookeeper to keep up his strong play.Another important game was between Me(Vernon Smells) and Gonzo. It was clear one of us was going to take over second place, and it was me with a great 7-2 victory, but don’t let the score fool you, it was much closer than it would seem. So, after these great matchups, let’s take a look at the new Standings.

1. Kipling Ronald           36-9-0
2. Vernon Smells           31-14-0
3. Gonzo                         27-18-0
4. Soulless Sensation   22-23-0
——————————–
playoffs
5. other A                          21-24-0
6. McFultz                       21-24-0
7. other D                         17-28-0 
8. zookeeper                  17-28-0
9. other B                         17-28-0
10. other C                       16-29-0

Some of the big changes include: me taking over second place, Other A passing McFultz and how everything below that switched around as well. Among the things that stay the same: Kipling Ronald still doesn’t have double digit losses, Soulless Sensation continues to barely hold on to that final playoff spot, and he’s getting a little bit closer to Gonzo of the Big 3. Let’s take a quick look at what matches will be happening this week.

McFultz
Gonzo

Soulless Sensation
Other C

zookeeper
Other D

Kipling Ronald
Vernon Smells

Other A
Other B

This week is huge, as Soulless Sensation tries to hold on to his playoff spot, while McFultz and Other A try to catch him for it. I have a chance to cut into Kipling Ronald for first place, and zookeeper wants to try and dig himself out of this big hole he’s dug himself into, to quote Troy Aikman on Madden 12. Here are the rosters, anything in Bold indicates the player was newly added.

Vernon Smells
 Kyrie Irving, PG
Jason Terry PG, SG
Mo Williams PG
Russell Westbrook, PG
Danilo Gallinari, SF
Richard Jefferson, SF
Paul George, SF, SG
Paul Pierce, SF, SG
Carlos Boozer, PF, C
Kevin Love, PF, C
Serge Ibaka, PF, C
Joakim Noah, PF, C
Mo Williams, PG

Kipling Ronald
Kyle Lowry, PG
Marcus Thornton, SG
Louis Williams, PG, SG
Gerald Wallace, SF, PF
Paul Millsap, PF
David Lee, PF, C
Samuel Dalembert, C
Pau Gasol, PF, C
Mario Chalmers, PG
Al Jefferson, PF, C
Luol Deng, SF
Ryan Anderson, PF, C
Elton Brand, PF, C

Gonzo
Deron Williams, PG
Iman Shumpert, PG, SG
Jrue Holiday, PG
Antawn Jamison, SF, PF
Deandre Jordan, PF, C
Joe Johnson, SG, SF
Chris Bosh, PF, C
Tim Duncan, PF, C
Tony Parker, PG
Brandon Jennings, PG
Anthony Morrow, SG, SF
Dwight Howard, C
Andre Miller, PG

Soulless Sensation
Monta Ellis, PG, SG
Ray Allen, SG
Devin Harris, PG
LeBron James, SF, PF
Josh Smith, SF, PF
Kevin Garnett, PF, C
Nene Hilario. PF, C
Tyson Chandler, C
Byron Mullens, C
Tony Allen, SG, SF
Andy Rautins, PG
Taylor Griffin, SF, PF
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, C

McFultz
Darren Collison, PG
Nicolas Batum, SG, SF
Jason Kidd, PG
Shawn Marion, SF, PF
David West, PF
C.J. Miles, SG, SF
Marc Gasol, C
Andray Blatche, PF, C
Ricky Rubio, PG
Stephen Curry, PG
Steve Nash, PG
Jason Richardson, SG, SF
Dirk Nowitzki, PF

zookeeper
John Wall, PG
DeMar Derozan, SG, SF
D.J. Augistin, PG
Danny Granger, SF, PF
Thaddeus Young, SF, PF
Carl Landry, SF, PF
Blake Griffin, PF, C
Andrea Bargnani, PF, C
Anderson Varejao, PF, C
Leonardo Barbosa, PG, SG
Ben Gordon, PG, SG
James Harden, SG, SF
Al Harrington, PF, C

 

-Vernon Smells