The West is slipping away
For one day the Indianapolis Indians were a .500 baseball team. After Saturday night’s win at Columbus the Tribe was an even 60-60 with 23 games remaining on the schedule. A loss on Sunday cooled the celebration and last nights loss at Louisville has put the Indians squarely behind the 8-ball. The Indians have 21 games remaining and are 11 games behind Louisville and 7.5 games behind Durham in the wild card race. I think the teams goal should be to finish with a winning record and a second place finish. No shame in that when you consider 22 players have at one time season worn and Indians uniform AND a Major League uniform.
The Indians loss last night was their 6th in 7 games at Louisville Slugger Field. It was their fourth straight one run loss at LSF with all 7 games decided by three runs or less. The news from last night could have been worse. CF Jose Tabata left in the middle of the game after stealing 2nd base. He has a history of hamstring problems and after sliding into 2nd immediately grabbed the back of his right leg. At the time you feared the worst, but in the end it was nothing more than a cramp and he was removed for precautionary reasons. The 21 year-old Tabata is not in the line-up today, but is available off the bench.
The Washington Nationals inked their #1 overall pick Steven Strasburg to a four year $15.67 million deal. The common phrase around the clubhouse was “good for him.” The players understand the business side of the game and want to see each draft pick get as much money as they can. The Indians players are quick to point out that Strasburgh has a ton to prove and better be the real deal for that kind of money. Strasburgh becomes the 7th highest paid member of the Washington Nationals and would be the 2nd or 3rd highest paid player on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last year the Pirates signed 3B Pedro Alveraz to a 4 year $6.35 million deal. He is currently the 6th highest paid player on the Pirates roster.
Pittsburgh’s 2004 first round pick Neil Walker was ready to sign the day he was drafted. The Pirates and Walker we close to finalizing a deal before the draft, but Walker was hearing the Orioles may take him so he and the Pirates had to wait it out. Once Pittsburgh made Walker their pick he agreed to the terms and went right to work. Five years later Walker is still looking to make his Major League debut. He is hitting .364 this month with 2 home runs and 16 runs batted in and may be in line for a September call-up. For now he’ll play Guitar Hero and wait for the call. Walker is on the left while Ty Taubenheim nails 98% of the notes.
Finally, who was that wearing the Reds uniform last night in the Louisville dugout? It was none other than #44 Eric Davis. Davis is an instructor in the Reds system and was working with their outfielders. You would never have guessed looking at him that he was 47 years old. He is lean and looks like he could still buggy whip that bat for a home run. Jeff Branson said “E D” was the best teammate. He was as nice as can be and more than a few of the Indians players were wide eyed as Davis approached the batting cage. Davis wore an Indianapolis Indians uniform for only 19 games back in 1983. The 21 year-old batted .299 with 7 home runs, 19 runs batted in, and 9 stolen bases. His debut with Cincinnati was a year later.