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2002/06/16

last night’s game was frustrating. the indians continue to have trouble hitting with runners in scoring position, going 2-17 in game one against the rockies and 2-15 yesterday. the rockies’ half of the seventh was among the longest of the year as the tribe bullpen collapsed, turning a tie game into a deficit. charlie manuel – in a questionable move – removed c.c. sabathia for pinch runner chad allen when sabathia got his first major league hit in the top of the seventh and chad paronto promptly gave up four runs in the bottom of the seventh. the moves were questionable in that sabathia’s effectiveness had increased since allowing two runs in the first – his velocity was up by seven m.p.h., his curve was sharper and his location (especially inside) was excellent. he was able to get todd helton to chase inside, making helton look silly while overswinging. manuel then left chad paronto in two batters too long, as paronto not only allowed the tie-breaking runs, but then allowed a two-run homer to larry walker, making the deficit four runs. david riske was in doing some mop up duty and although he was shaky at first, he settled down and looked better than he has recently. riske’s velocity is still down since earlier this season, but his stuff has not been very good. there is little movement on his fastball, and his location has been bad. this could have been a result of overwork, but his ERA has ballooned to monstrous proportions and perhaps manuel needs to find situations like last night’s where he can get work but not immediately affect the outcome. jim thome has struck out 7 times in two games, including 3 times last night – once against todd jones with the bases loaded – the same todd jones he has historically owned, with 3 homers and 3 doubles in 13 at bats lifetime. matt lawton grounded into two crucial double plays, once immediately after manuel had taken off the bunt. all in all, last night’s game was one where i’d say many of the manager’s decisions backfired, and the indians’ near desperation for some timely hitting was magnified. the two bright spots were sabathia’s continued effectiveness and travis fryman’s resurgence. manuel – the tribe’s former hitting instructor – has reportedly been working to get travis to stand more upright in the box in order to shorten his swing, and it may be working. fryman jumped all over a first pitch strike for a three run homer in the sixth, and his swing looked as sweet as it has all year – compact and quick. let’s hope it’s an indication that travis is improving.

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