While several Yankees were attending the Cavaliers-Magic game tonight, I painstakingly sorted through the Indians’ lineup to gather as much intel as I could in anticipation of our four-game series.
Obviously, we need to exact payback for the humiliating 22-4 drubbing in April. So let’s look at the lineup we could be facing (they change it around a lot) and try to find weaknesses. The Tribe just came off a sweep of the Rays, so they’re feeling hot hot hot. The Yankees need to cool them off.
* Asdrubal Cabrera.
Not to be confused with “a strudel,” the Venezuelan shortstop has seven stolen bases. He was suspended for three games in September ’08 for his role in a brawl with the Tigers. Tip to Yankees: if he charges the mound, duck.
* Grady Sizemore.
The center fielder has been DH-ing, due to a sore elbow. He has an unsightly 49 strikeouts and is only batting .223. Still, he always seems to kill us. Tip to Yankees: don’t be lulled into a sense of security.
* Victor Martinez.
Another Venezuelan, Victor Jesus Martinez has been a beast lately, with 36 RBIs and a .359 average. Like his countryman, he was suspended for that fight with the Tigers last year. Tip to Yankees: get him out but don’t get him mad.
* Shin-Soo Choo.
The former Mariner was a star in his native Korea. And last year, his .386 average with RISP was fourth best in the AL. Tip to Yankees: don’t let him come up with RISP.
* Jhonny Peralta.
Jhonny is a shortstop with a name that’s spelled funny. He’s a third baseman too. And he’s a man with a black smiley face on his chin. He’s also got 43 Ks. Tip to Yankees: pound the zone and take your chances.
* Ryan Garko.
This guy is no dummy. He went to Stanford, for God’s sake! Not only does he admit to reading, but he promotes literacy. Tip to Yankees: find a position for him and put him in pinstripes.
* Trevor Crowe.
Just called up from the minors, the rookie outfielder is batting .182. His father, David Crowe, played on the PGA Tour, and his cousin, Russell Crowe, is a famous movie star. (Just kidding about Russell.) Tip to Yankees: let him get a hit – only one – so he can tell his dad about it.
* Ben Francisco.
Not much to say here, except that he grew up in California and played high school baseball with Garko. He’s batting .259 with 31 strikeouts. Tip to Yankees: don’t sweat it.
* Luis Valbuena.
He’s the only Venezuelan on the team that wasn’t involved in that fight with the Tigers. Plus, he has zero homers. Tip to Yankees: plunk somebody else and pitch to him.
Speaking of the fight, here’s a look.
Typical baseball hissy with lots of standing around.
Here’s hoping there are no fights – and definitely no Lake Erie midges.