Monday, October 8, 2007

By Eric Notti - Columnist

Under the assumption that the Indians advance I choose to become, at least for the upcoming series, an Indians fan. Sure the Angels only went .500 against Cleveland but that doesn’t make them our nemesis. In fact at this point it makes them our friend.

In fact Fausto Carmona and his touch of wildness may be the biggest ally of the Angels fans wanting a little payback issued to Manny’s backside. Fausto had a team leading ERA of 3.06 and maybe that is because he also had a team leading batters hit by a pitch at 11. Sabathia is close behind him with a 3.21 ERA and 8 guys decked for either crowding the plate or just looking at him the wrong way. Whatever the reason, these guys are not afraid to come inside and sometimes too far inside to get the point across, “This is my plate, back off.”

On the Angels John Lackey led the league in ERA at 3.01 and coincidently led the team with 12 batters that he sent to first base with a lump. Kelvim Escobar had a nice ERA at 3.40 but was not the intimidator John is, having only ricochet 3 balls off the batters backsides. Weaver only plunked 2, Saunders 1 and Moseley 3 making the Angels probably the least feared rotation in the majors with only 51 HBP, 5 of those coming from lame duck Bartolo Colon.

On the flip side the Red Sox sent 62 players to the dirt, including Vlad twice and Kendrick once. The White Sox followed with 62 smack downs, the Yankees dolled out 60 bruises, and the Tigers wailing 68 players with their ace Justin Verlander leading the charge with a whopping 19 kills. Our challenger this year in the West the Mariners had 62 knockouts with a three way tie between Washburn, Weaver and Batista with 8 each.

Getting back to the Indians, they are going to have to protect Sizemore and Garko, the two main targets for opposing pitchers. Between the two they have 37 bruises that were probably not a momentary loss of control. As outraged that we are as Angels fans about Vlad getting flattened, the whole Angels roster only has been hit 40 times and Vlad only 9 times. In comparison the Indians have taken 80 hits and are still standing in the playoffs.

On the Red Sox Youkilis got hit the most at 15 times and it’s no wonder with how far his goatee sticks over the plate. Here is what is the most surprising though; Ortiz has only been sent packing 4 times. Maybe he’s just a likeable guy or maybe at 6’4” 270 lbs you just don’t hit a bear with a baseball. Whatever the reason, he seems to be untouchable along with Ramirez that has only been hit 7 times. With all of the showing up of pitchers that these two do, it’s a good thing they don’t live in the Drysdale era because they would have been pushing up daisies a long time ago.

So in this upcoming series I’m going with Shin Tzu’s tactics of warfare in which “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Right now Grady Sizemore and the rest of the Tribe is my team.
Love to hear what you think!


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