The DEFEND Cleveland Show

August 19th, 2011 DC Show Report

It’s both here and there tonight. With Detroit that is.

On one hand it’s of something extremely relevant, and on the other, it’s only practice. What’s most silly about the relative irrelevant affair, is that even with exhibition as its qualifier it still comes with a jingle…

So at least there’s that.

Really though, about the only thing to keep an eye on tonight is the match up of Ndamukong Suh vs. Joe Thomas (and the 1 to 3 other blockers the Browns send his way) to make sure that unruly beast doesn’t rip McCoy’s helmet off with his head still in it before Colt even gets a chance to play in a real game this season. I mean it’s one thing to decapitate a man when it counts, it’s a whole other thing when it’s just a scrimmage dressed up just enough so that owners can still charge full price for it.

One other thing I’d look out for though is how much the Lions direct their passing game right at veteran corner Sheldon Brown. Last week he looked somewhat singled out and picked upon by both Rogers and Flynn of Green Bay. This week, with the mostly pass first minded Lions and Matthew Stafford in town, even if the starters only go for a quarter or two, I would expect much more of the same. Especially considering safety TJ Ward is listed as questionable because of a hamstring issue which will mean the deep routes will be just that more exposed.

Actually one of my fears this season is that Sheldon Brown might become, even if unfairly, enemy #1 of Browns fan if his play resembles that of Erik Wright’s last year when Wright was early targeted, and often, as the secondary’s weakest link. Of course Wright was the story around here at the open of camp when the lockout lifted and he took less money than offered by the Browns to skip out and head to Detroit. A move I believe was more than encouraged by the fans abuse of him and his play last year. As for tonight, Wright, may or may not play as he’s listed as questionable due to a groin injury suffered the other day.

With or without relevance, it’s still more likely people will be watching the less important Browns vs. Lions rather than the very important Indians vs. Tigers match-up. Hey, it’s Cleveland, and though we love all our sports here, we in no way hide the fact that this town is first and foremost, a football town.

The city’s sinking, save the Browns! ..and then the women and children first.

That said, the real story, especially since it will continue to be told for two more days this weekend when the Browns aren’t playing, is the Indians visit to Detroit. After handling business in Chicago and now sitting only 1.5 games out of 1st with the heat of a pennant race flaring up and the balance of power possibly able to be shifted by weekend’s end, make no mistake about it, these next three games against the Tigers are as important as any played by the Indians all year.

And isn’t it fun that this same phrase of stated importance is now said just about every time the Tribe take the field? Best appreciate it, at this point if that stops being the case it will probably mean it really sucks.

An added good (actually great) thing about this series is that Justin Verlander (aka – the greatest pitcher on the planet) is not set to pitch after having thrown on Tuesday when he beat the Twins and pushed his major league leading win total up to 18 games. Luck of the draw for the Tribe this time around you could say.

Some bad news for the Indians though is word today that Jason Kipnis, who was penciled to start yesterday’s game only to be a last minute scratch when his hamstring came up lame during warm ups, was put on the disable list. He’s been put on the 15 day DL retroactive to August 14th. The official listing is for said hamstring, not the oblique strain he had been dealing with. Hopefully, all said, he will come back healthy and on schedule for an early September return. Hopefully.

Speaking of September, it’s also now official that the Tribe will make up its August 14th rainout date with the Twins as part of a day/night doubleheader on September 24th. That means they’ll be playing 16 games in 14 days to end the season. Okay, isn’t it bad enough that they’re just 3 days into having to play 45 games if 44 days, but now it’s that they’re ending it with 16 games in 14 days?! That’s like a leap year in September times two and they forgot to add the extra days, just the hours. To be honest, I can’t decide if I’m more upset with Mother Nature or Bud Selig for it.

Eh, that answer is always Bud Selig. Besides, Mother Nature can’t help it.

So anyway, that thing of hoping Kipnis is healthy, how about we upgrade that to hoping that everyone is healthy and on the roster at that time because it sounds like it will be imperative.

To fill the roster today, Luis Valbuena was again called up to replace the Kipper and will platoon with Jason Donald at second. And in another move just announced, Shelley Duncan was called up for more right handed pop off the bench and Carrera was optioned back to Columbus.

One last word on injuries. Grady Sizemore is making progress with all of his and might even be able to rejoin the team in a few weeks. What does this mean to an outfield now productive and full with Brantley, Choo and Fukudome (who was 5 of 9 the last two days and drove in the winning run last night)? Fukudome will become added depth to our bench. And before you go saying, “but I’m starting to like Kosuke?”, or, “but I’m starting not to like Grady since he’s always hurt”, realize that depth is one of the first telltale signs of a winning club.

Grady Sizemore, if healthy, is a better all around player than Kosuke Fukudome. No question (and you can stop your internal debate. He is. Period). If Sizemore is still not healthy, by having this depth, the Indians won’t take a chance with him. If he is healthy however, well you’ve got a pretty good outfielder and a bat that hits lefties and righties equally well and knows how to get on base sitting and ready to go at anytime in Fukudome. As I said, Duncan was just called back up, he has been our depth. You compare the two if you need to. I already have, I’ll take Kosuke.

That said, with the weekend what it is and tonight what it is, I’ll miss out on the fun of it all this evening because I’m working the Filter and Saliva show at the club and will have to play catch up in the wee hours on DVR. hooray. Here’s to a room full of fishnet, black eye liner and bad piercings for me tonight. And I’m just talking about the guys.

Have a great weekend, Cleveland, we’ll resume these daily’s next week with you~


-Mike James

PS – I’ve got another lead on the “Search for a Real Cleveland Sports Bar” offered yesterday by a fan who posted that ‘Mark’s Time-Out Grille‘ on Lakeshore has Tribe games on with sound. Thank you for the heads up, Elliott, maybe I’ll see you there tomorrow when I head out there to investigate…

Until that’s proven though, keep searching and giving me reports, folks. And:

Search for a Real Cleveland Sports Bar

Day 4, and suck it, egg.



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