I love Twitter. I can honestly say it has changed my life. Its my one-stop shop for news, sports, and comedy. The beauty of Twitter is also that you can interact with others who are reading about the same subjects as you are if you so shall please. I think back to late May/early June when my Twitter timeline was FLOODED with Tribe fans asking me how the team could not be bringing up first baseman Matt LaPorta. After all, he was “tearing up AAA pitching.”
Sure he was.
He was also 27 years old, on his FOURTH stint in AAA and had home/road splits that proved otherwise. The guy may have had nice numbers in the hitters paradise of Huntington Park in Columbus, but really, did you just forget about the fact that he looked so bad at the Major League level? I haven’t even mentioned his subpar glove, but I am getting there.
In all seriousness, I tried to warn all of you and never wavered from the FACTS: Matt LaPorta is not a Major Leaguer. He is the epitome of 4A. He is 2012 Andy Marte, a failed top prospect who can excel at the AAA level but when the lights get brighter, he just doesn’t have the ability.
You all told me how much you couldn’t stand watching Casey Kotchman because he couldn’t hit the way a real first baseman should. But as I have said over and over, if the rest of the lineup did their jobs and you have real production at third base and in left field, nobody would care about Kotchman’s bat because his defense is golden and worth it.
But no, so many of you wanted Matt Freakin’ LaPorta to get one more shot.
My question is, how have you enjoyed his play thus far? Save me the “he hasn’t gotten enough at-bats” routine. It wouldn’t change anything. He is 10-45 (.222) with a homer and three RBIs; essentially an extension of his previous stints in Cleveland.
And his glove?
Lets move ahead to the 12th inning with the score tied 4-4. With two outs, Minnesota’s Darren Mastroianni singled and stole second against Tribe lefty Scott Maine, the team record 10th pitcher of the evening. Next was Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla who sent a slow roller towards the hole between second and first. It was a relatively easy play for Jason Kipnis moving to his left. He came up with the ball and fired to first, but for some reason, LaPorta, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the 11th for Kotchman, was way off the bag. By the time he caught the throw he couldn’t step on the bag. To compound his mistake, he slowly turned around to fire home, but the speedy Mastroianni running hard all the way, slid home safely.
“That was a big mental mistake there,” said manager Manny Acta. “You don’t think that the ball is going through. You have to see the ball go through before you decide to become a cutoff man. That’s pretty much a routine ball to second base. If that ball goes through, we don’t need a cutoff man. It was softly hit, and then have one of the fastest guys in the league on second base with two out.”
It was a play that typifies LaPorta’s career in Cleveland – a step slow and a brain cramp. After the play, I sat disgusted and thought the following; I never want to see LaPorta in an Indians uniform again. He’s truly the poster boy for the Tribe post-2007: a ton of potential with little results.
Worst of all, LaPorta didn’t even man up and face the media after the game. He was nowhere to be found. If I am Acta, I wouldn’t give him another at-bat the rest of the season.
The fact of the matter is the Indians should have never been in that position in the first place. After all they did go 1-13 with runners in scoring position on the night and fail to score with the winning run on third with nobody out in the 10th inning and their 4-5-6 batters coming up.
The Tribe aversion to hitting with the bases loaded showed up again as well. In the bottom of the sixth, trailing 3-2, three consecutive singles by Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, and Russ Canzler had the Tribe in business. However, Twins brought in lefty Brian Duensing. He immediately K’d Lonnie Chisenhall, who had homered earlier but is now 0-18 against left-handed pitching this season. Kotchman sent a double play ball to third baseman Trevor Plouffe, but the ball ate him up and everyone was safe. Ezequiel Carrera followed with a double ball grounder of his own towards second, but managed to use his wheels to beat out the throw. The Tribe would take a 4-3 lead, but they only scored because of an error and Zeke’s speed.
The Twins naturally tied the game up a half inning later thanks to an RBI single from, you guessed it, Josh Willingham.
Our Wahoos are so predictable too. Trailing 6-4 in the bottom of the 12th, Carlos Santana hit his solo homer. Where was that fly ball in the in the 10th when we could have used it?
Ah, forget it. I feel like Harry Doyle. Who is really paying attention or listening anymore?
Oh but my Twitter followers came up strong last night. I looked at the 850 person Progressive Field crowd in the 12th inning and had a thought that I tweeted out:
Finish this sentence: If you are still at the Tribe game in the 12th you are _______
— TD (@WFNYTD) September 19, 2012
I got a ton of responses and I wanted to share the best of the best with you:
@cboyes1987: About to pitch
@Leebyzfbaby: On crack
@TheRealOE: in a deep state of depression
@TheYungTD: medically insane
This is what it has come to. I actually feel sorry for Acta. However, he has been given dog food at a steak restaurant.
(photo via Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)