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Three Up, Three Down

June 8, 2009
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In this week's Three Up, Three Down, we take a look at uber-prospect Matt LaPorta, Beau Mills' recent hot hitting, as well as the struggles of Mr. Perfect and Matt Cassell's brother.

Three Up:
  • Matt LaPorta has not let his struggles at the major league level effect his mindset in AAA, as he has picked up right where he left off in the middle of the Clippers lineup. LaPorta is hitting .366 (11-30) in his last 8 games, with 2 HR and 7 RBI to boot. Sometimes players who yo-yo between the minors and the Show can fall into a funk when they get sent down; it is good to see LaPorta is not suffering from any such issue. If he keeps hitting (and he will keep hitting), LaPorta will be in Cleveland again this year, possibly as soon as Sizemore returns from the DL and Trevor Crowe's defense in CF is no longer a necessity for the Indians.

  • Ryan Edell is in the midst of a hot streak on the mound for Akron. In his last 3 starts, Edell has recorded 17 2/3 IP and given up just 5 earned runs while striking out 19 and walking 6. Edell has posted solid numbers since moving into the Akron rotation on May 17, and if the command-and-control lefty can keep this up, he will be in line for an audition in the Cleveland bullpen at some point this year simply because he is left handed and can throw strikes.

  • Beau Mills is starting to heat up for the Aeros, hitting an even .300 with 2 HR and 3 RBI in his past 10 games. The big lefty is still just 22 and used a strong 2nd half performance in 2008 to propel himself to the Carolina League MVP, so there is no need to fret about his slow start. Mills will hit in his sleep, its just a matter of getting him untracked.

  • A bonus "up" for this week...congratulations to Chuck Lofgren for recording his first W at AAA Columbus this past Friday. Lofgren threw 7 innings of shutout baseball against the Atlanta Braves AAA affiliate, striking out 3 and not walking a batter. It is great to see Chuck throwing the ball as well as he has this year, and hopefully he is back on track as a top prospect in the Indians system.

Three Down:

  • Jeanmar Gomez has struggled since his record-setting perfect game. In his last three starts since the perfecto, he has given up 15 ER and 27 hits in 16 IP. Quite a contrast to his prior 4 starts where, including the perfect game, he threw 29 innings and gave up just 1 run on 9 hits. I have not personally seen Gomez pitch these last three starts, so I could only speculate as to the issues he is having. But if he is healthy, I am confident that this is just a temporary bump in the road, and Gomez will get back to his successful ways sooner rather than later. He should pitch in Akron this Thursday against New Hampshire.

  • Ron Rivas is scuffling at the plate down in Kinston, hitting just .200/0/1 in his last 10 games. Rivas has been playing every day at SS for the K-Tribe, but just can't seem to string anything together at the dish. Rivas is just 20, but he did hit .291 for Lake County last year, so his season average of .247 is a little disappointing.

  • Kirk Sarloos/Jack Cassell combine for the final "down" of the week. Both of these journeyman starters have ERA's over 5.50, and WHIP's of over 1.60. They are eating innings in Columbus, but that's about it. If they haven't been called up to Cleveland at this point after the rash of injuries in both the starting rotation and the probably isn't happening. Good to see the younger guys like Lofgren get called up and have their shot at pitching at the AAA level. If and when Rondon, Gomez and others are ready, there is no reason for guys like Sarloos and Cassell to stand in their way.

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