It’s easy to become a Major League baseball pitcher. Regardless of what many may say that you need talent, the way to the majors is simple. Be a left handed pitcher. If you throw with your left hand and can show any modicum of consistency in getting the ball over the plate, you will have a job for years.
That is not the case in Cleveland though. The Indians need a lefty out of the bullpen, and haven’t been able to find one. Scott Barnes, David Huff, Rich Hill and Nick Hagadone are the southpaws Cleveland has used this year. All four have shown moments, but yet when anyone of the four come out of he bullpen Terry Francona isn’t sure what he will get.
In Friday night’s loss to Tampa Bay, Scott Barnes was a total disaster. In a game that was delayed almost 5 hours, Barnes relieved starter Cory Kluber in the third inning after the rain subsided and promptly gave up 5 runs on 4 hits, including a pair of homers by Matt Joyce and James Loney. For that performance, Barnes was sent to Columbus on Saturday.
Nick Hagadone hasn’t fared much better. The former Boston Red Sox reliever has shown he cannot command his pitches, and isn’t fooling anyone at the plate. Hagadone has been in 17 games, pitched 15 innings and given up 13 runs, 12 earned and two homers. Not something Francona can hang his hat on.
Sunday wasn’t any better. Hagadone came in to relieve started Zach McAllister in the fifth with one out. In an inning and two/thirds, Hagadone gave up a homer to light hitting Yunel Escobar to cap off his stint.
The manager prides himself on being patient with players, letting them work themselves out of slumps. This has been his success as a manager. Giving players confidence that they can fail without threat of losing their job. Hagadone has been given that opportunity. Yet success is fleeting to the lefty and doesn’t appear to be on the horizon anytime soon.
Mechanics seem to be the problem, if you listen to Hagadone.
“It’s more about staying on in the inside of my push-off leg and not letting the weight go backwards, so I can stay on balanced through my delivery,” he said. “That just helps me to repeat my delivery every pitch or most pitches, which affects command.”
The fact is, Hagadone needs to go back and re-access what he defines as balance. Because the balance he’s showing on the mound is in favor of the hitters.
Now is the time for the Tribe to go outside the organization and find a lefty they can rely on. Yet the question is, who can they get and what would they have to give up to get it. It’s not coming from the minors, and it’s doubtful anything the Tribe can trade to get a lefty would come from the minors. Unless it’s from the deep minors.
It’s easy to say the Indians need to go out and get a lefty. Now the question is how.
Dave Mitchell and Mark Donahue co-host the “Ohio Baseball Weekly” show every Monday night at 9pm. Dave will also host the new Thursday night show “Ultimate Sports Talk” every Thursday night at 7pm beginning June 20th.