Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Eric Mack,

Wow. Your power ranking commentary is just -- wow. Are you really lumping the Indians in the same category with the Tigers, bullpen-wise? REALLY?

The Tigers have Jones closing. That's it. Zumaya and Rodney are hurt. They went out and picked up a Tribe castoff by the name of Aaron Fultz to fill the LOOGY role.

The Indians have Borowski closing. Fine. This is the beginning and end of your analysis, apparently. He lives on the edge. His ERA was well over 5.00 last year, and he makes 9th innings exciting. Can My Beloved Tribe expect him to save as many games this year, or will the runs catch up to him? We'll see.

But beyond Borowski, the Indians have proven setup men in Raffys Perez and Betancourt. Betancourt arguably had one of the best seasons EVER for a reliever last year. Check out his ERA, his WHIP, the innings he threw. To protect Betancourt against overuse, the Indians brought in Kabayashi, a seasoned Japanese closer. Jensen Lewis was lights out after he came up last year. He's a potential closer.

Look: I'll be the first one to admit that bullpens are volatile, and from year to year they can go from great to garbage and back. Check out the Indians 'pens from 04 to 05 to 06 to 07. Talk about fluctuation.

But unless you're judging these bullpens on one game, all you can look at is last year. The Indians bullpen is SOLID. You might not draft Borowski as your fantasy closer, but this is arguably the best 'pen in the AL.

But why discuss facts when it's so much easier to serve up false and blithely constructed generalizations about an entire division? To say the Indians and Tigers both have great offenses and rotations, but lousy bullpens, is reductive and absurd.

The Tigers have the great offense, 1-9. The Indians are just trying to keep up. The Tigers have a great ace; the Indians have a terrific 1-2 punch, and Jake Westbrook has added a splitter and had a lights-out spring. He could be dominant.

Overall, the Indians have a deeper rotation, and the Tigers have a stronger, veteran lineup. Indians fans are relying on their team's dramatic advantage in relief pitching to carry them past the Tigers and deep into the playoffs.

You could have written this, but this is analysis, and it's beneath you. I understand that you have to spend time actually acquiring knowledge about the Yankees and Mets and Red Sox. But if you have a minute or two when the work day's over, why not familiarize yourself with some other teams?

If that's too much to ask, maybe you should contain your snappy prose to the teams you know something about.

Just a thought.